Wednesday, December 12th, 2012 at 10:05 am  |  9 responses

Magic Johnson Wants the Lakers to Stop Misusing Pau Gasol

As the Los Angeles Lakers continue to lose, Magic Johnson continues to rip them through the press. The legend’s criticism is largely directed at Laker management and coaching, who Johnson believes are not taking advantage of Pau Gasol’s skills (which, it should be noted, Kobe Bryant agrees with.) Per the LA Times: “The Lakers, who were expected to be title contenders after acquiring Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, have a disappointing (9-13) record. But even though the Lakers are struggling under Mike D’Antoni, Johnson doesn’t think that the Lakers should make another coaching change. ‘Look the season has already been disrupted one time,’ Johnson said, referring to the firing of coach Mike Brown after five games. ‘Another change would just blow the whole team up, you’d just lose everybody. The Lakers don’t need another change.’ Instead, Johnson thinks D’Antoni must adjust his run-and-gun style to fit the style of the slower and older players on the roster. ‘His system doesn’t fit the talent that the Lakers have,’ Johnson said. ‘You can’t run with this team. Where are the runners? You got one dude who can get up and down the court and that’s Kobe [Bryant]. Ron [Metta World Peace], love him, but he’s slow. Both of our big men, not fast guys. [D'Antoni] has got to say, ‘Maybe I should scale it back.’ Johnson believes D’Antoni’s biggest mistake so far is how he’s used Pau Gasol. ‘He’s still one of the best passing big man, I’m sorry, he is the best passing big man in the game, but you have him at the free throw line” waiting for the ball, Johnson said. ‘That makes no sense. That’s not his game. His game is catch it on the low block, face his man, one dribble left or right, he’s in the cup, nice hook, nice move, because he’s got great moves.’ Gasol, who missed his fifth game Tuesday because of knee tendinitis, has struggled this season, averaging a career-low 12.6 points a game. ‘Now all the blame is on his shoulders, like he’s not performing well,’ Johnson said of Gasol. ‘He can’t take that. That’s not who he is. They got to put him in a winning situation because once Gasol starts playing well, I think the team will play well.’ [...] ‘Gasol to me is the key to this whole thing,’ Johnson said. ‘But if you continue to have him at the three-point line, he’s not going to perform well because he hasn’t been out there, especially with Phil Jackson and the Lakers. When he was playing in Memphis, he was down low. I got to adjust my system a little bit if I’m the coach, that’s all.’”

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  • solito

    With Gasol healthy, they would have the roster to do both. Their starting five is a group with an extremely high Basketball IQ. This usually translates to a great half court offense team. Once they bring in the second unit, they can adjust to the game… bring in the younger guys and pick up the pace, or supplement the starting five with veteran players like Jamison and Duhon – or some of the slower bench guys. I don’t believe that a team has to have either a half-court of fast break identity. Versatility is a much bigger asset. But first they absolutely have to get their defense in order, otherwise the entire talk about offense is rhetorical.

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni Sanchez

    Finally someone showing Gasol some love. He’s always been the scapegoat. Dude gots mad skill

  • roscoe

    Magic deserves a new name, Captain Obvious.

  • shockexchange

    Heller Keller coulda seen that one.

  • Yesse

    Magic speaking the truth!

  • spit hot fiyah

    if they are used correctly. bernie bickerstaff is looking like a genius right now

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni Sanchez

    Lol I hope so man

  • brad09′

    well they probably should have got a real coach and not that ABA coach. theres a reason he hasnt won anything real with all the great talent hes coached.

  • roscoe

    no doubt about it.