With Pau Or Not, L.A. Has PF Problems





HANGTIME SOUTHWEST – Even the Lakers’ problems have problems.

That laundry list for a slip-sliding-away 9-14 ballclub start in a number of places (like half-court and transition defense), but one mounting issue that must be addressed is the power forward position. There’s the post-4 in Pau Gasol, who had become increasingly benched and depressed, not to mention awkwardly vocal about the volume of jump shots he was being asked to hoist working off the elbow in Mike D’Antoni‘s offense. The 7-footer is far more comfortable, as he has made it known and has shown throughout his career, working out of the block.

Then there’s the stretch-4 in Antawn Jamison, a more prototypical D’Antoni 4 if not for being 36 and a loose defender. Jamison acknowledged having to think through the previous regime’s Princeton offense, and he was giddy as a school kid at recess thinking about not having to think and just flow under D’Antoni.

“They [Lakers coaches] sat down and told me, like, you can almost be like Shawn Marion was to the offense [in Phoenix],” Jamison said last week before the Lakers lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder, the start of the four-game skid they drag into woeful Washington on Friday night. “He was a guy who was able to knock down open jump shots and also pick-and-roll, slipping to the basket, find his way around the basket and getting shots there, and those are types of things that I do.”

Jamison went about his business of channeling Marion when Gasol first was sitting out with knee tendinitis, scoring at least 15 points in five of seven games. He put up 16 points and seven rebounds against Memphis, 19 and 15 at Dallas, 33 and 12 against Denver and 15 and 10 at Houston.

That made Jamison itch with anticipation of getting Steve Nash back.

“I can’t wait,” Jamison said. “As an opponent, it killed me to see him in that pick-and-roll action. You’re going to pick-and-roll with Dwight [Howard] and what are defenses going to do? They help on Dwight; I’ve just go to sit there and lace ‘em up and be comfortable.”

Since that first burst, though, Jamison has again become less Marion and more mediocre. Over the last four losses, he has a total of 24 points and 15 rebounds. Jordan Hill got a surprise start over Jamison two games ago in the disgraceful loss at Cleveland. Hill laid an egg in Cleveland, though, so Jamison returned to the starting unit Thursday night at New York.

He finished with three points and six rebounds in 22 minutes.

Gasol’s return is still uncertain, but when he comes back, D’Antoni would be wise to cater to the cerebral big fella. And Gasol will have to accept his evolving role as more of a jump shooter, particularly when he shares the floor with Howard. The new system already has messed with Gasol’s head. D’Antoni piled on his insecurities by benching the easily distracted Gasol twice in fourth quarters.

“He’s got to adapt a little bit in his game because we’ve got a different system, but he’s able to,”  D’Antoni said last week of Gasol. “The guy’s so talented, I just don’t think he felt real well to be able to play as well …  He’ll feel better, he’ll play better, we’ll play better for him, but again somebody that big, that talented, that good, has won two titles, so it shouldn’t be any question about his character or how he plays. I won’t question that, that’s for sure.

“It’s just we need to integrate him a little bit better.”

That means allowing Gasol and Howard to operate out of their comfort zones down low.

“We know how to post-up,” Howard said. “We have to run to the block to get the ball on the post and we do that. But we have to initiate whatever we want.”

At some point, perhaps in the next week or two, Nash will return, and so will Gasol, and the Lakers might look a whole lot different. But nothing will change if a player believes the system is squeezing out his strengths, and if the coach seems only to be playing up his weaknesses.

“All of us can co-exist on this team. We just have to find a way to make it work,” Howard said last week. “It’s still early in the season, we have a lot of games to play. We can’t lose focus, we can’t get off track with what our goal is.

“Whatever we have to do for our team to win a championship, we have to do it, and we will. We just have to figure it out. It’s basketball.”

30 Comments

  1. Steve says:

    Gasol/amare trade doesn’t really matter. How about signing some other decent talent to back up the starters like the Clips did. Kenyon Martin, Q Richardson, Mike Redd and keep the ball rolling from there. Hill/Jameson/Meeks are the only ones to keep after the starting five. So with that in mind, maybe try a Bibby/Baron Davis experiment. Grab an Eddie Curry and after all that, Give the ZEN master what he wants and have D’Antoni learn from the last real true winning coach in the NBA other than Popovich and maybe they get a few more decent years out of Kobe and the crew they have there. When you a back-up crew like the ones they have, the starters feel like if they miss one shot the game is over.

  2. Pau/artest/ for Kevin Love & Williams says:

    Pau & artest/ for Kevin Love & Williams

  3. Pau/artest/ for Kevin Love & Williams says:

    Elliott Singleton
    December 14, 2012 at 9:43 pm
    Trade gasol for kevin love that way he can scretch the floor out for dwight down low trust me!!
    ————————————————————————————————————————————————————

    yes!

  4. killuabest says:

    Hey Santa..can I make a request.would you be so kind and get Mike D’Antoni and wrap him up with you in the North Pole. So that we laker fans will be merry this christmas and coming year. And give us PJax please..

    • dattebayo says:

      You’ll have your Christmas present, the Knicks will come into Staples and give you a show. The Lakers will lose again and continue their Christmas losing streak :D

  5. Kobe says:

    Here’s the fact: Laker is 1-11 when Kobe has more than 30 points. Ray Allen was right when saying that Kobe is the most selfish player. Playing around Kobe, the players seem hesitant to take shot. No wonder Kobe is the nBA leading scorer.

  6. Bok says:

    It’s not just PF, it’s the WHOLE BENCH. They just don’t have the right pieces, or coaching staff.

  7. Joshua Greenfarb says:

    How many coaching changes and Laker losses are going to be enough to convince some of you that the problem is not the coach. The problem is: the team is AVERAGE at best.

  8. Elliott Singleton says:

    Trade gasol for kevin love that way he can scretch the floor out for dwight down low trust me!!

    • dattebayo says:

      Right, maybe you can also convince Sam Presti to trade Durant for Artest and Jamison while you are at it…

  9. jfack says:

    just lazy most the time

  10. Tim says:

    I wish NBA allows to trade coachs, Mike D’antoni for Greg Pop haha.

  11. George says:

    fire d’Antoni and get a real coach (phil J) and let the Lakers play like the Lakers always did.

  12. J1S says:

    The Lakers will have trouble trading for a lot of talent for Gasol. All the trades that people have suggested are trades with contending teams and major players. If they were to trade him, which they shouldn’t, it would be best to trade for picks and make Jamison the permanent starter, and try to trade bench players for a legitimate 6th man.

  13. Ivan says:

    However, Amare would have trouble playing with a true center on the court in Howard. He’s mostly flourished when he was the center so he would probably hurt the lakers offense. Especially since his mid range game is not as good as Gasols.

  14. PdaDunker says:

    I’m dazzled. playing out of rheir comfort zones? Why woould anyone want to do that to his players? Play to their weaknesses that is. What did coach D’A achieve untill now? In NY..nothing..Phoenix..no rings.. LAL..won’t win either within this system.

  15. Mitchell says:

    Indeed the Lakers are better with Pau. I think it goes without saying, however their defensive is total garbage and the coach needs to recognise that immediately, I think he should be in panic mode and fix it. Even with a healthy Nash you wont out score the Thunder. Lakers need to stop opponents if they are to get far into the post season.

  16. dj rgm9 says:

    At least i have to say they should bin keeping Walton,i know he was a bench warmer but he can shoot 3’s that’s for sure!The perfect holltwood plot,oh my god!that’s hurting all real Lakersfans around the world.

    • Don't Trade Gasol says:

      this guy is a joke. do you know how much they were paying walton to warm the bench? they could’ve just bought a heater to warm up the bench instead. several million time cheaper!

    • LAL2013 says:

      Walton is a career .32.5% 3 point shooter. Walton was a waste of money. Maybe you must be a fan, but realistically the guy was not good for our team. Ever.

  17. Don't Trade Gasol says:

    “That means allowing Gasol and Howard to operate out of their comfort zones down low” I like this quote the most. Let Gasol be Gasol, Let DH be DH, let Kobe be Kobe, let Nash be Nash. Improve the bench and it’ll be better.

    But, the Lakers shouldve singed D. Fisher for backup PG, much better than Duhon and Morris, even better than Blake! He brings the calmness to the team and he knows how to slow down and control the pace of the game. All these PGs try to push the ball but all they do is give the ball right back into the opponent’s hands. They don’t make them. That’s a lost of a possession, not including the energy that Lakers’ old guys have to rush back. Even though when this happens, the old guys are only half way back, but it’s still wasted energies. All these little things add up and make them lose confident and trust in the PG.

    • roger says:

      They need to replace the Coach end of story. D’Antoni is a bad coach and if Nash had not saved him he would never even have a job in the NBA. The Lakers roster is fine as soon as Gasol, Nash and Blake come back as long as the Coach is not Mike D”Antoni.

  18. Travis says:

    OMG WHY WOULD YOU PLAY TO YOUR PLAYERS WEAKNESSES…..DEFINITION OF A TERRIBLE COACH!!!!

    • imlan says:

      that is why melo was an underachiever under d’antoni’s system. the coach wants all the players to play to his style instead of coaching the team to best fit his players strength.

    • Mitchell says:

      I think D’ antoni has only one style of coaching, so he has no choice but to allow them to play the way they do.

  19. Kamote says:

    Trade Pau for Amare then. Would despite age, injury histories etc, I think this should work for both teams.

    Amare knows how to play D’Antoni’s system, no need to defend much since DH was there (and I don’t think they care anyways haha). But Nash and Amare under D’Antoni might work wonders in LA. Might work with DH also since Amare can be swift enough to cut to the basket while DH is at the post.

    As for NY, Gasol is a great team player. Since playing with the NBA history’s greatest ballhog in Kobe, Gasol wouldn’t mind Melo having the ball most of the time. Could perfectly complement with Chandler as he would be the only threat at the post (except for Melo at times). This could actually help Chandler score more effeciently, as he can make backdoor cuts or concentrate on getting offensive rebounds as Melo and Pau become the focal point of NY’s offense.

    Both players aren’t working well with their teams anyway. Unfortunately for Pau, LA would really focus on utilizing DH as he is the projected LA main man after Kobe. And as for Amare, Melo is now taking NY into great heights, and they won’t let him disrupt that rhythm. Since both have big contracts anyway, might as well go through this experiment.