I understand that Chris Kaman is not your typical NBA player. As such, he's rarely going to give you the Nuke LaLoosh, "We gotta play it one day at a time" act. And usually that's a good thing. But the guy's been pretty damn negative lately:
Jan. 21 - "We did the usual Clipper thing and fell apart again."
Mar. 1 - "Basketball can go one way or the other, and it's not going the way we want right now. I don't think it's going to for the rest of this year to be honest. Regardless of injuries or not injuries, we should still play the right way and we don't and it's frustrating."
And lots of other similar quotes in between. Now, I realize that Sacramento isn't the top team in the division. I realize that they just traded Mike Bibby for some magic salary cap beans, and that Kevin Martin and Ron Artest weren't playing. So it would be plain silly to get too excited about last night's win. This is where you gotta get out your Crash Davis primer: We're taking it one game at a time. Any win is a good win. Because you know what? For a team 20 games under .500 and riding a 6 game losing streak, any win IS a good win.
Instead, here's what we got from
Nuke Chris after last night's win:
Seriously, what the hell is that? And how do you think Al Thornton (27 points, 22 from the fourth quarter on) and Dan Dickau (season-high 20 including crucial buckets down the stretch) feel when a team leader (albeit a quirky team leader) says that? I don't think of myself as a Pollyanna, but I think you can honestly say that when Corey Maggette and Cat Mobley combine to shoot 7 for 27, Chris Kaman is limited by a back injury and every other regular from last season is gone or hurt, that was a pretty good win. What right way does he want things done? Does he want Cat to shoot better than 1 for 6? Guess what? I bet Cat wants that too.
"When was the last time we beat a team of any importance?" OK, that would be Utah on Feb. 22, which also happens to be the last time you beat any team, important or not. So, you know, that was an easy question to answer. They just ended a 6 game losing streak, but to Kaman they've apparently extended to a 7 game 'losing and/or unimportant opponent opponent' streak.
Another interesting thing about all this negativity - it coincides pretty nicely with a prolonged period of injuries and sub-par play from one Chris Kaman. Did the team let you down in those two Philadelphia blow outs, Chris? Maybe they just couldn't overcome the way you were outplayed on both ends by Samuel friggin' Dalembert. Not sold on the team? How about you start with you?
When I started this post, the Bull Durham analogy just seemed like a good hook. But the more I think about it, maybe there's something more there. Is Chris Kaman Nuke LaLoosh? Is Sam Cassell Crash Davis? I guess that would make the Boston Celtics Annie. Nuke was finally starting to get it, but now that Crash is gone, all the quirks and inconsistency are right back on display.
Kim Hughes or Elton Brand or someone needs to take this guy aside and mentor him up. "You're gonna have to learn your clichés. You're gonna have to study them, you're gonna have to know them. They're your friends."