With Chris Kaman playing his best basketball of the season, Mike D’Antoni has decided to ride the hot hand, even with Pau Gasol set to return.
ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reports that Mike D’Antoni has decided to start Kaman and Gasol together in tonight’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers:
Mike D'Antoni says he is going to give the Pau-Kaman starting lineup "a try" against POR tonight
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) April 1, 2014
This should definitely come as great news to both Kaman and Gasol. Kaman was the subject of great praise after his performance on Sunday against the Suns, and D’Antoni seemed more open to the idea of playing them together.
Gasol will also be excited to hear the news as he has openly asked to play more with Kaman during these last games of the season.
D’Antoni has been extremely hesitant to play the two together as they have similar skill sets, especially on the offensive end where they both possess excellent post moves, and are good passers.
Instead, D’Antoni has tended to pair Gasol with defensive-minded bigs like Robert Sacre or Jordan Hill, or with a ‘stretch 4’ such as Ryan Kelly or Wesley Johnson, while Kaman was relegated to the bench.
With Kaman seemingly in the rotation for the time being, someone’s minutes are bound to drop. Sacre, Hill, and Kelly are all possibilities to see a reduction in their time on the court as D’Antoni experiences with a big lineup.
Kaman has earned his spot in the rotation due to his excellent play while Gasol was injured, now it is on him to make the best of this opportunity as the season winds down.
Lakers Vs. Suns: D’Antoni Praises Chris Kaman, But Still Unsure Of Role