Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni is currently dealing with a problem that 29 other NBA coaches envy greatly: in Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard, D’Antoni has two supremely gifted post players.
Mike’s problem is that he has yet to figure out how to maximize Pau and Dwight’s abilities. Gasol admits that he’s not sure if D’Antoni’s offensive system — which places a premium on three-pointers and perimeter play — can take advantage of the Lakers’ ability to dominate the paint.
Per USA Today:
“I don’t find (playing with Howard) tough,” Gasol said. “It’s more the system right now that makes it tough at times, because (D’Antoni) wants four guys to be spread and one interior guy and it’s a guard-oriented system, so that makes it tough. I think there’s enough looks for both of us. But again, it’s not a system that you post up a lot, so we’ll see. We’ve just got to figure it out, but if you’ve got two great post-up players, you’ve got to utilize it.”
Before the game (Tuesday night), D’Antoni reiterated that Howard would be a focal point in the paint but that Gasol would have to adjust. “It’s Pau who has to expand his game, and he’ll expand out in the corner threes and he needs to take a couple, and we’ll get him in the post when we can,” D’Antoni said.
Kobe Bryant has made public his wish for Pau Gasol to get more touches in the post, but the big man remains frustrated with his role on the team (though the organization claims that they have no intention to trade him this season.)
The Los Angeles Lakers are hoping that Steve Nash and his soon-to-be 39 year-old legs and back can help solve most of these issues when he returns to the court. Fans are understandably nervous and skeptical.