Why LA Lakers Best Bet Is to Start Pau Gasol and Chris Kaman Together

No NBA team has ever complained about having too many seven-footers. Piecing together a rotation in which those seven-footers coexist effectively is a different question altogether.

It's a difficult one, too, especially for a coach who privileges speed and shooting over size—and for a team that struggled to make the most of Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol last season. The central challenge for the 2013-14 Los Angeles Lakers isn't just about replacing Howard. It's about putting his replacement in a position to succeed alongside Gasol.

That replacement of course is 31-year-old center Chris Kaman. Though Kaman only has one All-Star appearance (in 2010) to show for his 10-year career, his ability to fill Howard's shoes shouldn't be measured in accolades alone.

What Kaman lacks in dominance, he makes up for with the specific skills he brings to head coach Mike D'Antoni's system, and you can take D'Antoni's word for it according to the Los Angeles Daily News' Mark Medina: “I don’t traditionally love two bigs together. They have nice chemistry and they’re skilled.”

For his part, Kaman isn't just skilled in an abstract sense—he has the makings of a cohort who fits nicely into the Lakers' program. Point guard Steve Nash is already taking notice, and his body of iconic work makes him a pretty good judge of these things (per ESPNLosAngeles.com's Ramona Shelburne):

We knew Pau was great with the ball. But I thought Chris was terrific tonight with the ball and setting picks and moving so we didn't get stagnant. I was pleasantly surprised. I would say it exceeded my expectations.

Will Lakers fans be in store for similar sentiments?

The preseason sample size has been too small and inconsequential to make any lasting judgements, but this much is certain. In principle, this big-man tandem just might work.

In many respects, Kaman is ...

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