Unless you haven’t noticed, it’s easy to see the Los Angeles Lakers’ Pau Gasol hasn’t been playing all that well the past couple of seasons and some believe the addition of Dwight Howard last year had a lot to do with that.
But once Howard left the team for the Houston Rockets, some believed it would open the door for Gasol to play better, since most of the low-post plays were designed around Howard’s ability to score in the paint. However that didn’t happen and Gasol continues to struggle, only shooting 41.7 percent this season, which is an all-time low for the 33-year old forward and occasional center.
And while the Lakers continue to play below 500, with a disappointing record of 10 and 12, Gasol decided to express his frustration about head Coach Mike D’Antoni and his chosen style of offense.
“The fact that I’m not getting the ball in the post affects directly my aggressiveness,” he told a Los Angeles Times reporter.
“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 for me,” he continued. “But that’s not going to change any time soon.”
Typically when a coach receives this kind of public undermining he addresses it behind team walls, but D’Antoni did the opposite and fired right back. “I can’t lie to him,” he said. “Our number tell us the worst thing we do is post up.”
And what was Gasol’s response to all of the negative feedback from fans and the press? “I don’t pay attention,” he declared. “Mike is sometimes all over the place. I don’t give much credit to things like that.”
Historically, D’Antoni hasn’t been much of a low-post kind of coach, as he usually favors either the run-and-gun style of basketball or perimeter play and Gasol’s comfort zone is on the block, playing close to the basket. Not only has he always been effective down there as a scorer, but he’s proven himself to be a great interior passer too, and that’s where the conflict lies.
But will all of this be resolved before the Laker’s fall into an even bigger hole or before Gasol and the organization part ways? It’s hard to tell, but there’s a good chance we might be seeing the talented 7 footer in a different uniform next season. Especially since he’s in the last year of his contract.