Mike D’Antoni Says Pau Gasol a Better Post Player Than Dwight Howard

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni bungled the front-court situation last year in spectacular fashion — unable to get Dwight Howard to buy into his pick&roll schemes, and alienating Pau Gasol. With Howard out of the picture, D’Antoni says Gasol is a better option on the block, anyhow. Per NBA.com: “Question: How much of (praising Gasol) is propping him up, giving him that encouragement, and how much do you really believe this team is better with Pau than it would have been with Dwight? Answer: ‘I think those are two different points. When you say he’s one of the best skilled big men in the league, that’s not propping him up. That’s the truth. If the franchise had made a decision last year to kind of go another direction because of youth then you had to play around that. That was the direction it was going. But if you tell me right now who’d you rather post up, you want to post up Pau or you want to post up Dwight Howard and give him the ball? No (question). [Indicating Gasol] But if you want to re-sign somebody, who do you want? That’s where the problem was. It was clear who was the best post man. It’s nothing against Dwight. That’s the reality.’ Q: But is this team better off if it had Dwight now or with Pau there? A: ‘We’ll see, We’ll see. I don’t want to go out that far because obviously there’s an answer and I don’t want to offend anybody. I love Pau’s game. I think Pau’s won two championships and I think Pau’s been very instrumental. Like Lamar Odom at the four and Pau at the five, and now you’re back there. It kind of speaks for itself.’ Q: How glad are people — you, maybe players in the locker room — to just be done with all the craziness and say, ‘We don’t have to do that for another four or five years?’ A: ‘You’re done with the uncertainty. You’re done with ‘Does he want to be here or not? Do you have to appease him because then you’ll lose him?’ You’re done with that. So now you can just — you know what, we’re going to try this.’ Q: In other words, if he had been back …. A: ‘Then we’d have been fine too.’ […] Q: Do you feel this team is better with this team than if Dwight had been here? A: ‘I think if Dwight were here it would have made us better. Yeah, I think it would. Yeah. He impacts the game, there’s no doubt about it.'”