Pau Gasol is a unique talent in the NBA — he has the most polished, skilled post moves in the league with the ability to score with both hands going either direction, he also has a steady midrange game, and is a great passer if you want to have guys cutting off him while you get him the ball at the elbow.
He can hurt you a lot of ways, either as a center or power forward. But he is struggling to figure out how to do damage in Mike D’Antoni’s offense.
Gasol is a very smart, very self-aware guy, and he admitted to Mike Trudell of Lakers.com he is struggling but also thinks he can figure it out.
“I’ll try to get into the paint as much as I can, but also remind myself that (I need to) keep the floor spaced,” he said after Thursday’s practice. “I’m trying to figure it out….
“It can be difficult because every game is a bit different,” explained Gasol. “You have to adjust your defensive coverages depending on the team you are facing and what your match up is. You have to focus on whatever is going to benefit the team the most that night.”
Gasol is too smart a player not to figure out where he fits, but like last year’s Lakers where he is needed and fits may not play to his strengths. Last season the healthy presence of Andrew Bynum on the block forced Gasol to play more at the high post, more out of the paint, and his numbers suffered for it. He was good, but Mike Brown wasn’t using his strengths.
Mike D’Antoni needs to play to Gasol to his strengths, or the Lakers need to see if they can move him for a player that does fit their needs. They are not shopping him around right now (despite rumors) but that could change. And that too likely takes a toll on Gasol’s game.