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Pau Gasol still trying to find his place in D’Antoni’s offense

Nov 30, 2012, 12:07 PM EDT

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Pau Gasol is a unique talent in the NBA — he has the most polished, skilled post moves in the league with the ability to score with both hands going either direction, he also has a steady midrange game, and is a great passer if you want to have guys cutting off him while you get him the ball at the elbow.

He can hurt you a lot of ways, either as a center or power forward. But he is struggling to figure out how to do damage in Mike D’Antoni’s offense.

Gasol is a very smart, very self-aware guy, and he admitted to Mike Trudell of Lakers.com he is struggling but also thinks he can figure it out.

“I’ll try to get into the paint as much as I can, but also remind myself that (I need to) keep the floor spaced,” he said after Thursday’s practice. “I’m trying to figure it out….

“It can be difficult because every game is a bit different,” explained Gasol. “You have to adjust your defensive coverages depending on the team you are facing and what your match up is. You have to focus on whatever is going to benefit the team the most that night.”

Gasol is too smart a player not to figure out where he fits, but like last year’s Lakers where he is needed and fits may not play to his strengths. Last season the healthy presence of Andrew Bynum on the block forced Gasol to play more at the high post, more out of the paint, and his numbers suffered for it. He was good, but Mike Brown wasn’t using his strengths.

Mike D’Antoni needs to play to Gasol to his strengths, or the Lakers need to see if they can move him for a player that does fit their needs. They are not shopping him around right now (despite rumors) but that could change. And that too likely takes a toll on Gasol’s game.

  1. aboogy123456 - Nov 30, 2012 at 12:33 PM

    I don’t understand why the offense just doesn’t run through Gasol more in the post. They are constantly posting up Dwight, but I think it’s better for them to post up Pau. Pau is a better player with his back to the basket, and as kurt mentioned he’s a great passer. So his passing skills will allow him to find Dwight howard cutting to the basket where I think he’s unstoppable.

    when dwight posts up teams can get away with single teaming him, but I think it’s harder to do for pau because he will either score or find the open man. Dwight is an amazing finisher and guys will find him but I’d like to see a more inside outside offense with kobe and pau.

    • mytthor - Nov 30, 2012 at 7:19 PM

      Teams really can’t get away with single teaming Dwight. The entire Magic offense for years was built around that fact, and the team they had the most trouble with was Atlanta because Collins was one guy who actually COULD cover him 1 on 1.

  2. aboogy123456 - Nov 30, 2012 at 1:18 PM

    I don’t understand why the offense just doesn’t run through Gasol more in the post. They are constantly posting up Dwight, but I think it’s better for them to post up Pau. Pau is a better player with his back to the basket, and as kurt mentioned he’s a great passer. So his passing skills will allow him to find Dwight howard cutting to the basket where I think he’s unstoppable.

    when dwight posts up teams can get away with single teaming him, but I think it’s harder to do for pau because he will either score or find the open man. Dwight is an amazing finisher and guys will find him but I’d like to see a more inside outside offense with kobe and pau.

  3. eventhorizon04 - Nov 30, 2012 at 1:48 PM

    (Reposting because the first time didn’t show up, so I apologize if this ends up as a double-post)

    “I’ll try to get into the paint as much as I can, but also remind myself that (I need to) keep the floor spaced,” he said after Thursday’s practice. “I’m trying to figure it out….”

    I love that statement because it neatly summarizes the problem.

    Pau Gasol is a terrific player with a variety of skills. However, he’s most effective in the low-post. He even says as much – to become more effective, he needs “to get into the paint as much as [he] can.”

    RIGHT after he says that though, he reminds himself of what Mike D’Antoni wants him to do. He says, “(I need to) keep the floor spaced,” which means he needs to give Dwight and Kobe space to operate in the paint….which means he needs to get out of the low-post.

    The last part of his statement – “I’m trying to figure it out….” is the perfect finish.
    Fans and teammates want Pau to become more effective.
    What D’Antoni wants him to do specifically asks Pau to stay away from the area where he’s the most effective.

    Gasol is trying, but I don’t see a solution.

  4. ihavenonickname - Nov 30, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    I think we should use gasol and kobe in the post more than dwight. just put dwight on the weak side to let him get lobs and put backs.

  5. omniusprime - Dec 1, 2012 at 9:27 AM

    Seeing the article’s title I just knew that Kurt Helin wrote this pathetic piece of trash. Hey Kurt, here’s a reality check – it’s not Pau’s job to figure out how the Lakers use Gasol. That’s what a coach is for, figuring out offensive and defensive schemes. It’s Dumbtoni’s job to figure out how to best utilize Pau Gasol and if Dumbtoni’s too stupid then it’s Dumbtoni who should be fired.

    It’s a shame that NBS Sports isn’t smart enough to realize that Kurt Helin doesn’t fit their needs of intelligent basketball punditry and move him off in order to find someone who can write intelligent articles about intelligent ideas.

    I hate seeing all the ignorant anti-Gasol articles being bandied about and pathetic brouhaha about Pau needing to be traded. I’d love to see some intelligent sports pundit give us the reasons why Pau shouldn’t be traded, why it’s Dumbtoni who needs to figure it out in order to maximize Pau’s contribution to the Lakers. Sadly I know Kurt’s not that kind of intelligent pundit. Care to prove me wrong Kurt?

    Go Pau Gasol!!! Go Away Kurt Helin!!!

  6. progress2011 - Dec 2, 2012 at 4:50 AM

    This topic is STOOPID !

    A good coach and quality / educated/ unselfish teammates would thrive, playing with Gasol. Trade Gasol to the Heat and Gasol will OVER-NIGHT be a 25 point, 10 rebound, 5 assist, 3 block guy…EVERYNIGHT ! Because LBJ will get him the ball early and often, in scoring position. Touches make any big man play harder and become more active.
    Not understanding how to utilize a legit 7’0″, skilled player such as Gasol, is a reflection of :

    1. Selfish guard play / kobe jacking up Harlem Globtrotter type trick shots, in an attempt to look like MJ.
    2. Lack of structure and control from the coaching spot. D’Antoni doesn’t have the metal to tell kobe to Pass The FRIGGIN BALL !!!

    Spo/ Riley will ensure Gasol is entrenched in the offense, team and city and does not receive this type of BULL iSH type negative publicity.

    Gasol is the most skilled 7’0″ dude in the league….this is RIDICULOUS !!!

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