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Pau Gasol expresses frustration with D’Antoni offense. Lakers have to think trade.

Dec 13, 2013, 12:25 PM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers v Denver Nuggets Getty Images

Pau Gasol just does not fit in Mike D’Antoni’s offense. And it shows.

In years past I’ve defended Gasol because one segment of Lakers fans were unnecessarily harsh on him because he didn’t play like Shaq — but how Gasol played was perfect for the triangle. The Lakers won back-to-back rings because of him, not in spite of him.

But he is a fish out of water in D’Antoni’s offense — he wants the ball in the post and that doesn’t fit. The result is Gasol shooting just 41.7 percent on the season, a career low by a wide margin. He’s playing passively. Look at what Gasol told Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times.

“The fact that I’m not getting the ball in the post affects directly my aggressiveness,” he said. “When I’m not getting the ball where I want to, where I’m most effective, where I can bang guys and utilize my skill, that affects my aggressiveness and overall intensity….

“This year hasn’t been ideal, certain things are not ideal for me, but that’s not going to change any time soon,” he said.

So what did D’Antoni say?

“I can’t lie to him… Our numbers tell us the worst thing we do is post up,” he said.

D’Antoni’s right. When the Los Angeles Lakers have thrown the ball in the post this season, they have shot just 34.6 percent on their shot attempts, scoring a paltry 0.67 points per possession. (Numbers via Synergy Sports.)

(What the Lakers do well is spot up shots — one in five Lakers attempts is a catch-and-shoot this season and they are hitting 40.1 percent from three and scoring 1.06 points per possession when they do it. Next most shot attempts are in transition, 11.7 percent of the team’s attempts, and the Lakers are shooting 56.8 percent on the break.)

So how is Gasol responding to this criticism?

“I don’t pay attention. Mike is sometimes all over the place, I don’t give much credit to things like that,” he said.

All of this has led to a listless run of play from Gasol, who is not playing with the energy he has in past years.

The Lakers simply need to look at moving Gasol — and Gasol said he would be open to that.

Los Angeles is not going to get back what Lakers’ fans hope — Gasol’s value is down right now and while he is an expiring deal only a limited number of teams want to touch his $19.3 million salary (or have something that size they can send back to the Lakers). All-Stars like Zach Randolph are not coming back to L.A. in a deal.

There is a market for Gasol if he is willing to take a pay cut next season — he is a very skilled big who can get $10 million plus a season for multiple years. He might fit well in Chicago if they amnesty Carlos Boozer. He has said he can picture himself next to his brother in Memphis and that slowed-down, post system could work well for him. There are plenty of other teams.

He sounds like a guy ready to move on, and if he is the Lakers have to see if they can get anything of value for him before it happens. It’s not like moving him is going to keep them from a title run this season.

  1. asimonetti88 - Dec 13, 2013 at 12:30 PM

    Gasol is too talented to be wasted in D’Antoni’s offense. When the Lakers won back-to-back championships, they could always count on solid play in the post. D’Antoni’s offense does not feature a lot of post play, and it’s not a coincidence he has not won a championship.

    • spthegr8 - Dec 13, 2013 at 1:27 PM

      While the Laker’s are playing solid right now, if you can’t fit a guy like Pau Gasol into your system. Your system has GOT to be Flawed like a ma f***a. I’m Just Sauing”!!!

      • spthegr8 - Dec 13, 2013 at 1:29 PM

        *saying*

    • pbtunpaidwriter - Dec 13, 2013 at 2:13 PM

      Dwight Howard doesn’t fit in his offense and everyone was saying Pau Gasol would fit perfectly in his offense and D’Antoni still can’t figure it out.

      What’s his excuse now?

      • JMClarkent - Dec 13, 2013 at 4:05 PM

        It would be amazing if they were able to make a trade with Houston and Gasol and Howard thrived together.

      • brookwell2013 - Dec 13, 2013 at 8:36 PM

        Spot on pbtunpaldwriter – D’Antoni has no excuses. He record speaks for itself. He’s never won anything, anywhere, ever. That’ll never change. He’s gone by June.

    • psung26 - Dec 13, 2013 at 2:23 PM

      There are two sides to every coin.

      As a Lakers fan who actaully follows the team game to game, Gasol is no longer that force from ’08-’10 and now a shell of himself. There’s a reason Phil Jackson in his final year uncharacteristically lost his cool and hit Gasol in the chest at the end of the ’11 playoffs against the Mavs. Gasol just couldn’t / wouldn’t man up.

      I find it amusing that outsiders who don’t follow the Lakers are still stuck in the past and think this is the same Gasol that was instrumental in bringing back to back championships to LA.

      • bougin89 - Dec 13, 2013 at 3:53 PM

        I agree with your take although Gasol did look amazing in the last Olympics just over a year ago. I think he still has the ability but maybe the fire isn’t burning for him anymore?

      • asimonetti88 - Dec 13, 2013 at 4:26 PM

        Have to agree with bougin, Pau looked very good in the Olympics last year. He is one of my favorite Lakers of all time and while he’s not the 28/29 year old beast that was on the championship teams, he’s still very skilled and is capable of producing at a higher level than he is right now. I just don’t think D’Antoni’s system is the answer for him (or for the team for that matter, but that’s another topic for another day).

      • psung26 - Dec 13, 2013 at 9:38 PM

        @bougin89 @asimonetti88 good comments!

      • redbaronx - Dec 18, 2013 at 12:03 PM

        @psung26 – I completely agree with you that people have overly high expectations of Gasol at this point in his career. The Olympics last year should not be the measuring bar. The international game favors Gasol’s game a lot more. The reality is that he plays in the NBA where the banging is rougher, and he’s got to bring it every other night on the schedule.

        Could he be better on another team like Memphis that walks it up the court? Sure. I just wouldn’t hold my breath on that making any significant difference! D’Antoni’s system is just a part of the problem. Not the whole problem. Age and lack of athleticism is the other!

    • antistratfordian - Dec 13, 2013 at 3:45 PM

      Thumbs up, Simonetti.

    • daddyghi - Dec 13, 2013 at 10:34 PM

      the lakers are stupid if they let go of Pau instead of D’antoni…

  2. vi3tguy415 - Dec 13, 2013 at 12:41 PM

    i like Gasol and do not like that dumb coach but comeone man, time to produce. this is a second year already and u still playing like a scrub. u had all this time to be effective even when kobe was out and you still didn’t do much. you should AT LEAST average 17 and 8 easily.

    • brianscalabrine - Dec 13, 2013 at 12:56 PM

      It’s hard to him to produce when a shot is taken 10 seconds into the possession and he can’t get on the court where he most effective. The reason he thrived in the triangle is that Phil always put him in a position where his skill set (passing, post up, passing out of double teams) would be utilized every possession.

    • asimonetti88 - Dec 13, 2013 at 12:58 PM

      He’s still averaging 14.4 PPG and 9.5 RPG, which is impressive considering how little he’s getting the ball in places that set him up to succeed.

      • 00maltliquor - Dec 13, 2013 at 3:46 PM

        AAND doing that in 29 min. per game!! These guys crack me up man, SMH.
        Gasol’s not even close to being toast.

      • unxpexted1 - Dec 13, 2013 at 4:24 PM

        @malt…I dont think he’s toast….but i dont think he’s motivated either

  3. nbascreed - Dec 13, 2013 at 1:01 PM

    This is where Kurt, D’antoni and all of the other people who have little understanding of big data miss the point.

    D’antoni’s “numbers” comment is disingenous at best and fraudelent at worst. He designed an offense (cuts, sets, shooters, skills, pace) that is the least conducive to successful post play and then offers the results of his offense as prima facie evidence that Pau is not effective in the post. Hogwash.

    A good data analyst would juxtapose Pau’s career post stats (whatever metric and data those are) with his numbers now and draw their own conclusions. Kurt would you agree with this?

    • Kurt Helin - Dec 13, 2013 at 7:44 PM

      D’Antoni’s system may make Pau uncomfortable, but the Sports VU cameras show Gasol gets 4.5 touches a game inside 8 feet, which is about what Duncan gets, but he is shooting just 35 percent on post ups. That’s on Gasol, too. As is the fact if you watch Gasol play his effort is not consistent at all. I think he is a bad fit for the system but he is pouting as well right now.

    • redbaronx - Dec 18, 2013 at 2:51 PM

      @nbascreed – ….and this is why stats should not be used to judge players current ability. You can take all the career stats you want, but that has nothing to do with where he is at physically and with his ability at this point in his career.

      The reason Pau isn’t as successful at this point is a combination of a system that doesn’t play to his strengths, and lack of aggressiveness from Gasol. Plus there’s probably a degree of declining physical capability. It’s very indicative with older players that play well one night and then don’t play well the next. That’s why most smart coaching staffs (like with Duncan and Kidd last year) gave them nights off on back to back games, and limit their minutes. D’Antoni is doing a decent job at limiting his minutes to 29 a game, but what Lakers staff are not doing is putting him in a position to be effective quickly in the post.

      Take Duncan for example. He’s doing a lot more quick turns to the hoop in the flow of receiving the pass so that defenses can’t adjust to him. He’s definitely slower than when he was younger, so taking advantage of the defense before they are set is important.

      I think the same goes with Pau and I think Pau is right when he says he would be better off closer to the bucket. It would be nice to see the coaching staff work on plays where Gasol can receive the pass while he is moving in the post towards the basket, and make use of his moment, or kick for a three much like San Antonio does with Duncan.

  4. doc305 - Dec 13, 2013 at 1:01 PM

    I hear Miami is shopping Joel Anthony…..

    • spthegr8 - Dec 13, 2013 at 1:32 PM

      ^^^^ Just Disrespectful and I for one am Offended ^^^^

      • 00maltliquor - Dec 13, 2013 at 3:47 PM

        HAAA!

  5. MyTeamsAllStink - Dec 13, 2013 at 1:15 PM

    trade him to Houston for Howard 😛

  6. riggz91 - Dec 13, 2013 at 1:21 PM

    Would a Gasol for Amare deal work? Pair Gasol and Bargnini together.

    • asimonetti88 - Dec 13, 2013 at 4:28 PM

      Why in the world would the Lakers want to do that?

  7. noahbird - Dec 13, 2013 at 1:30 PM

    Well, I see some big guys the Lakers could deal for in two previous posts.

  8. stadix093 - Dec 13, 2013 at 1:43 PM

    Somebody correct me if I’m completely wrong here, but isn’t this the exact same system that Amare flourished in? I know Gasol is hurt so that is going to be a factor but am I wrong? I am a Lakers fan and Pau looks just awful man.

    • chilid322 - Dec 13, 2013 at 5:00 PM

      Amare ain’t no spring chicken anymore, either…he’s a shell of the Stoudamire who played for Phoenix. What the Lakers DON’T need is another big man who plays no D. The way they’ve been playing, they might as well put runway lights down the lane & give their bigs those oversized ping-pong paddles & earmuff the airport ground crew uses.

      Wonder if we could package Pau, Nash & either Johnson or Young to Memphis for Pau’s brother (they probably never should’ve included him in the trade back in ’08 to begin with; but that’s just revisionist on my part)

      • redbaronx - Dec 18, 2013 at 12:20 PM

        @chilid322 – There’s no way that package would ever work. The two contracts of Pau and Nash together would squash any trade. I forget what the percentages are, but you have to have salary within a certain percentage (I think within 80%) if you are a team that has reached the salary cap (Lakers), and Pau + Nash is a HUGE chunk of money that very few teams would be able to match for a trade (such as Miami with LeBron…and you know that isn’t happening). Pau is making 19mil per and Nash is another 19mil. If I understand that correctly, any team trading with the Lakers would require 80% of 38mil in contracts. That means another team would have to put together players with 30 mil worth of contracts. That means top fight talent for two old players that no one would want as their cornerstone players.

    • spthegr8 - Dec 13, 2013 at 5:05 PM

      @Stadix
      You are right about, it being the same system………BUT, Amare was SOOOO good back then that, he would have made any system look good.

      P.S. & the Steve Nash we have now compared too the one from back then, around 06. Just Slightly different!!

      • stadix093 - Dec 13, 2013 at 7:46 PM

        Thanks for the answer man. I wasn’t comparing the two I was just curious if there was anything different between his system in Phoenix and his system here. I love Pau and hope the Lakers find a way to keep him forever. MDA needs to go.

  9. chargerdillon - Dec 13, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    Gasol > Anybody you’re going to trade him for.

    Either the issue is Gasol isn’t the player he once was or it’s D’antoni’s system…..OR BOTH.

    In this case I say both. The real problem I have with all this, is if you’re going to call a spade a spade and admit that Gasol’s game has weakened why can’t the same exact thing be said for Kobe. Blame Gasol for not being the same superstar and trade him for lesser talent, but give Kobe a big fat extension?

    From a GM standpoint, Mitch is acting like the biggest hypocrite on the planet.

    • unxpexted1 - Dec 13, 2013 at 2:40 PM

      I’m in the group that feels Kobe shouldn’t have gotten THAT big of an extension. But the difference is production and commitment. CLEARLY Gasol does not want to be there, same as last year really. I know he’s been hurt be he’s not commited to this team or the way he’s been utilized.

      Secondly, say what you want about Kobe, but the dude just scored 20 points on his second game back from a achilles injury. Rose took what, almost five games to break 20? Just saying, at least my man is producing and there is reason to believe he will be better moving forward. Gasol, in his games without Kobe, has gone down in production where he could be thriving.

      Guess its still Kobe fault that Pau doesn’t play welleven though when he’s not in?

      • chargerdillon - Dec 13, 2013 at 4:40 PM

        It’s not resigning Kobe I have a problem with. It’s the amount we resigned him for. Anybody who would have given him that same deal would have hamstrung their team much like the Lakers have just done.

        This day and age the legend of being a Laker does not exist and Dwight Howard proved that when he bailed.

        If the Lakers want serious players to come to LA again, they’re going to need a credible coach (which we don’t have) and opportunity for a player to become a superstar. Currently the only thing the best player in the league could be is an assistant in Kobe’s shadow.

        I love Kobe, but his ego will keep him from another ring.

    • JHathwell - Dec 13, 2013 at 2:45 PM

      one is the face of the franchise and with millions more than they are paying him and the other isn’t.

    • fiyeaglesfiy - Dec 13, 2013 at 5:15 PM

      …that’s just a dumb comment charger

  10. JHathwell - Dec 13, 2013 at 2:36 PM

    this is allot more about excuses than anything else. pau is having the worst year of his career, and instead of doing what he needs to do to make this work, he’s crying. if this were 2009 pau he might have a point but it isn’t.

    time to put your big boy pants on.

  11. 00maltliquor - Dec 13, 2013 at 3:50 PM

    This sucks man, this really sucks. Judging by Pau’s slick little comment, he’s not going to be around for long. Sad.

  12. demo3356 - Dec 13, 2013 at 5:43 PM

    Amare (similar contract) flourished in Dantoni’s system and plays great with Nash in the pick and Roll. Make the Knicks throw in something else and Pull the Trigger. Knicks are desperate for a big that can rebound and score in the post

  13. mackcarrington - Dec 13, 2013 at 6:50 PM

    Don’t know why in the world the Lakers hired D’Antoni as a coach.
    They should have known what his philosophy regarding big men was.
    All they were thinking about was Steve Nash. D’Antoni is not a championship caliber coach
    and he’s not going to come close to one in LA. He had his mind made up from the beginning
    that he couldn’t use Gasol and Howard in the post. Kobe isn’t the only reason Howard didn’t want to stay.
    D’Antoni is a stubborn fool. Gasol even said “D’Antoni is all over the place”. Unfortunately, Kobe’s last 2 years is going to be wasted with tis dork as head coach.

  14. sdlakerfan - Dec 13, 2013 at 7:46 PM

    Used to love Pau and still think he’s one of the classiest guy in bball. I cringe whenever he touches the ball now. Love the way the Lakers play when Kobe and Pau aren’t on the floor now. Great defense, hustle, and some athletic offense. Offense isn’t even Pau’s biggest issue. Neither Pau nor Kobe rise to the level of adequate on defense now. Not impressed with Kobe’s pathetic attempts at drawing the charge instead of playing tough D. Pau did look good in a few Olympic highlights but I didn’t see that much of him – did anyone else? Lower level of competition too. They need to amnesty Nash next yr. Likely need to Amnesty Kobe the following yr. Trade Pau for draft picks and a serviceable player. Time to reload.

  15. jheds10 - Dec 13, 2013 at 8:03 PM

    He should go to Orlando or Memphis, since the Grizzles are shopping Z-Bo, but probably won’t happen because I think NOP will take the trade Z-Bo for Ryan Anderson…but you never know

  16. au1978 - Dec 13, 2013 at 9:38 PM

    WAIT a minute…Dwight Howard leaves because he didn’t fit into D’Antoni’s offense and he’s denigrated as a coward. Gasol comes straight out and says D’Antoni’s offense sucks, and he’s a hero?

  17. mytthor - Dec 14, 2013 at 12:10 AM

    Seriously, everyone loves to jump on D’Antoni for this?!?!

    Gasol said he CAN’T be aggressive or play hard if he doesn’t get the ball in the post.

    He’s not even complaining about touches – he’s complaining that he’s getting the ball in the wrong spots?

    He’s the one who fades off the pick instead of rolling to the hoop. If you roll to the hoop you get to post up – and you get the ball on the move rather than letting the defense get ready for you.

    The bottom line is D’Antoni’s offense rewards people who play with energy and intensity. Gasol apparently can’t provide either, because he doesn’t like that he’s supposed to work around others, not the other way around.

    If you don’t want to play hard, and your next team doesn’t have a problem with that, good luck to you. The Lakers made Gasol a champion and he did the same for them. Seems like neither is willing to make the necessary sacrifices to make the other happy anymore. The team has to come first.

    Even Kobe has been more accommodating than Pau when it comes to the changes D’Antoni has instituted.

  18. talkingfan - Dec 14, 2013 at 1:51 AM

    Lakers if only you had a coach. It’s a waste, YYYYY!!!!!

  19. 24thesho - Dec 15, 2013 at 7:26 AM

    Ever since P.Gasol’s performance in the last game Phil Jackson ever coached (along with A. Bynum’s antics), he has been a no show most of the time. Of course when he played with Spain’s national team in the Olympics he was a much different player. D’Antoni’s unproven offensive schemes are no better; not sure what the deal was when Gasol and Howard were on the Lakers but clearly D’Antoni did not respect Gasol’s talent nor his past contributions to the Lakers 2 prior world championships. Clearly, D’Antoni is owed some personal favors because I can’t for the life of me understand how he continues to land these coaching jobs; with the Lakers, no less. He, D’Antoni is the “cancer”; his attitude, his philosophy, even his voice. He is a terrible coach and still has not figured out that “defense” needs to omnipresent in order to become a championship caliber team. Get rid of this guy, for the sake of the N.B.A. Hire Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the remainder of the season. I meant, you take a chance on D’Antoni but not on Kareem?!?? Not that Mr. Jabbar is even on the map as far as coaching rumors but he, Mr. Jabbar, has to be better and more inspiring that this fool.

  20. 1historian - Dec 15, 2013 at 9:40 AM

    FYI – I am a Celtics’ fan, therefore I hate the Lakers. I have no animosity toward them – I just hate them.

    There is trouble in lalaland – this is good. You have an aging (super) star whose best days are in the rearview mirror, you have his (aging) faithful sidekick who is pouting because the new offense doesn’t fit him so he seems to want to be traded, and you have a coach who doesn’t seem to know what he is doing.

    Life is good.

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