Los Angeles Lakers v Denver Nuggets

Mike D’Antoni to Pau Gasol: “There’s no reason to not play hard”


This has been evident for a while.

When we had Kevin Ding, the Lakers writer for Bleacher Report, on the PBT Podcast he said Gasol was getting his chance but just was not putting out the effort to take it. He said the frustration with Gasol this year was similar to Dwight Howard last season.

Now a day after Gasol expressed frustration at not being used more in the post D’Antoni fired back saying Gasol just has to try harder, as reported by Ramona Shelburne at ESPNLosAngeles.com.

Asked specifically about Gasol’s desire to be used more in the post, where he feels most comfortable and effective, D’Antoni said, “That’s one thing. If they just don’t want to do it that way, then you have to accept it or not. But there’s no reason to not play hard….

“He’ll get through it,” D’Antoni said of Gasol. “The message is the same to everybody: Just play hard, and we’ll figure it out. If you don’t play hard, it’s hard to figure out because you don’t know what works and what doesn’t. I think everybody has the same message, and we keep beating it in during practice. Every film session we show them what we want, and hopefully they’ll do it.”

D’Antoni went on to say if you are collecting a check you should play hard.

For the record, Gasol is getting 36.1 percent of his shot attempts out of post ups, but he is shooting just 35.2 percent on those (via Synergy Sports). If you want more post touches, you got to make the shots or the team has to go with what works.

That said, D’Antoni is a system coach and is not at all strong at fitting his offense around the talent he has. Gasol didn’t forget how to score in the post but he’s not comfortable with the touches he is getting there.

Ding also said in our PBT podcast he had been told there was almost no chance Gasol would be back with the Lakers next season. The only question on that front seems to be if Gasol will leave the Lakers this summer as a free agent or if they trade him before then.

We’ll see if they can work a deal, but it looks at this point like the Lakers would rather get him out of the locker room sooner rather than later.

Thabo Sefolosha’s lawyer: White police officer targeted black Hawks forward

Thabo Sefolosha
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NEW YORK (AP) — A lawyer representing a professional basketball player arrested outside a New York City nightclub has told a jury his client was targeted because he’s black.

Attorney Alex Spiro said Tuesday in Manhattan Criminal Court that a white police officer saw a black man in a hoodie when he confronted the Atlanta Hawks’ Thabo Sefolosha on April 8.

Sefolosha was arrested while leaving a Manhattan nightclub following a stabbing. He subsequently suffered a season-ending leg fracture after a confrontation with police.

A prosecutor said in opening statements that Sefolosha called an officer who repeatedly told him and others to leave a “midget.”

Sefolosha pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges. The Swiss citizen declined a plea deal from prosecutors.


DeMar DeRozan says he hates talking about free agency, takes pride in Raptors longevity

DeMar DeRozan
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DeMar DeRozan has a $10,050,000 player option for 2016-17. Given the rapidly escalating salary cap, it’s a practical certainty DeRozan will opt out and get a major raise.

But he says he doesn’t want to talk about it.

DeRozan, via Eric Koreen of the National Post:

“I hate that, honestly,” DeRozan said in a one-on-one interview. “I never speak about it. With me, I’ve always been that one player: I’ve been loyal. I’ve been every single thing you can think of here. I think people don’t understand how much pride I take in playing (in Toronto). A lot of times when I do get asked that, it kind of frustrates me.

“Everyday I wake up, I take pride in being the longest Raptor here. People bring up third or whatever in franchise scoring — there is so much stuff like that.”

This sounds awfully similar to LaMarcus Aldridge, who stated his desire last year to become the great Trail Blazer ever and then signed with the Spurs this summer.

Things change, and the impracticality of an extension ensures DeRozan will hit free agency. I believe he’s devoted to the Raptors right now, but his loyalty might change in the next nine months – especially once he sees contract offers from other suitors.

Toronto’s interest in DeRozan might fluctuate, too. He’s a nice player, but the Raptors haven’t won a playoff series with him despite winning the division the last two years. Depending how this season goes, Masai Ujiri might want to rework the roster significantly next summer, and letting DeRozan walk could create major cap space.

I believe DeRozan wants to return to the Raptors, and I believe they want to keep him. But so much can change between now and when both sides must make that call.