After all the talk a season ago about how Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard couldn’t coexist on the basketball court, the lack of chemistry between the team big men has been a concern moving forward. Once Howard left for Houston and the Lakers suddenly didn’t have their starting center, they began to look for options that they felt would do a better job of working with Gasol on the court rather than in spite of him.
The big man acquired by the Lakers this offseason was Chris Kaman, who got the $3.1 million mini-midlevel exception. Kaman has a career average of 11.8 points per game, and is nearly a 50 percent shooter. At NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, Drew Garrison of Silver Screen & Roll asked Mike D’Antoni about the Kaman/Gasol relationship, and how he foresees it working out.
“He definitely can play high-low with Pau [Gasol],” D’Antoni said. “He can stretch the floor. Both of them can play. They should be pretty good complements to each other,” D’Antoni said.
This reasoning may seem simple, but after the difficulties with Howard and Gasol a season ago it becomes that much more crucial. Howard had a very limited offensive game, and while Kaman is nowhere near the type of player Dwight Howard is, his midrange game does present the Lakers with a few options they previously didn’t have.
The final thing the Lakers need to figure out, and probably won’t until training camp or even the preseason, is where the two big men are going to play. There have been rumblings that Gasol will slide over and play his natural position at center with Kaman as the backup, or put them both on the court at the same time, occupying both the four and five positions. The odds are we’ll see a little of both throughout the season, but finding that comfort level that works for both players and is still successful for the team is the ideal situation for all involved.
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