The Lakers, at 17-22, continue to have their problems this season and we’re not all that sure if they can recover from this swoon just in time to make the playoffs, let alone win the championship. They have gone through coaching changes, a multitude of injuries, and many disagreements in terms of play. The drama continues in Hollywood.
And there’s more drama, too. Pau Gasol recently returned to the Lakers, after suffering a concussion that knocked him out for five games. Gasol came off the bench as he was still rusty. It’s also no secret that Gasol has been trying to adjust to Mike D’Antoni’s offense, even talking about it one night at dinner.
D’Antoni has hinted about bringing Gasol off the bench for a few more games. Gasol was approached about this by Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times and this is what he had to say about coming off the bench in the long-term.
“I’ve been a starter my entire career. I think this is my first games as a Laker, coming from the bench,” said Gasol. “It’s not something that I would enjoy I think.”
Would he be open to coming off the bench moving forward?
“Probably not,” answered Gasol.
Probably not the best answer in this circumstance. Gasol has struggled to be on the floor with Howard this entire year because he can’t get on the post with both bigs on the court. And it’s not like he’s been shining on the court, either; in fact, one of the reasons why the Lakers are struggling is because of Pau Gasol’s play. Gasol is averaging a career-low 12.2 points per game and shooting .420 from the field, easily the worst of his career.
I can understand if Gasol has played well but he hasn’t. And I can see that if the Lakers bring him off the bench, when he doesn’t have to share the court with Dwight, it might actually benefit him and the team. It’s about egos at this point. And with Gasol, who earns $19 million this year, coming off the bench, why not just trade him for someone much cheaper and maybe just as effective?
Even still, Mike D’Antoni is pretty stubborn when it comes to his system and it feels like he has never been enamored with Gasol’s play. In the meantime, Gasol is pushing for his minutes, touches, and role on the court. Something may have to give here.
Right now, though, both player and coach have to compromise because, at the end of the day, it’s about winning. D’Antoni’s stubbornness with his system and Pau demanding more and more is not evidently working as they are still the 11th seed in the Western Conference.