Baron Davis, Zach Randolph and — to a lesser extent — Marcus Camby clearly aren’t 100% yet, but you can’t look at a squad whose primary post defender is Zach Randolph and see anything other than a team that will rank in the bottom 35 percentile in defensive efficiency. The only potential silver lining here? The eventual return of Chris Kaman.
Chris’ lingering arch issue has produced several rounds of grumbling among the Naçion, and that’s understandable. Between his mysterious timetable and a flakiness that seems almost affected at times [let’s hope], Kaman’s persona has become increasingly unlikable.
None of those shortcomings changes the fact that, when healthy, Kaman is far and away the best post defender on the team and made remarkable progress last year and early this season prior to the injury. He bodies up very well. He’s learned to use the footwork that enables him so well on the offensive end, to defend quicker players on the defensive end. When he’s been on the floor, Chris has been far less susceptible to rudimentary fakes, up-and-unders, and the like. Working with Kim Hughes, he’s also become quite proficient — better even — at defending the screen-and-roll.
This isn’t to say that I wouldn’t swap Kaman for the likes of Luol Deng or a pre-incapacitated Gerald Wallace — a complete wing that can pass, defend, see the floor…basically do things that Al Thornton can’t. Exchanging that post defense for a more efficient wing might be worth it, now that Randolph can carry the offensive load on the block. But as you imagine the future of this team, it’s important to be aware that giving up on Chris Kaman has its costs, however disappointing he’s been as a non-factor much of the past 12 months.