By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
May 31, 2012
Hornets.com continues its look back at the 2011-12 season with player-by-player analysis of the team:
After being traded to New Orleans from the Los Angeles Clippers in mid-December, Chris Kamans first season with the Hornets was an eventful one, to say the least. In the first month of the season alone, he went from reserve to starter to reserve to explicit subject of trade discussion then back to starter again in mid-February. With the Hornets in dire need of scoring punch they finished 29th in the league in points per game in 2011-12 Kamans presence in the lineup often helped make the difference between wins and losses, particularly during the second half of the 66-game season.
In the final 28 games played by Kaman prior to him sustaining a season-ending injury April 15, the Hornets went a respectable 13-15. The 7-foot center tallied double-figure scoring 24 times during that stretch, including 20 consecutive games from Feb. 13 through March 22. Of the 47 total games played by Kaman this season, fellow former Clipper Eric Gordon was only on the floor seven times, which often required that Kaman fill the role of go-to scorer and No. 1 option. In his 33 starts, he averaged 14.8 points and 8.2 rebounds.
The former 2003 lottery pick sometimes served as a barometer for New Orleans success. He registered six 20-point, 10-rebound games on the season; the Hornets went 5-1 in those instances, defeating Utah, Cleveland, Dallas, the Clippers and Minnesota.
Although his offensive skill was the most valuable attribute he brought to the Hornets, he also enjoyed a solid season from a rebounding and shot-blocking standpoint. Kaman finished second on the club in rebounding average (7.7, just behind Emeka Okafors 7.9) and led the team in rejections by a significant margin (1.64 average; Jason Smith was next at 1.03).
For both Kaman individually and the Hornets collectively, Feb. 13 was a noteworthy turning point in the 2011-12 season. When New Orleans took the floor that evening for a home game against Utah, the Hornets were 4-23 overall, rock-bottom for them record-wise this season.
Facing a Jazz team that would ultimately reach the Western Conference playoffs, Kaman racked up a season-high 27 points, to go with 13 rebounds, powering New Orleans to an 86-80 victory. His 42 minutes were also easily the most he had logged up to that point in the season. The Hornets only had nine players available, but still managed to hand the Jazz a defeat.
I havent played these minutes all year, Kaman said in the locker room afterward. We have a lot of guys injured, and Im just trying to fill in and do what I can do.
The 27-point outburst against the Jazz was the first of 20 straight double-figure scoring games for the Central Michigan product. After winning just four of their first 27 games, the Hornets went 17-22 the rest of the way.
Kaman is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent, meaning he can agree to contract terms with any NBA team when the signing period begins July 1. After making the playoffs only once in his nine-year pro career, Kaman notes that finding a winning situation will be one of his biggest priorities as he mulls where to play next season and beyond.
I think thats what its about at this point in my career. I want to win, said Kaman, who turned 30 two days after the regular season ended. Ive been on teams where weve struggled, or have been up and down. Its a tough situation to be in for so long. I want to play somewhere where I can win. No disrespect to anybody or teammates that Ive played with, but I want to be on a team thats successful. Ive had very few (winning) seasons (in the NBA). Thats kind of my goal. Thats part of (the decision). It has to be a good situation for my family as well, though.
|ADDITIONAL 2011-12 SEASON IN REVIEWS|
|JASON SMITH||JARRETT JACK||GUSTAVO AYON|
|MARCO BELINELLI||LANCE THOMAS||XAVIER HENRY|
|EMEKA OKAFOR||CHRIS KAMAN||ERIC GORDON|
|GREIVIS VASQUEZ||AL-FAROUQ AMINU||TREVOR ARIZA|
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