Jason Reid got this latest round started back on Jan. 30, with a Clippers Report in the LA Times titled Kaman, Livingston fall short of expectations. The timing was a little strange in that Chris had just had a 15 rebound game and had played significantly better during January.
In Sunday morning's LA Times, Reid's Clippers Report was titled Kaman's Frustrations Continue to Mount. Bear in mind, this was BEFORE he went 1 for 11 against the Raptors.
Then came the Raptors game, and Doug Smith's coverage in the LAT:
Art Thompson III's piece in this morning's OCR is titled Kaman Hits Tough Stretch. To his credit, he never once uses the F-word.
Kaman leads the team in fouls per game at 3.4. Sunday's career-worst 1-of-11 field-goal shooting epitomized his struggles this season.
When Kaman is struggling, his penchant for putting the ball on the floor can be maddening because it often results in a turnover.
MDSr has wisely gone on the offensive, praising his young center before all of the confidence is sucked from his freakish, pale body. He went out of his way to tell everyone that he thought Kaman played well on Sunday. According to the coach, he made good moves, he got good shots, they just didn't go down.
"It's almost like the ball knows you're not confident and it just comes out. I told him that they were great shots and great execution, which was what I was really happy about."
Well, I'm not going to comment on whether or not an inanimate object knows how confident you are, but if you've played basketball, you know that some days the ball just won't go in the basket.
When I look at Kaman's numbers, I'm actually amazed that they're not FURTHER off last year's pace than they are. 45% shooting this year? Really? With all the easy looks he's missed, I would have thought it would be much lower. And you have to remember that his minutes are down (from 32.8 to 28.7). His 48 minutes averages of 16 points and 13 rebounds are not far behind his career best 17.4 and 14 from last season.
Kaman is of course suffering more than anything else from expectations. Although he's still only making $3.5M this year, he's already inked the $52M extension. It's entirely possible that another team would have paid him more, and in a market determined by contracts for Samuel Dalembert and Tyson Chandler, he was arguably a bit underpaid. But fans look at an 8 figure contract and want commensurate productivity, and the simple fact is that Kaman may never be that player. MDSr should understand this better than most: fans in Oakland turned on his son because the expectations and the money were not aligned with the talent.
As it happens, it's not the 45% shooting that concerns me most about Kaman this season as compared to last: it's the rebounding. Chris Kaman had 10 games with 15 or more rebounds, and 2 games of 20+, in 78 games last year. He also had 16 rebounds in a playoff game. In 42 games this season, he has recorded 15 rebounds once. Ironically, that was in the Seattle game last Sunday, so while everyone is talking about his recent 'frustrations', from my perspective he had arguably his strongest game of the year a mere 9 days ago.
Kaman's best chance to be a difference-maker is on the defensive glass. He is big, he is very athletic for his size, and when he rebounds aggressively, he is a monster. Last season he was 9th in the NBA in rebounding. Why is everyone so obsessed with his shooting percentages? He should be on the floor for rebounding and shot blocking. Let him focus on those aspects of the game, and the offense will come.
And just in case things don't get better, we can all look up frustrate in the thesaurus because I am growing disheartened, discouraged and depressed with its overuse.