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Chris Kaman's All-Star hopes may be tied to Clippers' performance

CLIPPERS FYI

Coach Mike Dunleavy says team probably has to 'get to contention' before All-Star voters notice Kaman. Still, he's the highest-scoring center in NBA, which could be hard to ignore.

December 30, 2009|By Lisa Dillman
  • Clippers center Chris Kaman is averaging 20.0 points and 9.1 rebounds per game, but his name is not on the Western Conference All-Star ballot.
Clippers center Chris Kaman is averaging 20.0 points and 9.1 rebounds per… (Ann Heisenfelt / Associated…)

Ballot-Gate.

No, it had nothing to do with hanging chads.

That would have meant Clippers center Chris Kaman's name was actually on the West- ern Conference All-Star ballot. It never got there, surprisingly.

Kaman wasn't surprised by the oversight. He knew he didn't play enough last season, just 31 games, and also noted that there were questions about his future and durability, and that there are "politics" involved in the process.

"There's nothing I can do about it," he said after practice Tuesday. "There's a lot of good players. It's a tough thing to be an All-Star. You've got to make the right moves, a team has to win.

"If I get there, I get there. If I don't, I don't. I don't fault anybody. I don't really care."

Presumably the most important numbers would be Kaman's averages of 20.0 points and 9.1 rebounds per game. He is the highest-scoring center in the NBA.

But the problem lies with other numbers: The Clippers are 13-17.

Which is what Coach Mike Dunleavy brought up when asked whether Kaman had a shot at becoming an All-Star.

"Not unless we move up," Dunleavy said. "If we get to contention, .500, if we get in there, people will look. Now his numbers, if they outdistance everybody, I think he could get in with a losing record. [But not] if it's close with somebody else on a winning team."

Kaman has had eight games of 25 or more points, including a career-high 29 last week against Houston. An eight-point day against Memphis on Nov. 29 was the only game this season in which he failed to score in double digits.

"He's understanding things a lot better, becoming more efficient," Dunleavy said. "He's the guy who wants to do well and do what you want him to do. He's very self-critical. When he makes mistakes he admits and feels badly about it.

"He's having a better feel for the offensive end of the floor. We've been trying to get him to do that stuff for years, take what's there. You've got all the goods, the tools."

Etc.

Earlier in the season, Kaman had spoken about Baron Davis' improved leadership.

Rasual Butler, who hit a tying three-pointer (set up by Davis) late in Monday's win over Boston, has noticed an uptick in other areas. Davis then hit the game-winning buzzer beater.

"He's a big strong guard," Butler said. "Taking people down to the post and abusing people physically. I think he's doing a pretty good job at picking his spots, certain times in the game where he should be more aggressive offensively and then when it's time to get other guys going."

Marcus Camby, who did not play against the Celtics because of an injured left knee, is questionable for tonight's game at Portland.

lisa.dillman@latimes.com

twitter.com/reallisa

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