Pau Gasol’s season got off to a rough start. He clearly didn’t fit into Mike Brown’s Princeton offense and now Mike D’Antoni at the helm isn’t going any better. Gasol is posting career lows in points (13.1) and shooting percentage (42.3%) due to the fact that he’s forced out of the paint by Dwight Howard and taking more outside shots. While Pau is capable of knocking down the occasional jumper, it’s not his strong suit, and having to push himself up and down the floor is clearly taking its toll.
D’Antoni has said he wants Gasol involved, but he was also asked after the Lakers’ loss against Memphis why he benched Pau for the fourth quarter, to which he replied that he “would like to win this game.”
The up-and-down pace that D’Antoni wants has to be tough for a seven-footer who would rather slow things down and work with his back to the basket, but Gasol is working to get there.
"We're all trying to get adjusted to the faster pace and running harder to our spots so the spacing's better, the flow is better," Gasol said.
But if it doesn’t get better, is that the end of Pau’s time in L.A.? It seems like Gasol has been involved in every single trade rumor and scenario coming out of Hollywood for years. Is it finally time for someone to be right?
It looks like the Lakers are waiting to see what happens when Steve Nash returns from injury and runs the D’Antoni offense the way it’s supposed to be run. At that point they’ll be able to tell if Gasol is worth keeping or if they should dump him before the February 21st trade deadline. D’Antoni seems hopeful they can find a role for Pau.
"He can easily play our system and he's going to be a very important player for us," D’Antoni said.
That may just be D’Antoni covering his butt for what he said previously, but it’s hard to believe he can’t find a job for the four-time All-Star. Things surely haven’t gone the way the Lakers had hoped when they acquired Howard and Nash in the offseason, but it’s a long season, and there’s a lot left to be seen.
Image: NY Post