Sometimes in this blogging business, you're wrong. Like, just a little bit. You do some research, make an informed opinion and it doesn't work out. It happens, you move on.
Then sometimes you're so wrong, you question the very fabric of your soul (do I have one? Am I human?), wallowing in the mistake you've made over countless restless nights. Night terrors become a regular occurrence as the mistake haunts you to the bone, with the only way...
Wait, I'm getting carried away. Basically, I was super wrong about Chris Kaman. Here's his Player Review.
A quick recap:
Chris Kaman has actually carved out a pretty nice career for someone who came from the basketball hotbed known as Central Michigan. Drafted 6th overall in 2003 by the Clippers, Kaman has been a regular double-double threat since.
He's always been a capable scorer, averaging double figures in points for his career and has a variety of post moves. Unfortunately, he relies on his mid-range jumper too much to ever been a consistent threat down low. Kaman was never a great defender and always struggled in space, but was somewhat reliable in individual defense with his long arms and smart contests.
He was finally traded in the Chris Paul deal and had a largely forgettable campaign with the Hornets. A free agent, he signed on to the Dallas One-Year Contracts in hopes of playing well and securing a longer deal down the road.
So, was I right in thinking Kaman could be a positive influence for the Mavs, considering the price tag? Short answer, no. Long answer?
It should have been an omen that Kaman started the season injured. Once he returned, it felt like Kaman just wanted to show off all his negative attributes. You know how some guys are auditioning for a contract? It seemed like Kaman was auditioning for retirement.
He hoisted more long 2-point jumpers than shots in the paint (per NBA.com/Stats), he never passed the ball (6.6 assist percentage, third-lowest of his career, worst since 2006-2007) and continued to turn it over and every lineup that featured Kaman performed at Sacramento-like levels on defense.
The Dirk Nowitzki-Kaman-Collison starting lineup was one of the worst defensive lineups in the league. Whenever Kaman shared the floor with Dirk, the Mavericks offensive and defensive numbers were similar to the Bobcats. (A net rating of -4.7 points per 100 possessions).
Nothing worked. Kaman couldn't fit in with a team of one-year-contract players (SURPRISE) and he couldn't mesh with Dirk. The first rule of Dirk-era Mavs: mesh with Dirk. If that doesn't happen, it's hard to find a role.
That's why Brandan Wright saw more minutes toward the end of the year, while Kaman was hurt and largely ineffective.
To Kaman's credit, he was a good soldier. He never caused a stir with his rotation-yanking and he generally made an effort to fit it. He won the Mavs a few games without Dirk when his scoring was desperately needed and he always defended the other team's best post-up threat.
But seriously, that sucked. And I admit defeat.
What to expect going forward:
There is almost zero chance that Kaman returns. Rick Carlisle rarely played him down the stretch and had no faith in him for substantial minutes. Kaman is bye-bye.
For Kaman, he could carve out a nice role as a super-sized sixth-man -- coming into the game off the bench to terroize the normally weak reserve bigs that plague the NBA landscape nowadays. (Just look at the our two Finals teams: Miami and San Antonio have relatively horrible back up big men, aside from Chris Anderson.) Kaman could dominate the game for 15-20 minutes a night, feasting against vastly inferior competition and giving teams a boost.
Like Mike James for the Dallas point guards, Kaman represents the Mavericks failure in establishing a long-term solution at the center position. He also represented the Mavs stop-gap, one-year-deal team in its worst form: someone who didn't fit in and never got comfortable and put together, rarely looked or played like a team.