The Los Angeles Times reports that a deficiency in Vitamin D might be one of the reasons Chris Kaman has been struggling lately:
Kaman missed practice Nov. 12, but it wasn’t until two weeks ago during a doctor’s visit when he discovered why he felt listless: doctors diagnosed he was deficient in Vitamin D, which increases the flow of calcium into the bloodstream and helps prevent bones from becoming brittle … Since then, Kaman has invested in alternative energy sources. He drinks Vitamin D milk and has been prescribed antibiotics, including herbal supplements.
I’m a Better Living Through Chemistry sort of guy, so kudos for the diagnosis and the treatment.
Let’s explore some other factors for the falloff in production:
- Inevitability. During his torrid stretch, Kaman was shooting 50 percent from the field as a jump shooter. Not one player in the league accomplished that feat last season (Jason Terry led the NBA in 2-point jump shooting percentage at 49.2 percent). As fluid as Kaman’s shot was to begin the season, that wasn’t going to hold. Kaman’s eFG% as a jump shooter has settled at 43 percent, which seems about right.
- To expand on the point above, Kaman has become too reliant on his jumper. Although his jump-shooting is a lot more efficient than it was two seasons ago, he’s still a higher percentage shooter on the block. Yes, easier said than done when teams are swarming him inside of 12 feet, but Chris has been passing up opportunities to work down low. With his skills and footwork, that’s not a part of a game he should get away from. His FGA/FTA ratio has dropped, as well — another factor of moving off the block. In addition, by playing so far from the hoop, he’s logging far and away the lowest offensive rebounding rate of his career. By not being in a position to collect garbage, he’s costing himself some easy FGs. Dunks and tips accounted for 10 percent of Chris’ attempts in 2007-08? This season dunks and tips account for only half of that.
- Eric Gordon’s groin injury coincided with the start of Kaman’s slump. Though Eric is back in action, he’s still easing back into the flow of the offense and hasn’t been the focal point in the half-court since his return. Gordon’s presence along the arc opened up the foul-line extended area for Chris on step-outs, which is how he was generating so much of his offense earlier in the season. As Eric is re-integrated into the offense, expect some improvement from Chris.
- Building on Eric’s presence, teams have started to double-team Chris early and often. As Mike Dunleavy said in the Times report, “There are a lot more teams paying attention to him.” Chris is simply not receiving the time and space he got earlier in the season to shoot. As it does most big men away from the basket, pressure flusters Chris. He’ll have to adjust or, better yet, use some possessions to find open shooters and cutters.