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Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol frustrated. They may want to look in mirror.

Jan 22, 2013, 8:37 AM EST

Bulls center Noah defends against Lakers center Howard during the first half of their NBA basketball game in Chicago Reuters

Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol have one thing in common with Lakers fans:

They are not happy.

Howard is not happy because he got just five shot attempts Monday as the Bulls defense smothered the Lakers. Gasol is not happy in his role coming off the bench. It’s the latest in a season-long trend of frustration for pair.

Like many a wayward production in Hollywood this is not the script the All-Star big men thought they had signed up to shoot. The Lakers thought they would come together quickly, fit the pieces together and be threatening the Thunder by now. Not being a lottery team at 17-24.

Howard sounded the most frustrated after his five shot attempts — something that’s a trend as he has had single-digit shot attempts in three straight games (to be fair, he was tossed from the Toronto game). Here is what Howard said after, via Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register.

“Look at the stat sheet,” Howard said. “Look at the stat sheet.”

Asked how he can get more shots, Howard said: “It’s simple. Play inside-out.”

Asked if it is out of his power, he said quietly: “Just continue to play. Not get frustrated. As hard as it is, can’t get frustrated.”

Little late, he looks frustrated. Howard also has looked dispirited the last couple games. Clearly his back still bothers him some (maybe he shouldn’t have pushed to be back at the start of the season) but he still put up good numbers early in the season despite the physical limitations. Now he just seems disengaged at times, going through the motions. He was supposed to be a defensive backstop and he seems to have lost that edge.

Gasol has not and did not after the game hide his displeasure with his new role as sixth man. He also admitted he knows he is on the trade block. From Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News (via Sulia).

“I’d love to and I want this to work for us. I feel like I’m a part of this team and part of this franchise. I love to play here for as many years as possible because I identify myself with the team. I want it to work.”

Gasol could find his in this new role as a sixth man if he embraces it (ala Manu Ginobili) and finds he places he can make plays in the system. He needs to demand the rock more — tell Kobe Bryant to set him up — if he wants it. As much as coach Mike D’Antoni needs to do more to fit Gasol in the system, Gasol needs to meet him halfway and find his spaces in the new offense.

The Lakers star big men need to look in the mirror.

But so does Lakers management.

They knew their roster was a poor fit for D’Antoni’s system when they hired him (if they didn’t, the Lakers have bigger problems) and that frustration from their big men would be part of the price. Management made this move anyway thinking it is best for the long term but knowing (if they watched him in New York at all) that D’Antoni doesn’t bend the system much to fit the players. Management knew roster moves would have to come.

The ultimate question is just how frustrated is Dwight Howard getting? So far there has been nothing but hints he plans to re-sign this summer with the Lakers when he becomes a free agent. But at some point, will the losing start to change that? Management had to know that was a risk when they hired D’Antoni, too.

  1. timb12 - Jan 22, 2013 at 8:53 AM

    Is there anyway to put “Me” on the back of all these guys jerseys? Is it any surprise they stopped going to Howard after he couldn’t even hold position on the inside? He’s supposed to be the best center in the league right? Back surgery or not.

    • daddyghi - Jan 22, 2013 at 9:03 AM

      well….. how can you put the ball in his hands when kobe keeps on pounding the back iron with it?

      • myopinionisrighterthanyours - Jan 22, 2013 at 10:01 AM

        That’s the definition of a Kobe assist. Rebound or airball pass. Dwight just needs to fight more :)

    • daddyghi - Jan 22, 2013 at 9:04 AM

      clang!

    • voiceofreason6 - Jan 22, 2013 at 9:34 AM

      Dwight Howard is athletic but possesses poor basketball skills. They need to take Pau and move him to the low block. Problem solved. DH needs to come off the bench.

      • davidly - Jan 22, 2013 at 10:39 AM

        You’re right, but that’s a revolutionary idea that hasn’t had a place in sports for generations. Today, the league is too conservative, out of ideas other than to try to get a bunch a stars on the floor at once.

        Plus, they’re too worried about upsetting the guys making the big dough. Pretty absurd when you think that one might be happy making the money and make the best of it. It’s too bad, too, because, again, you’re right: Howard would clean up off the bench.

      • LPad - Jan 22, 2013 at 12:45 PM

        That’s absurd, he isn’t Reggie Evans. He doesn’t have a jump shot but he has above average post moves. Dwight averaged more than 20 pts and 10 rebs his entire career. Even under Bickerstaff this year he was putting up close to that while still rehabbing from back surgery. Don’t fall into the media trap that these guys just forgot how to play basketball, they’re being coached by Mike D’Antoni. Guy couldn’t figure out how to win with Shaq, so can’t expect him to figure out how to win with Dwight and Pau.

      • badintent - Jan 22, 2013 at 6:29 PM

        @LPad
        By Guy you mean Kebi ? Derck ain’t there no more so that leaves the $5 million dollar Ring Man

  2. lastdukestreetking - Jan 22, 2013 at 9:08 AM

    Sniff…

  3. andreweac - Jan 22, 2013 at 9:10 AM

    Lakers have bigger problems. How did they not understand D’Antoni would be a total epic disaster with a team that was old and had two ++ bigs as its strength?

    Lakers need to clean house in the front office — this includes the elder Buss’s son.

    • sabatimus - Jan 22, 2013 at 11:09 AM

      D’Antoni, Gasol, Howard, front office BS, too much payroll and a losing record…all this reminds me of the 2012 Boston Red Sox.

      • badintent - Jan 22, 2013 at 6:30 PM

        You Da man !! It is all and one in the same.

    • paleihe - Jan 22, 2013 at 11:39 AM

      Exactly who is going to fire Jim?

      • eventhorizon04 - Jan 22, 2013 at 1:17 PM

        It would have to be the person who “hired” him – his dad.

  4. paulhargis53 - Jan 22, 2013 at 9:12 AM

    Pay attention kids, you’re seeing the crumbling of an empire.

  5. MyTeamsAllStink - Jan 22, 2013 at 9:20 AM

    In all fairness Howard is coming back from major back surgery,Pau is just but hurt.Im still convinced even with Phil this team wouldn’t be much better,they are old,can’t coach them to play younger.

  6. progress2011 - Jan 22, 2013 at 9:33 AM

    Poor Nash, I like Nash….BUT he is a TOTAL liability, when he is on the floor. I mean, Hinrich just bounced the ball from one hand to the next…It wasn’t even a real “cross-over”….and Nash broke his own ankle, on several occasions.

    Big man cant pass the ball to themselves.

    How bout telling FAKE MJ to …..PASS THE FRIGGIN BALL …..ahahahahahahaha !!!

    Dude has built several condominium highrise buildings, with all the BRICKS he’s throwing at the rim !

    3rd game in a row, dude shooting 30% ! But shift the blame elsewhere…this time it’s Gasol.

    You got a ball hawk, shooting 25-30 times a game….shooting 30%…..YOU GONNA LOSE EVERNIGHT!

    But don’t acknowledge the obvious….more laughs for me….AHAHAHAHhahahaha

  7. bougin89 - Jan 22, 2013 at 9:45 AM

    Anyone else find it ironic that when the Lakers finally have Nash, Kobe, Gasol, and Howard “healthy” that Kobe is taking more and missing even more shots than ever? Clearly having Kobe shoot 30 times a game when you have so many other talented offensive options is not the answer. What a train wreck.

    • skids003 - Jan 22, 2013 at 10:40 AM

      Typical Kurt. No mention of Kobe and his brick firing 30 times a agame. They need offensive rebounders, or they are doomed. The great Kobe just can’t help himself, he’s a gunner, and not shooting very well.

    • mazblast - Jan 22, 2013 at 10:52 AM

      KoMe took “only” 22 shots last night. That’s the good news. The bad news (if you’re a Lakers fan) is that he made only 7 of them.

  8. daddyghi - Jan 22, 2013 at 9:51 AM

    i would say this again…. Trade kobe! ;-p

    • zerole00 - Jan 22, 2013 at 10:36 AM

      He’s not getting traded unless he wants to be, his contract is ironclad in that regard.

      • daddyghi - Jan 22, 2013 at 10:56 AM

        well… goodluck to the lakers then…

    • florida727 - Jan 22, 2013 at 11:24 AM

      The problem with the whole “trade Kobe” mentality is the same as Chicago fans have with the trade Boozer sentiments… who’d want them? I’m not a Kobe fan or hater, but if I look at it practically, would I, as another team’s GM, want him considering his contract, his age, his ego, etc? Short answer: no. Hard to say that a team like the Lakers are “stuck” with a player of his skill level, but in essence, that’s exactly where they are. They’d have trouble getting rid of him at this point.

  9. themagicfanguy - Jan 22, 2013 at 10:15 AM

    They should have hired Sloan.

  10. zerole00 - Jan 22, 2013 at 10:30 AM

    And this guys is a team that’s completely opposite of the Spurs. This is what happens when people can’t keep their egos in check.

    • mazblast - Jan 22, 2013 at 11:00 AM

      It’s LA. It’s all about face time, stroking one’s ego, and having it stroked. One of the things I admired about the “Showtime” Lakers was the presence of guys who knew their place as role players and didn’t need constant reinforcement of their self-image, guys like Green, Cooper, and Rambis.

  11. davidly - Jan 22, 2013 at 10:34 AM

    Like many a wayward production in Hollywood this is not the script the All-Star big men thought they had signed up to shoot.

    Kind of like that last Star Wars movie, eh Kurt?

    • Kurt Helin - Jan 22, 2013 at 8:10 PM

      Maybe the last three of them.

  12. metalhead65 - Jan 22, 2013 at 10:51 AM

    here’s a novel concept for these over paid cry babies,how about you shut up and do what the coach tells you to? the game you play is your job and the coach is your boss . be like the rest of us working stiffs who hate their boss but half to put up with him anyway. the difference is you get paid millions of dollars to yours so shut up already!

    • jimeejohnson - Jan 22, 2013 at 12:34 PM

      Look at your head before it explodes! The grammar and punctuation police are onto you. Question authority, rather than serving rich masters as a useful-idiot right wing pawn. Keep the Kleenex handy just in case your head explodes.

      • metalhead65 - Jan 22, 2013 at 12:42 PM

        better than being a left wing tree hugging hippie. how much are you getting from the obama give me everything so I do not have to work and earn it team?

      • progress2011 - Jan 22, 2013 at 11:44 PM

        AHAHAHAHHA….I see from your comments, why you named yourself “metalhead” !

        No logical education, theory, conjecture or rationalization is gonna penetrate that noggin !!!!

        Keep talkin…so the rest of us can have a DOOFUS to laugh at !!!!

  13. gmsingh - Jan 22, 2013 at 10:55 AM

    Everything in the media is about the Lakers “failures”. How about the fact that they lost to one of the best coached teams in the NBA?

  14. mazblast - Jan 22, 2013 at 10:56 AM

    What the people who are saying, “Trade KoMe”, “Trade Gasol”, “Trade Howard”, “Trade Nash”, are forgetting is that, NTCs if any aside, in order to make a deal someone else has to want the guys and their contracts.

  15. chitownmatt - Jan 22, 2013 at 11:19 AM

    D’Antoni, in LA might go down in history as the worst coaching choice ever, followed closely by D’Antoni in NY.

    • LPad - Jan 22, 2013 at 12:28 PM

      Well in fairness to the Lakers front office, it’ll only be the second worst coaching choice ever next year when some team decides to give D’Antoni another job.

      • badintent - Jan 22, 2013 at 6:35 PM

        once again SOMEWHERE Mike Brown is shaking his head and laughing at another LA headline. Maybe when Phil gets the Seattle GM job, he’ll hire Brown just to talk about the good olde days when Kebi could pass the ball to Shaq 10 times a game.

  16. bucs24 - Jan 22, 2013 at 11:20 AM

    Well the plus side Howard will be gone next year,Pau will be traded, Kobe will close to retire or trade for picks they have a lot of Cap so keep the great coach they have cause he is doing great NOT and than the buss family can go cheap and suck for the rest of time congrats on that lakers

  17. loungefly74 - Jan 22, 2013 at 12:23 PM

    please make it stop! aggghhhh!

  18. fanofthegame79 - Jan 22, 2013 at 12:31 PM

    Here’s an interesting idea. What if the Miami Heat traded Chris Bosh to the Lakers for Dwight Howard? The salaries have to be close…and both would benefit from the deal: the Lakers could keep Pau Gasol who has been their acting center for the last 3-4 seasons and won 2 championships as their center. The Lakers would get more of a shooting big man in Bosh. The Heat would get Howard who would thrive with Wade and LeBron – and it would help the Heat with the rebounding and “lack of a center” problem. I really think it is a win-win situation for both teams…

    • jimeejohnson - Jan 22, 2013 at 12:38 PM

      That would certainly heighten the interstate Orlando/Miami rivalry. Question is: would David Stern, alias Dr. Evil, approve of it.

    • LPad - Jan 22, 2013 at 12:52 PM

      It doesn’t matter. D’Antoni wouldn’t play Bosh and Pau together. They really should try to trade Pau or Dwight for Ryan Anderson in New Orleans. Maybe they can get Eric Gordon as well since he doesn’t want to be there. I doubt the cap numbers would work, but that’s there only option.

    • biasedhomer - Jan 22, 2013 at 1:12 PM

      Doubt Miami does this since they probably can’t resign Dwight unless he does not take a max contract.

      If anything, it would be Bosh for Pau.

    • eventhorizon04 - Jan 22, 2013 at 1:21 PM

      That move helps the Lakers offense (Bosh being a stretch-4/5 fits D’Antoni’s system perfectly) but hurts their defense enormously (Bosh has improved defensively in Miami, but is nowhere near the level of Howard when it comes to shot-blocking and rebounding).

  19. caeser12 - Jan 22, 2013 at 1:37 PM

    I know that our Country is 32nd in the World in Math, but anyone care to guess what the common denominator of Pau and Dwights frustration is.

    Pau’s frustration + Dwight’s frustration+Lack of Defense x not enough touches in the paint=_________.

    Answer on page 17-24

    • progress2011 - Jan 22, 2013 at 11:57 PM

      Nicely put Caeser….BUT you probably lost most FAKER fans with “common denominator” .

      ahahahah….they are dumb as a box of rocks if they can;t figure out, that a guy is taking more shots than the other 3 stars on the team COMBINED !!!

      And the past 3 games, he’s taken all the shots but only shooting 30% in all 3 games !!!

      That’s not the problem….ahahahah

  20. lakerwoman - Jan 22, 2013 at 8:50 PM

    D’Antoni needs to be fired.

  21. abchome - Jan 22, 2013 at 9:51 PM

    The best reality show for years.

  22. omniusprime - Jan 23, 2013 at 9:32 AM

    Kurt the biggest problem the Lakers have is Dumbtoni and his too rigid adherence to his losing system. It was sheer obstinance that caused the little idiot buss boy to hire Dumbtoni instead of waiting for that second interview with Phil Jackson. He’s trying to do things his way instead of following the winning formula his Dad used.

    The Lakers have great players except for Ancient Nash, he is the one who most needs to be traded away. The Lakers needed a young point guard and look at the ancient piece of garbage Kupcake brought us. Nash has been a liability on offense but mostly on defense, which he never plays.

    As long as Dumbtoni and Nash are on the team I am going to root for my beloved Lakers to lose every game in hopes that Kobe will blow up and demand Dumbtoni be fired or Kobe traded away. It looks like that’s the only option left for hoping the Lakers get better.

    Fire Dumbtoni!!! Trade Away Nash!!! We Want Gasol!!!

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