Chris Kaman returned to Lakers practice yesterday after missing nine days with a stomach virus. Kaman, like Nash, will play in tomorrow’s season opener against the Los Angeles Clippers, but is still unsure on whether he’ll start.
Shawne Williams has been starting in his place while he dealt with his illness, which begged the question of how often the Lakers would go with small-ball lineups. Head coach Mike D’Antoni has played with smaller lineups throughout his coaching career, and used them in the Lakers last two preseason games against the Jazz with success. According to the LA Daily News, Kaman, hasn’t been the biggest fan of smaller lineups.
“It was never my style of basketball,” Kaman said. “I remember playing against Phoenix back in the day with those smaller lineups. It was hard to guard those teams. We’ll see. It depends defensively who we’ll go against. Against DeAndre [Jordan] and Blake [Griffin], it’ll be hard to go small, but we’ll see.”
For the home opener against the Clippers, playing smaller lineups can get them destroyed on the boards as both Griffin and Jordan have become apt rebounders. That part of the game had been an issue throughout the whole preseason and will continue to be a problem for the Lakers as they’ve lost one of the game’s best rebounders in Dwight Howard.
The advantage of going small-ball would be that it can speed up the game for a team that is going to have to score in bunches and it has allowed the Lakers to extend their defense and create turnovers, which was a huge key in the Lakers two wins to close out the preseason.
Whether Kaman sees himself in small lineups tomorrow remains to be seen, but it’s something that we’ll have to keep an eye on.
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