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It seems Phil Jackson wants a lot more out of Pau Gasol

56601117There rarely seems to be a day that goes by where Coach Phil Jackson isn't zinging Pau Gasol.

During his pre-training camp press conference, Jackson was asked an innocent question about how much Gasol's decision to sit out of the 2010 FIBA World Championship will do for him this season. Instead, Jackson poked fun at Gasol's busy travel schedule: "Pau was jumping over kids in India. What was he, ambassador for the world? Mr. Peace? He should start the Palestine-Israeli peace talks. Pau was everywhere, it seemed like, this summer. Hopefully he has rested and he's ready to play."

Jackson carried the barbs overseas when the team traveled to Europe for a pair of exhibition games. In Gasol's hometown! The appreciative homecoming crowd would've loved to hear gushing praise about their Barcelona hero from his head coach. Instead, Jackson playfully called Gasol out as the reason why the Lakers looked so sluggish in practice. "I had five guys miss the team bus this morning," Jackson told reporters. "I blame Pau for that, but we won't hold it against him. He took them out last night and showed them some of the sights of Barcelona. We got a little bit behind the eight-ball on this trip."

And after the Lakers' 98-95 victory Wednesday over the Sacramento Kings, Jackson hardly provided a good reference for Gasol's 18-point, 12-rebound performance on seven of 15 shooting. "He's still on vacation," Jackson told reporters. "His stats were better than I thought when I came and looked at the stat sheet. But I thought he missed some real easy shots."

So what gives?

Well, it's obvious Gasol is one of Jackson's favorite targets, as the Zen Master ribbed him on his acting in "CSI: Miami" and questioned his toughness during the rare poor performances. In turn, Gasol has put on a nonchalant front, though Jackson has still believed the comments irk him.

Jackson's latest public challenge entails what he expects out of Gasol beginning Saturday night at Staples Center in an exhibition game against the Denver Nuggets. Because of the team's back-to-back games, Jackson plans to play his starters heavy minutes tonight and then allow them more rest on Sunday. And with Andrew Bynum's absence as he continues to recover from surgery on his right knee, Gasol will command more attention inside. Also, considering Jackson's plans to limit Kobe Bryant to under 24 minutes, Jackson told reporters after the Lakers' win against the Kings that Gasol has "got to be the next guy in line."

"I don't know. I didn't know that," Gasol said when told of Jackson's recent comments. "I didn't hear any of those comments. I didn't pay any attention to that. I always adjust to the team needs."

Jackson's psychology with Gasol goes beyond needling him for his four of eight from the line against Sacramento and missing a few easy shots. You also have to consider these comments address more than just preseason because, frankly, the preseason doesn't matter. Jackson seems to be laying the ground work for what might be an unfortunate reality that Bynum may not return as late as December, and it's uncertain when Bryant will feel fully healed from surgery on his right knee. That means not only does Gasol need to post the normally consistent numbers he usually does, he has to be prepared to carry the team. That means he'll need to have more than 15 field-goal attempts even if the interior defense doesn't have to worry about another seven-footer.

"The more we play together, the better," Gasol said of his relationship with Bynum. "The less we play, the less accustomed we'll be to each other. When we play together out there, it's a big lineup. It takes time to get used to even though we're good basketball players. When you play quality players next to you, it makes the game easier. It does change the spacing a little bit and habits a little bit."

Gasol has been in this position already. No doubt Bynum's presence during the NBA Finals gave the Lakers easy baskets and rebounds, a stronger defensive rotation and matchup problems. Because of Bynum's limitation with the torn cartilage in his right knee and Lamar Odom's disappearing act, Gasol carried a heavy load inside during the Finals. But as far as leading a team? Gasol led the Lakers with 18.4 points per game during their 4-1 mark when Bryant nursed a sprained left ankle. But consider the rest of the Lakers' offense in Bynum (17.4 points per game in two appearances, missing three games because of a sore right hip), Ron Artest (14.4), Odom (14.6), and Shannon Brown (14.6). Obviously the Lakers benefit when the team plays as a unit and collectively feels involved. Surely the Lakers will also field various lineup combinations during the exhibition contests. But the call for Gasol to lead the team in case Bynum and/or Bryant are out or limited during the early part of the regular season would require something more.

"If Andrew were healthier, there's no doubt I'd be playing less this preseason. I'd be playing less also [in the regular season] a few minutes here and there. At the end of the year, I don't know if it's a big change or difference. We'll see."

-- Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Lakers forward Pau Gasol is expected to play heavy minutes in Saturday night's exhibition game against the Denver Nuggets. Credit: Lluis Gene / AFP / Getty Images

Comments () | Archives (29)

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PG's gonna have an epic season. All-Star Starter? I definitely think he has taken the crown of best PF in the West. Get those free throws into the low 80%'s this season Pau! Salud!

Honestly, Pau doesn't strike me much as the kind of guy who would allow that kind of needling (intended or not) to get to him. Also, I have a hard time questioning the motives of a guy like Phil Jackson.

Pau looks tired (of PJ's jabs?) in the video.

I agree with Jefe101, Pau looks pretty self motivated, he doesn't appear to be the kind of guy that needs Phil's needles to get him going. But who's to question 11 rings - not I...

- - -

CaliPhilosopher: I hear you on Bermuda, I'd join ya there in a heartbeat. BTW what's the weather like in London?


RIP...Larry Siegfried

Outstanding role player...contributed to five Celtic titles {`64-`69}...averaged between 12-14 pts. each year from `65-`70....twice led NBA in FT%.

He will be missed.

If Philip really wants more out of The Spaniard than he has gotten out of him the last two championship runs, then he must be serious about a three-peat. Granted, Pau sat 17 games last practice season with a couple of hammys and seemed a bit worn out for some of the playoff games, but like 2009, he came up huge when it counted!

Ah the Zen Master!

Man - didn't hear about Larry Siegried. A Celtic, but Ziggy will be missed.

Obviously, in PJ's eyes, Pau is the pivotal player on the frontcourt, and has not reached his full potential. Phil continues to challenge Pau because his skill set is the best in the league at the power forward position. Phil's zings are intended to stimulate Pau's mental toughness and killer instinct. If Pau embraces the challenge and decides to dominate the paint both offensively and defensively, this could be the best season for Gasol yet.

Laker J - I agree with your assessment. Pau's stellar, and his killer attitude/take charge-ness has improved with the Lakers (and Kobe's inspiration), but he could still take it up a notch, be more "voracious," more demanding of attention.

Truly great "seconds" know when to take charge (Pippen with MJ, Worthy with Magic, the trade-off between West & Baylor, etc. - we saw Fish do it in the Finals); PJ wants Pau to strike fear into the hearts of the opposition the moment they think they have Kobe contained. Suddenly, it's "dang... now HE'S gone crazy?!"

No taking away Gasol's talents and what he brings to the team, but I'm with PJ on this. Because the game comes so easily to him, Gasol often strikes me as passive and just doing his thing. With Bynum and Kobe not able to contribute what the team needs, here's Pau's chance to bring it all every time.

Pau could be a 25 and 15 player every night if he'd just recognize what the team needs. He's got it in him.

I'm glad to see PJ raising the bar. Everyone on the team needs to answer the call. I heard Shannon Brown on the radio the other day say that the coaches want him to be more aggressive. Why do you need your coach to tell you that?

The 3-peat is not an automatic. Let's see some life in this team, starting tonight.

Everytime a former Celtic dies a troll is born.

There is a smoldering intensity that belies Pau Gasol - when Pau gets it going, he is a hammer of the Gods, driving our ship to new lands. Pau, this one's for you!
He truly is el jefe mas fuerte!

It's hard to argue with Phil's methods when you consider his results. He is unquestionably the best at getting the most out of elite athletes. I agree with those who say that he is mentally molding Pau's approach for the long season. Reason? I think he's genuinely worried not just about Bynum, but now Kobe too. With Bynum out and Kobe sub-par, who else can carry the team through the early part of the season?

So as good as Pau already is, and as much as Phil genuinely likes and appreciates Pau, this is clearly Phil's way of saying that he needs Pau to rise to an even higher level. Phil is already calculating how many wins he's going to need at playoff time for homecourt advantage. And he senses that unless Pau steps up to this new level, the Lakers may (and probably will) lose too many early in the season while Kobe gets back his mojo.

Phil also knows that Pau is smart enough to realize that this is the real reason for the mind-molding. (Sorry, MM, it's not "needling".)

Rick - "I heard Shannon Brown on the radio the other day say that the coaches want him to be more aggressive. Why do you need your coach to tell you that?"

I'm with you, but then Shannon worries me sometimes. He hasn't learned yet not to dribble so much? I'm glad his outside shot is going down better, and hope it continues, but he still needs to find his real role in the offense (that doesn't include dribbling so much). I think Steve Blake'll help out a lot.

AndTheJellosJigglin - "Everytime a former Celtic dies a troll is born."

With all respect for the passing of anyone, Celtic/Lakers, anyone - it's a sad thing, and my thoughts go to their families, and the fact that it's a very morbid thing you wrote... still: it cracked me up. Maybe I need to worry about my sense of humor, or my sanity. Or both!

AndTheJellosJigglin: "Everytime a former Celtic dies a troll is born."
Am I gonna go to hell admitting to ROFL at that comment? I'll avoid any tempting fate any further and stay away from any Siegfried & Roy references...

R.I.P. Larry Siegrfried

- - -

63 Footer: (from last blog page) I remember when Kobe first came to the Lakers, he said that his goal was to become the best player ever. No rookie would say that, they'd talk about fitting in, getting game time, learning from the vets, adjusting to the league and whatnot - but never did I hear another player that young ever state their goal was to be the GOAT.

So, Kobe had that as a goal, not smaller goals that a more average/mundane player might have. It goes with what you are saying, the greats - all-timers - they have greatness in their nature, their DNA. That helps fuel their competitiveness, their fire.

We saw it in Kobe in the slam-dunk contest, when I forget what player messed up a dunk, Kobe cheered. Even the announcers got on him for that, but Kobe's competitive nature came out. MJ, Magic and Bird are three of the most competitive people, and it fueled them to greatness. I think Kevin Durant has that, he answered a question at the FIBA's that he wants to be one of the greatest ever. lebron? The jury's still out.

All too many of the greats have a certain cockiness though, an arrogance which is fine when they are playing, but when their careers are over, it spills over into bitterness. Wilt was so up-front about it, it was almost a funny/endearing quality about him. He'd so much bash the modern players it was comical. But Jordan has a more sour grapes note to his whines, the type that made his HOF speech so bad.

When all is said and done, it's best to hold back on commenting - let the comments be said by others. If you want to trumpet your stats and achievements, fine, but draw the line at degrading other players. When Jordan said Kobe was probably in the top-10 guards, I didn't really take it as an insult, but he full-well knows that Kobe will go down as one of the finest - if the greatest - guard/player ever...


CyberCosmiX - I agree, it's not pretty, but they ALL do it to some extent (even if they should keep their mouths shut). Right now it's MJ's turn (again).

Actually, the only guy I met that didn't really do that (that I could see) was Marcus Allen. He was always pretty content and confident with what he did. Granted, he was good buds with OJ (who was the opposite: could NEVER let it go, and look where that got him), but he was always mellow about it.


We will never forget your 2 FT`s {points # 106 & # 107 for the Celts} in their 108-106 victory over the Lakers, in Game 7 of the 1969 Finals.

The night the balloons stayed in the rafters!

I think Gasol is PJ's Robert Horry, someone he feels comfortable razzing, but als someone he really expects to come up big when the team needs him. I think Pippen filled that same role with the Bulls, but I could be wrong. One of the players on each of PJ's teams gets it from him, but it's a lways an odd player imo. It's never the star, but never a weak-minded player either.

Who knows


Everytime a former Celtic dies a troll is born.

Posted by: AndTheJellosJigglin | October 16, 2010 at 09:49 AM

Yes, it's true. The good lord always replaces what he takes with something similar. I suspect that vanishing Celtics also cause an increase in landfills, bat guano, unused attipose tissue and copies of Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged"

This reminds me of that Dylan song, "The Ballad of Hollis Brown."

"Your grass is turning black
There's no water in your well
Your grass is turning black
There's no water in your well
Your spent your last lone dollar
On seven shotgun shels.

There's seven breezes a-blowin'
All around the cabin door
There's seven breezes a-blowin'
All around the cabin door
Seven shots ring out
Like the ocean's pounding roar.

There's seven people dead
On a south Dakota farm
There's seven people dead
On a south Dakota farm
Somewhere in the distance
There's seven new people born."

Hmmm. Spooky.


Hey Phred and Justa,

Your "Dr No" star is going to be in the the two new "Hobbit" films. This should be good, though I am one of the rare Tolkein fans who doesn't like the Hobbit bood too much. There was way too many broing dialogue scenes for me, but maybe if Peter Jackson increases and fattens the Gollum role we might have a good film on our hands.

He's playing one of the wizzards I can't remember even being in the book.


It is funny to me how there have been no trolls here for weeeeks on end and then a human dies (that happened to be a Celtick), and poof theres a troll telling us about it. Why would you come on here for that? Talk about morbid. Should we place more value on his life because he made 2 free throws at the end of a G7? Was he even a good person? Am I going to "hell" because I dont care?

"F*ck Armigeddon, This is Hell."

"why do we pity the dead?
are you churned by emotion from voices in your head?
(are you scared of the logic that swirls within your head)
look at all the living and you'll ask yourself why
oh why do we
pity the dead?
pity the dead!" -Bad Religion

Celebrate life!

CyberCosmiX -

Weather is generally cold and cloudy. It was pretty sunny today (by London's standards), so I took a few pictures. Strangely enough, it rained today for about 8 minutes, and then completely dried up.

To compare, London reminds me of San Francisco, albeit with funny accents and people who drive on the wrong side of the road. :-)

i think the Lakers are a pretty brutal team, smacktalk-wise behind the scenes. it starts at the top. Phil's smack is never meant to be hateful, though. it's his job, to be pops. Dad's always cracking with the embarrassing barbs, and then he raises a fine man like himself. of course, the people on the team are already men, but you get the metaphor.

actually, it's the reporters who are the most disgusting. they're like little brats in the school yard, or overly gossipy women. the moment they hear something, they go up to everybody who might be involved and say "oooh, did you hear what he said? whatchoo gonna do about it?". that and the leading questions asked by guys like Jim Hill(you know, the kind that have only one answer and prove the asker's opinion just by the question being asked) have to be the most annoying thing about hearing about what Phil said. the problem is there aren't any real stories and worse, story tellers.

of course Phil wants more from Pau! who wouldn't? that guy has some more to give, as good as he is...

@Wes. I wouldn't give them that much credit, bat guano is actually very useful and not that stinky.

My take on Phil's motivational tactics is that it actually works on Pau. Pau is very secure and confident about his capabilities. But as you can see in the video, Pau gets irritated by Phil's comments because he feels it disrespects him, especially considering his stature. Pau had admitted last season that sometimes to get motivated he would read clips saying how soft he is and I think this is the same case. Phil shared an anecdote last season where a few days after he described Pau's game as soft, he went on a tear the next game and kept staring back at Phil as he'd go toward the end of the court to play defense. Another part of Phil's tests is he will actually respect you more if you show you're not afraid to disagree with him. Kobe's obviously done that. Even though I thought Artest's Twitter vent last season was misguided, Jackson seemed to show him more respect although he still gets the needle. And Lamar would always say Phil always says things about me, I don't care and now Phil is crediting him for his conditioning. So that's part of the process. Pau has always been very consistent but Phil sees that potential for that next step. The team dynamic has been fine with where he is now, but Phil wants to mentally prepare Pau in case Bynum and/or Bryant aren't fully healthy once the season starts


Also we got a new post up. Today I can actually say that the RCOTD is the Rick Friedman award lol


If Chuck had either Gasol/Odom/Bynum or even Ray Allen/Paul Pierce flanking him and facing a 3/4 full strength Laker squad he would have a title too. He only went to 1 Finals and that's a testament of the tough Western Conference then with Payton's Supersonics/Robinson's Spurs/Stockton and Malone's Jazz/and Hakeem's Rockets. Then in 96 comes O'Neal and rookie Bryant to the Lakers.

Malone won his MVP at the age of 34.......lets see KG play at high all-around level next year!

Ewings Knicks were the Bad Boy Pistons of the 90's. Not as strong as the Pistons were but pretty damn good considering they also had to contend with Flagrant Fouls while the Pistons got away with knocking down players.

Here's a clip to refreshen your memory you might like it because it involves Celtics getting hurt actually:

And if you really think that today's game is more phsyical. With all due respect you have these people to disagree with:

[Asked in July if he could defend Jordan under today’s interpretation of the rules, Dumars first laughed, then offered a long pause before replying, “It would have been virtually impossible to defend Michael Jordan based on the way the game’s being called right now.”]

[“It’s more difficult now to guard the quick wing player who can handle the ball,” (Rod)Thorn said of the change. “I think it helps skilled players over someone who just has strength or toughness. What the NBA is trying to do is promote unimpeded movement for dribblers or cutters.”]

[Winter acknowledges the outgrowth of the new rules interpretation is the rise of the super dominant offensive player, led by Wade’s performance in the NBA Finals and Bryant’s string of 40-, 50, even 60-point games during the regular season.

“It’s brought all these 40-point scorers,” Winter said. “They can’t score 40 points unless they get 15-20 free throws.”

And that’s exactly what they were getting on their big nights.

“They should be protected, but not that much,” Winter said of the current generation of talented offensive players. “I don’t think that just touching a player should be a foul.”

Yet there were key foul calls in the playoffs last year that came down to touch calls, which in turn sent the offensive player to the line for bonus points that ultimately decided games.

Ironically, this attempt to pick up scoring also slowed the pace of NBA games last year because numerous foul calls mean a parade of free throws on many game nights, Winter said.

“The fans are not going to like that whistle blowing all the time. It’s slowed down the pace of the game.”]

All in:

["I'd like for us to go back to the old rules," Bryant said. "Get rid of the 'crutch defense,' known as the zone defense, and have guys guard man-to-man and stuff like that [and allow] hand checking and all that. I think that's better basketball."]

[But as far as staying in front of him or trying to be physical with him? You can't do it anymore.]

-Derek Fisher interview with KBros April 2009

So why should I still be convinced that today's defense are more physical than previous ones?

Oh another thing MVP888,

I was more of a Reggie Miller fan in the 90's not an MJ fan. I LOVED how Reggie always talked smack to Spike even though living in NY then (lived in Midtown Manhatten) didn't earn me many friends then.

I still have that New York Daily News that says "Thanks a lot Spike" even though it isn't as good quality as Spike's copy was (he framed his).


I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that your favorite movie is "Hot Tub Time Machine" because you just can't seem to let go of the 80's. It's time to throw away that florescent sweat shirt and tapered jeans and join the new millennium.

FYI - Blue Rays are better than VHS tapes, IPods are better than Walkmen, and today's defenses are better than defenses in the 80's. Live with it, and carry on.


Note: Hot Tub Time Machine is actually really good.



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