Lakers Now

Round-the-Clock Purple and Gold

« Previous Post | Lakers Now Home | Next Post »

Little clarity provided about Pau Gasol's role

January 24, 2012 |  2:37 pm

The Lakers' front line remains so talented that Pau Gasol roared something that the Orlando Magic might want to tack on its bulletin board.

"I don't think Dwight Howard is that much more talented," Gasol said, "than me and Andrew in the post."

Yet, when it came to talking with Coach Mike Brown about his hope to have more of a low-post presence than simply facilitating, Gasol suddenly became silent.

"I'll let the coaching staff make their own judgements and coach," Gasol said. That's what they're here for, they're here to coach and decide what's best for the team."

What that entails remains unclear.

With the Lakers (10-8) entering their game Wednesday against the Clippers, Brown remains just as vague on whether he'll restructure his offense so that the Lakers feature Gasol more in the offense. He only said that "depended on the flow of the game." Brown gushed about Gasol's ability to score in the post and facilitate, still remaining excited about his season-high 10 assists and zero turnovers in the Lakers' 98-96 loss Sunday to the Indiana Pacers. And when it came to determining whether Brown will add more sets featuring Gasol or simply have the offense react to how opponents are defending them, Brown mentioned it was a "combination of both."

It's not a leap of faith to read between the lines that if Gasol wants to have a larger role in the offense, he's going to have to ensure that on his own accord. Even if Brown said his meeting with General Manager Mitch Kupchak and Lakers guard Kobe Bryant had nothing to do with the state of the team, it still shows that's more important to him than talking to Gasol about his role in the offense.  Bryant, who didn't talk to reporters before Tuesday's practice, said after the Lakers' loss to Indiana that it proves difficult to give Gasol more touches because of Bynum's effectiveness.  And Bynum himself made it pretty clear he's not enthusiastic about suddenly becoming the team's facilitator.

"I haven't really gotten effective to learn to facilitate too much," Bynum said. "When I get my chances, I will try to use the best of my ability to get a basket."

So where does that leave the Lakers? Who knows, besides the fact that Gasol remains at least confident enough to express his frustrations after spending the past month simply showing appreciation the Lakers haven't traded him.

The importance of settling this goes beyond appeasing Gasol. The Lakers haven't scored 100 points for 11 consecutive games. They've made a league-worst 25.6% of their three-point shots. And though Kobe Bryant has led the league in scoring (30.6), Bynum remains inconsistent with battling double teams.  Meanwhile, Gasol has averaged 13.8 points on 40.8% shooting in the past five games, a steep dropoff from his career averages of 18.7 points per game on a 52.2% clip.

"That's always a very effective way to play this game," Gasol said regarding using him inside more.

Yet, Brown remains more consumed with the team's defense than how they're running his offense. So even if Gasol is justified in the Lakers not using his presence enough, he'd be better suited in adopting Bynum's mindset than remaining passive-aggressive about his standing in the team's pecking order.

"We can be more demonstrative. But at the same time opportunities will come down the floor," Bynum said. "We just have to be big and present ourselves to be them. The team can come and call out our number more. But I would say for me anyway, it's not somethng I ever really had. I have to always go get my baskets. I just need to be more aggressive."

So can Gasol.


Pau Gasol wants more work in the low post

Kobe Bryant senses change in pecking order for Gasol, Bynum

Mike Brown: NBA reassesses Blake Griffin's push on Darius Morris

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at