NBA Saturday: Why Kaman Can’t Rebound
Chris Kaman Thrives on Offensive, Struggles On the Boards
It’s been six weeks since Dirk Nowitzki had arthroscopic knee surgery, and to say the Dallas Mavericks have struggled to hold down the fort would be an understatement. They’re only 7-9 a month into the season and have lost four of the last five. Things aren’t exactly going the way they’d hoped after making pretty serious changes in the offseason, but despite all the struggles, at least center Chris Kaman has been a bright spot on the offensive end of the floor.
Still, despite his being the second-highest scoring player on the Mavericks’ roster, Kaman hasn’t always been happy with his rebounding output this season, with good reason; he’s only posted double-digit boards twice, and that has really started to bother the former All-Star center.
“I had a game high of seventeen (rebounds) the other day, and then I had four one game, two the next, then four and four again tonight,” Kaman said. “It’s frustrating because over my career I average seven or eight. Maybe it’s just me not being as aggressive as I need to be. Maybe it’s our defensive set up, I don’t know. It just doesn’t seem like they’re there like they are sometimes.”
That hasn’t stopped Kaman from trying, though. His lowest rebounding averages since his second year in the league aren’t a result of lack of effort, and he has every intention of getting closer to his 8.2 rpg career average.
“I try to keep playing and fighting, and if the ball comes I’ll try and get it. It just doesn’t seem like they come to my side,” he said.
But Kaman’s rebounding woes are only a small reason behind Dallas’s struggles.
“We have some key guys like Dirk and (Darren) Collison battling injuries, however as a team we are not going out there and competing for 48 minutes,” Kaman said. “Coach has to figure out what we need to do, but as players we have to pull it together and get going.”
Injuries aren’t Dallas’s only problem, though. Finding a way to build chemistry with all their new players is also a challenge, and that’s taking some time.
“We’re trying to figure out our identity. We have a lot of new guys who are trying to make their way and figure everything out,” he said. “The coaches are doing everything they can. We’ve had plenty of meetings and practices and it’s frustrating. I’m frustrated by it.”
At the end of the day, though, what’s going to make the biggest difference in Big D is the return of Nowitzki, which could happen as early as mid-December.
“We’re digging ourselves a little bit of a hole the last couple games,” Kaman said. “Hopefully Dirk comes back and things will change a little bit. It’s hard to put your finger on it. We just don’t come out and compete the way we’re capable of competing.”
More than anything else, that’s what has to change. And if it does, it’s not too late for the Mavericks to turn things around. Kaman has been pretty good early this season, but he can be better, and so can the rest of the team.
Kemba Walker Proving He Belongs in NBA
A year ago, it was easy to say that Charlotte Bobcats guard Kemba Walker was not living up to the hype. Many said he was too small to play in the NBA, and his rookie season did nothing to disprove that assessment. He seemed doomed to follow in the footsteps of players like Ed O’Bannon and Mateen Cleaves—guys who were really good college performers that just couldn’t make it as pros.
Well, we can throw all that speculation into the garbage can. The Bobcats are off to a surprising 7-8 start after setting a record for team futility a year ago, and Walker is leading his team with over 16 ppg. He has looked every bit as good as the guy who won the NCAA championship at UConn two seasons ago, and continues to prove that he really does belong in the NBA.
Walker talks to HOOPSWORLD in the following video about how he’s gone about doing that, as well as what Ben Gordon has brought to the team and how much more losing stings now that there are some wins sprinkled in:
Nash Tops Nielsen’s N-Score Ratings
The most marketable NBA player of all time is Michael Jordan. No big surprise there. But according to a recent Nielsen study, the most marketable player in today’s NBA is L.A. Lakers point guard Steve Nash.
On the surface, this is surprising considering that Nash, at age 38, isn’t even the best player on his own team, and is barely even among the top five best players currently employed in the city of Los Angeles. Still, a player that likeable in a market like L.A. is bound to make a strong impact on consumers, and really, who better than Nash to earn the highest N-Score in the league?
N-Scores, which are compiled using joint research from Nielsen and E-Poll Market Research, compiles a score meant to gauge a player’s endorsement potential. According to Nielsen, the N-Score considers “the attributes and demographic measures that align brands with endorsers,” so Nash’s top marks mean he’s among the safest and most desirable endorsers in the NBA.
Nash’s teammate Kobe Bryant has the second highest N-Score, further proving that L.A. is a hotbed for profitable NBA stars. In all the Lakers are able to boast six of the top 50 N-Scores in the entire league, and when you add in five Clippers, it’s pretty obvious that Hollywood is the place to be if you’re looking to build yourself as a brand.
Dwight Howard, for example, has to be ecstatic that he ended up in the City of Angels.
But L.A. wasn’t the only city to score well in Nielsen’s study. The Chicago Bulls also had six players appear on the list of the Top 50 N-Scores, and Derrick Rose was named the most by those polled as the most talented overall player in the league.
Meanwhile, Miami is on the opposite spectrum, with three of their own players (including LeBron James and Dwyane Wade) being named among the top ten most over-exposed players in the league. James’s N-Score has dropped significantly since his days in Cleveland, but despite that he’s still one of the biggest earners in the league in terms of 2012 endorsements.
And despite the fact that the three teams in L.A. and Chicago accounted for over a third of the players listed in Nielsen’s Top 50, the Oklahoma City Thunder was the team said to have the most talent. Only Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook made the overall list, but even without James Harden, they’re still good enough to impress the general public.
At the end of the day, these ratings don’t mean a whole lot for the current season; Rose, for example, may be the public’s choice for most talented, but that won’t help the Bulls get over the fact that he’s not going to play most of the season. And no matter how much people may be tired of the Miami HEAT, they’re still going to be the favorite for the NBA title all year long barring a major injury.
N-Scores are fun but ultimately meaningless in terms of team success. In terms of individual marketability, though, they’re pretty darn accurate. Nash is the king of the castle this year along those lines, proving that a move to L.A. could be good for any player’s personal brand. Even Metta World Peace made the Top 50. If he can do it in L.A., who can’t?