Sitting at his locker after Sunday’s win against the Atlanta Hawks, Chris Kaman talked freely with a small group of reporters. The man who was brought in immediately after Dwight Howard decided to join the Houston Rockets now sat at what used to be Howard’s locker.
“It’s not easy, but I want to be patient with coach because he’s a good guy and he’s been straight with me,” Kaman said about the constant fluctuations in playing time.
The Lakers had narrowly held on for a victory after blowing a 21-point lead, and Kaman had a strong performance in a reserve role. However, the 31-year-old center was not entirely satisfied with the victory or his role on the team.
“I’m willing to be patient and trust coach to figure it out,” Kaman said about his role within the team.
Seemingly every game this short season featured a different lineup to start and finish games. The Lakers play their sixth game of the season on Thursday night in Houston, and that game will feature the Lakers’ fourth different starting lineup.
“I just want to do my job and not complain,” Kaman made sure to get across as he opened up his thoughts with reporters.
He did not sound angry, and he was not asking for immediate change. However, Kaman had some ideas about what he wanted.
“I would like to play with Pau (Gasol) a little bit more,” Kaman said. “I thought we played well in the preseason.”
Kaman fell sick shortly after the Lakers’ preseason trip to China, and that illness was rather ill-timed. For the first five games of the season, Kaman was forced to play as a reserve, and the Lakers struggled to find time for both Kaman and Jordan Hill.
On Thursday, the change finally occurred. Partially forced due to the opposition, Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni decided to start Kaman and Gasol against the Rockets’ twin towers of Howard and Omer Asik.
If the Lakers falter and get blown out on Thursday, D’Antoni will likely switch back to Shawne Williams in Friday’s game against New Orleans. However, if the Kaman and Gasol combination leads LA to its first road victory of the season, expect to see a more settled lineup going forward.
Kaman has already taken Howard’s locker; now, it’s time for Kaman to take Howard’s spot in the Lakers’ starting lineup.