The Lakers' newly acquired big man remains a familiar name in Los Angeles.
For those who missed out on Chris Kaman's times with the Clippers, his qualities differ from what Dwight Howard showed last season with the Lakers before jetting to the Houston Rockets.
Kaman hardly matches Howard's defense, which earned him the NBA's Defensive player of the year award in three seasons.
"He's an above the rim player," Kaman said. "I can't play above the rim."
Kaman's career averages of 11.8 points and eight rebounds falls short of Howard's career numbers (18.29 points, 12.96 rebounds). But Kaman remains superior in his post moves and mid-range jumper. Not surprisingly, Kaman's career 74.4 percent mark from the free throw line also trumps Howard's 57.7 percent clip.
"I'm a similar player as Pau (Gasol). I think I'm inside and outside like he is," Kaman said. "I complement his game well."
Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni remains undecided whether he will start Kaman or Jordan Hill at power forward along with Gasol at center. But a discussion with D'Antoni convinced Kaman to join the Lakers on a one-year deal at the mini mid-level exception worth $3.2 million after making $8 million last season with the Dallas Mavericks.
"He was a straight shooter," Kaman said of D'Antoni. "I respect that more than anything."
Despite saying he respects Mark Cuban, Kaman disagreed with the Mavericks owner for arguing he played off the dribble too much. Synergy Sports Technology shows Kaman took 159 catch-and-shoot jumpers compared to 29 shots off the dribble.
"He just talks," Kaman said of Cuban. "He treated me really well. He's a really good guy. I just don't think he looked at the numbers."
Kaman also disagreed with how Dallas used him.
"I skipped my exit meeting. I knew I wasn't going to go back," said Kaman, who averaged 10.5 points and 5.6 rebounds last season. "I just didn't feel like they liked what I brought to the table or they would've given me more opportunities."
Kaman vowed to accept his role with the Lakers.
"When you're in a business, you're meant to do a job," Kaman said. "I'm going to do the best I can."
Hill's job description will go beyond providing energy. D'Antoni and Kobe Bryant convinced him to spend his offseason taking 600-700 jumpers per day.
"With this offense, I can spread the floor a little bit and expand my game," said Hill, who worked out at his Atlanta residence.
How does Hill do that without compromising his strengths on defense and rebounding?
"One doesn't mean he can't do the other," D'Antoni said. "It'll just make him a better player."
After rehabbing all offseason on respective knee and hamstring injuries, Gasol and Steve Nash gradually progressed their activity level by participating in most of Monday's practice. Gasol completed the entire practice, while Nash sat out toward the end.
"Keep your fingers crossed but hopefully he has his best year ever," D'Antoni said of the 33-year old Gasol, whose $19.3 million contract expires after this season. "I think he has at least five more good years, real good years, in him."