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It’s not Howard, Gasol says it is the system he is still trying to figure out

Dec 20, 2012, 12:41 PM EDT

Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol AP

Plenty of Lakers fans have been asking “can Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard play together?”

But that’s not the right question, if you ask Gasol.

Sam Amick of USA Today did and Gasol’s response questioned how they both fit in Mike D’Antoni’s system.

“I don’t find (playing with Howard) tough,” Gasol said as he stood at the loading dock. “It’s more the system right now that makes it tough at times, because (D’Antoni) wants four guys to be spread and one interior guy and it’s a guard-oriented system, so that makes it tough.

“I think there’s enough looks for both of us. But again, it’s not a system that you post up a lot, so we’ll see. We’ve just got to figure it out, but if you’ve got two great post-up players, you’ve got to utilize it.”

Really, three post up players because Kobe Bryant should get touches there, too. Just to be clear.

D’Antoni is clearly moving to play Howard and Gasol together as little as possible. It was evident in Gasol’s one game back, although D’Antoni tried to play it off as a conditioning thing after Gasol’s layoff.

But in the second half he played a lot of small lineup ball — Darius Morris/Chris Duhon at the point (as placeholders for Steve Nash), Jodie Meeks at the two, Kobe at the three, Metta World Peace at the four, then Gasol and Howard rotating at the five spot.

And it worked. The Lakers were -22 in their one-point win over the Bobcats when Howard and Gasol were on the court together and were +18 with Gasol at center with Morris, Meeks, Kobe, World Peace and Gasol.

The question becomes that if D’Antoni continues down this road of splitting time between Gasol and Howard, do you see what the market will offer for Gasol? But we are a month away from the Lakers seriously debating that question, they are just about to get Steve Nash back and see how that impacts the mix.

  1. lakerprideko - Dec 20, 2012 at 1:03 PM

    This is just humiliating to be a Laker fan.. We have two of the best big men in the league and went with a coach that runs a system that DOESNT fit the bill…

    At the same time I am a fan of trading Gasol IF the right pieces come that can add depth to our team (not just to fit the new system) because we need more talent on our roster point blank period.

    But you have to admit if the Triangle was in use and all the piece came together this team would be a lot better off…

    • loungefly74 - Dec 20, 2012 at 1:40 PM

      great comment. this has been a frustrating season so i’m doing my best zen impersonation to stay cool. i hope they get their act together somehow…

      • zerole00 - Dec 20, 2012 at 5:27 PM

        Coach Pop sure made use of his two big mean, Duncan and Robinson…why can’t D’Antoni do the same?

      • zerole00 - Dec 20, 2012 at 5:27 PM

        Coach Pop sure made use of his two big men, Duncan and Robinson…why can’t D’Antoni do the same?

    • sunriver1 - Dec 22, 2012 at 12:33 PM

      I just don’t understand Lakers management. during the off season they spend tons of cash to bring in players to make a championship run. Then they fire MB, a good move, but bring in D’anti. Not a good move. And further, it appears that they now are willing to dismantle the team they created over the summer to accommodate D’anti’s ‘coaching style.’ This makes no sense. When you have great talent available, you run a system that is suited to the personnel on hand. The Lakers are an older, slower team. That isn’t going to change. Playing 10 second run and gun offense exposes our age with the resulting poor transition defense. We have two of the best big men in the league in the post, and Kobe works well there too. Why we don’t run a slower, more deliberate offense similar to the triangle is beyond me. This type offense will help our terrible transition defense and either way you know we are going to score points. Defense wins championships, not offense. It seems D’anti doesn’t understand this. I don’t remember any of his teams even getting close to the trophy. And at this rate, the Lakers won’t be there either. Jimmy Buss must be an idiot for allowing this to happen, and if D’anti cannot put his narcissistic pride aside, and change his system to utilize the personnel he has to their fullest, he is an idiot too. We have a short window left to bring it all home, and smaller one yet to get D14 to resign. If things don’t change soon, those windows will be shut tight. bummer.

  2. iamjimmyjack - Dec 20, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    D’antoni is worse than lane Kiffin at making adjustments. How can u not use ur 2 big men to their strengths? I still can’t believe he’s coaching the lakers. I doubt Dwight wants to play this style for his next few years, hence… He’s gone! :/

    • biasedhomer - Dec 20, 2012 at 4:25 PM

      Come to Philly Dwight!

  3. LPad - Dec 20, 2012 at 2:28 PM

    At what point can we just say that this is a D’Antoni problem? Every team he coaches have had problems with frontcourt players In Phoenix, D’Antoni said he couldn’t coach Shaq and Amare. In NY, Melo and Amare couldn’t coexist, but the minute he leaves the Knicks go 8-2 with Amare and Melo. And now, Pau is a problem. The most offensively diverse big man in the game today can’t play with Dwight. Here’s some advice to NBA GMs and owners: don’t hire D’Antoni unless you can clone an exact replica of his Suns teams pre Shaq.

    • zerole00 - Dec 20, 2012 at 5:30 PM

      I won’t disagree with your argument, but I think the Knicks are a bad example. Carmelo flat out admitted he played harder for Woodson. Does D’Antoni still get some blame for not working with his players though? Yeah.

    • felisberto - Dec 21, 2012 at 5:03 AM

      the system didn’t work well in phoenix,how many champs, did they win?

  4. aboogy123456 - Dec 20, 2012 at 2:39 PM

    I’m so confused, what does D’antoni actually think is the best for the team? Does he really think the way he uses pau and dwight is the best way to win games or is his dream simply to run his “brand” of offense?

  5. zacksdad - Dec 20, 2012 at 2:47 PM

    Having two big men play together is not the way to win championships. Except for those odd occurrences of San Antonio and the Lakers winning Championships, it does not work. All those years where teams had trouble matching up to the Lakers and Spurs with their big men was just bad coaching on the other teams.

    Heck it is harder to make shots when you are closer to the basket playing post-up basketball. Except for those odd occurrences of Shaq, Howard, Gasol, Bynum, and others happening to have great field goal percentages, it does not work. It is much better to to shoot the basketball farther away. Specially when you team does not have players that shoot it well away from the basket. Heck Gasol makes around 19 million, he should change his game and learn how to do it at the ripe age of 30+.

    So quit blaming the coach, these players should just make their shots how he wants them to shoot it. Heck we should get Bynum back, he likes to shoot 3 pointers. Then Gasol can be the post-up player and Bynum can be our 3 point shooter.

    • socaldrew - Dec 20, 2012 at 3:06 PM

      You, sir, are either a complete moron or an amazing troll.

      • zacksdad - Dec 20, 2012 at 3:24 PM

        Sorry, I thought my sarcasm was obvious.

        I also forgot to mention it was such a great hire of a coach of the run & gun offense with 4 starters 30+ years old and no reliable bench to spell them when they get worn out.

      • zerole00 - Dec 20, 2012 at 5:32 PM

        LoL I was going to call you on the BS about post shots too before I saw this post.

    • thebigcaptain2011 - Dec 20, 2012 at 4:28 PM

      Any moron can tell you were being sarcastic.
      To your point, yes, it was a very poor hire by those responsible. There was a reason that system worked well in Phoenix. The Suns “center” was Amare. PF was Marion. The Lakers start (or at least are supposed to) Howard and Gasol. You don’t run with those guys. And for those of you who wan’t to bring up the SHOWTIME Lakers; Kareem was showcased mostly during those times when they ran their half-court sets, which was more often than you think. A very athletic James Worthy was the 4.

  6. magicbucs - Dec 20, 2012 at 2:57 PM

    Don’t blame the coach. Blame the GM for making a panic hire. Bernie was what 4-1 before the hiring. Should of been a bit more patient.

    • zacksdad - Dec 20, 2012 at 3:34 PM

      Sorry, this is not on Kupchak. I think you need to go one step above him to blame. Mitch hired who he was told to hire. He was even forced to embarrass himself and Phil with the fake interview of The Zen Master.

    • Foul Dwimmerlaik - Dec 20, 2012 at 5:01 PM

      For once, good comment magicbucs. I agree as well.

      Cheers!

    • sdlakerfan - Dec 21, 2012 at 7:48 PM

      and the one loss was on a last second shot to the Spurs. I’ve posted the same thing several times. Bernie’s the best coach they’ve had this year by far.

  7. mgaddyrt - Dec 20, 2012 at 3:08 PM

    I did notice the last game vs the Bobcats when Howard was out the offense was in a better rhythm. When he entered he either was lost in the flow, made mistakes down in the post or caused fouls. I don’t think they can ever work together in this offense the way its designed but they do work with they are not on the floor together. If you trade Gasol I would not say its because of his performance but to enhance the bench. Gasol imo has played well for what he has been asked to do outside of his normal routine.

  8. charlutes - Dec 20, 2012 at 3:11 PM

    I believe, and I wonder if anyone agrees with me, that the media has lost its way. All I ever hear about are the Lakers, which to me are an incredibly uninteresting team. They don’t have chemistry, they are boring to watch, they are extremely mediocre, so why are there 50 stories everyday about the Lakers? Why can’t we get some in depth insight on the Grizzlies, or the Warriors, two far more interesting stories? All we get on them is something like: Marc Jackson’s got the Warriors humming and they are a terrific story, so look into that. Usually followed by 9 stories on whether Pau can play with Dwight and is Kobe selfish. Boring. The knee jerk media reaction I’ll get on this is that people can never get enough Knicks and Lakers, those are the markets people care about. I don’t buy it. if you’re a sports fan, who cares about markets, shouldn’t you care about basketball? I think the media has convinced itself of what people want by telling them what they want, and its garbage.

    • paleihe - Dec 20, 2012 at 3:41 PM

      I’m assuming this website, like most other sites, use analytics to figure out what people are actually clicking on. If a particular type of article is generating more visits, clicks, and comments, they’re going to change their content to better suit their visitors.

      That’s just my hunch though.

  9. addict2sport - Dec 20, 2012 at 3:12 PM

    You can’t blame D’Antoni. His resume and all of his rings speak for themselves.

    • zacksdad - Dec 20, 2012 at 3:27 PM

      You better watch out or you also might be called a “a complete moron or an amazing troll”.

  10. lakerwoman - Dec 20, 2012 at 3:32 PM

    D’Antoni seems to be a one trick pony even though he’s blessed with two of the
    biggest and best stallions in the NBA. So sad.

  11. franchiseplaya - Dec 20, 2012 at 3:47 PM

    I cant believe its only been a couple of years since teams were trying to load up on bigs to counter the Lakers size with Bynum, Odom and Gasol. Now every team seems to be buying into the small ball concept because the Heat managed to win, but they also have the best player on the planet today whos a physical freak. The Lakers need to make it work with their talented bigs and impose their will on teams.

  12. progress2011 - Dec 20, 2012 at 5:41 PM

    aaaaaAAAAAAAH,

    It brings me SUCH joy to read all the FAKER fans groveling in their own misery, eyes filled with big blue crocodile tears….and essentially telling me, I’ve been RIGHT all along….Thank You !

    It still amuses me though, over the past 17 Years of laker turmoil, the one constant has been kobe jacking the friggin ball up too much………trying to be like Mike!

    BUT FAKER fans will point the finger of blame at anyone/ anything – ( GM, coach(s), the rest of the roster, lighting in the Staples center, parking attendants, fans, even the other teams uniforms).

    The FAKERS will not improve because Phil is not there to tell the Harlem Globetrotter dude to pass the friggin ball.

    D’Antoni doesn’t have enough testosterone/ intestinal fortitude/ man-hood or however you want to phrase it, to tell kobe to stop shooting (47%) !

    Teams are building chemistry now, for the playoffs. kobe jacking up shots IS NOT building any chemistry !!!

  13. mogogo1 - Dec 20, 2012 at 5:57 PM

    Every good coach knows how to make adjustments because things don’t always go right: guys get hurt, maybe you never had quite the right guys to begin with, opponents start exploiting a weakness necessitating a change, etc. I’m not convinced D’Antoni can do that, or even wants to do that. His system doesn’t seem well suited for larger or older lineups, yet there’s been zero adjustments from him to date. Maybe Nash’s return will miraculously fix everything, but if it doesn’t it’s fair to wonder if the Lakers won’t have a second coaching change this season.

  14. bigbamboom1 - Dec 20, 2012 at 6:53 PM

    Boston sure won a lot of games with the huge lineup of McHale, Parish and Bird. Ditto with the twin towers in Houston and san Antonio. Some of the NBA’s best teams had huge front lines. My point? D’Antoni is the huge problem there. They would have been better off staying with Bernie Bickerstaff, who went 4-0 in the interim. ANd won in San Francisco with huge big men. D’Antoni would be well advised to back off Pau and Dwight. And just let Steve Nash figure out how to get them all involved offensively, while letting Dwight, Pau and Metta figure out the defense.

    The Coach needs to stand down with that Phoenix system of move on.

  15. omniusprime - Dec 21, 2012 at 9:00 AM

    The biggest problem for the Lakers is Dumbtoni’s ignorant small ball system. The Lakers won multiple championships with two great big men playing together, three of them with the big three including Odom off the bench. The current Lakers are a bunch of losers because Dumbtoni is too ignorant to know how to use them properly. Pau Gasol is not the problem, he is part of the solution.

    The real problem is the little idiot buss boy wants to eradicate the championship legacy of Phil Jackson, he is doing a great job of destroying the whole Laker legacy of winning. Jeannie Buss should be running the show instead of him. Dumbtoni is the wrong coach for the Lakers, he needed to learn how to come up with a system that works for the personnel the Lakers have, not come in with a stupid system then try to cram the Lakers into playing it when the players just aren’t right for the stupid system.

    Go Gasol!!! Fire Dumbtoni!!! We Want Phil!!! Fire the little idiot buss boy!!! We Want Jeannie!!!

  16. paulhargis53 - Dec 21, 2012 at 9:19 AM

    Serious question. Does anybody even read o-primes posts anymore? I see that handle and just skip over it.

    How can it be any fun just posting the same thing, day in and day out?

  17. sunriver1 - Dec 22, 2012 at 12:39 PM

    I just don’t understand Lakers management. during the off season they spend tons of cash to bring in players to make a championship run. Then they fire MB, a good move, but bring in D’anti. Not a good move. And further, it appears that they now are willing to dismantle the team they created over the summer to accommodate D’anti’s ‘coaching style.’ This makes no sense. When you have great talent available, you run a system that is suited to the personnel on hand. The Lakers are an older, slower team. That isn’t going to change. Playing 10 second run and gun offense exposes our age with the resulting poor transition defense. We have two of the best big men in the league in the post, and Kobe works well there too. Why we don’t run a slower, more deliberate offense similar to the triangle is beyond me. This type offense will help our terrible transition defense and either way you know we are going to score points. Defense wins championships, not offense. It seems D’anti doesn’t understand this. I don’t remember any of his teams even getting close to the trophy. And at this rate, the Lakers won’t be there either. Jimmy Buss must be an idiot for allowing this to happen, and if D’anti cannot put his narcissistic pride aside, and change his system to utilize the personnel he has to their fullest, he is an idiot too. We have a short window left to bring it all home, and smaller one yet to get D14 to resign. If things don’t change soon, those windows will be shut tight. bummer.

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