Why Jordan Hill Must Start over Chris Kaman Alongside Pau Gasol for Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers made a smart move by signing center Chris Kaman after Dwight Howard left town, but only if this means Kaman will be the first big man off the bench behind Pau Gasol and Jordan Hill.

To be fair, Kaman is bigger than Hill, more experienced and gives the Lakers the type of height advantage in the paint they enjoyed during the Andrew Bynum era. But Bynum played for coaches who actually believed in the merits of post play, while Kaman plays for Mike D'Antoni.

And what makes anyone think the Lakers offense will flow any better with Kaman in the middle than it did with Howard?

In fact, the slower, less athletic Kaman would probably make last season's dysfunctional offensive unit look like a well-oiled machine by comparison.

The real kicker is Hill will not make the Lakers offense much better than it would be with Kaman, but he does bring other qualities to the table that could be very valuable on the defensive end of the court.

The ideal power forward in D'Antoni's offense would be comfortable shooting the ball from the perimeter, attacking the rim off the dribble and weak defensively.

None of those traits describe Hill.

Any jump shot from Hill will likely be taken no further than six feet from the basket. He seems to enjoy playing with his back to the basket, so attacking the rim off the dribble is probably out of the question.

And finally, Hill is a pretty good defender and rebounder who has a little room left to grow.

The four-year veteran is only 26 years old, and previous stops in New York and Houston never afforded Hill the opportunity to realize his potential.

Regardless of whether Hill starts or not for the Lakers, he should find those minutes this season.

Kaman's signing was preceded by Nick Young's and followed by Wesley Johnson, Jordan Farmar and Xavier Henry, as the Lakers raced to sign any ...

About the Author