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

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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.