Monday Morning Reading: Kobe, Pau, & Fleeting Chemistry

Darius Soriano —  May 21, 2012

After game 4′s brutal come from ahead loss, the Lakers started to analyze what went wrong. And those moments just after the game, when emotions run highest, several had a lot to say about how the game was lost. Chief among them were Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol.

Their opinions on the matter differed more than slightly and the story-lines today are of bus tracks on Gasol’s back with Kobe’s hands at the wheel and his foot on the pedal. Of course, this is one way – the popular way, really – of looking at this. But, for my money, it’s actually a symbol of something else. It’s a symbol of these two players who’d once been so in synch, now decidedly now. This idea was expressed wonderfully by Andy Kamenetzky at the Land O’ Lakers blog:

Kobe and Pau aren’t on the same page. At all.

And this shouldn’t be terribly surprising, since it feels these days like they barely share the same court. As this season progressed, the once-electric chemistry and byplay between Bryant and Gasol has increasingly gone the way of the Dodo Bird. They don’t work off each other with nearly the same frequency as the previous four seasons. This is in part a byproduct of Andrew Bynum’s increased prominence, which means more possessions beginning (and often ending) on the low left block. And the addition of Ramon Sessions, a ball-dominant guard while playing to his strengths. Plus, Gasol’s 2012 role, which either parks him in the high post as a general offensive conduit or an anchor for the reserves while Kobe rests.

All of these factors have emerged to practically transform Kobe and Pau into strangers. They’ll occasionally run pick-and-roll together — ironically, often as a means to ultimately to create lobs for Drew — but it’s just as likely, if not more, to see that action between Sessions and Pau or even Pau and Bynum. Bryant and Gasol barely feel like they complement each other any more. They’re no longer killing opponents with beautifully meshed skill sets. They’re arguably the best guard/big man duo since Kobe and Shaq, but you’d never know based on their current usage. This separation of stars is a huge reason, even beyond the inherent roster flaws, the Lakers haven’t been able to consistently maximize their assets this season. Even if you think Bynum has become a better player than Gasol, it’s nonetheless impossible to argue Kobe and Bynum play better together than Kobe and Gasol. And that ultimately leaves the Lakers wanting for more.

AK goes on to explain these players’ different personalities, how they’ve helped each other grow as players, and makes a fantastic comparison to two music legends. I suggest you read the entire thing for a fantastic, nuanced take on an on court relationship not what it was, nor needs to be.

My quick two cents on the matter: What made the Lakers such a fantastic team after the acquisition of Gasol was that his skill set was a perfect fit for the Triangle and his IQ allowed him to pick up the offense like he’d been running it his entire career. Meanwhile, Kobe Bryant actually had been running the offense for (nearly) his entire career. This fact allowed them to find symmetry quickly and naturally. They grew together as teammates, building a foundation on an understanding of how to play together within the beautiful confines of a system that both could thrive in.

For better or worse, that system is now gone. When combined with the emergence of Andrew Bynum and his “thirst” for the ball and ability to help the team, Pau has become marginalized. He’s no longer the hub of the offense from the low block, but rather works from the shallow wing and high post. He’s a facilitator of the Lakers’ sets from places where he can be effective but also from a place where his skills aren’t maximized. Meanwhile, Kobe and Bynum’s strengths are played too on every possession.

This isn’t to make excuses for Gasol, but fleeting chemistry is more likely to occur when one of the key variables isn’t put in a position where it can flourish most. It’s like trying to grow a plant in soil with an out of balance pH. If the right balance isn’t struck, the plant can not thrive and will ultimately wilt.

I’m also not out to skewer Mike Brown. He’s working with pieces that may not entirely fit well together and trying to come up with a workable plan. However, one of the tasks of a head coach is to maximize the skill sets of the players he coaches and to put them into positions to succeed. Gasol is so talented he could succeed from anywhere on the floor but to claim he’s being maximized now would be a lie.

And now, what this team has are two founational players not really working as well together as they did before. And, for both players, the team, and its fans that is a shame.

Darius Soriano

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45 responses to Monday Morning Reading: Kobe, Pau, & Fleeting Chemistry

  1. I don’t think there is anyway Gasol starts the next season in a Laker uniform.

    I just hope that along with the (mostly fair) criticism people remember the 2 championship and 3 finals appearances as well.

  2. “one of the tasks of a head coach is to maximize the skill sets of the players he coaches and to put them into positions to succeed.”

    Totally agree with you Darius on this statement. I will not blame Kobe for making those forced shots because he has to shoot with few seconds left or get penalized. Our two bigs are too dependent on Kobe during the 4th Q, if they have the ball, make the best decision in using their height as a weapon than a shield. Drew should keep moving and make a mental count of the 24 second clock and 3 second clock – he is our sentry in the post offensively or defensively. The post is his home and let no one move him out of his home.

    Finally, any Laker should not be afraid of being blocked by Ibaka in the post. Gasol should position himself behind penetrating Sessions or Kobe whose layups might be blocked, watch where the ball goes and treat the block as a gift assist from Ibaka.

  3. Darius: I agree with your analysis. However you know I am not going to let this go by without a question or two : ) To stick with your plant and soil analogy. We always knew what plants we had. Who brought in the new soil with the different PH? I agree with you – we can’t blame the plants + can’t blame the soil (MB and his system). However, somebody in our organization put a group of plants that need lots of water, in a desert tundra + thought that it would would work.

  4. I think games 2 and 4 summed up the entire season for the Lakers. Like the Chris Paul trade almost, so close, but not to be. I think Mitch knew coming into the season with the choice of Mike Brown as coach what were the glaring deficiencies in this team’s make up. With Drew’s development, Kobe’s fading effectiveness and the move from the triangle the Lakers needed and infusion of talent and youth. The botched trade threw everything off stride. Lamar and Pau both being butt hurt forgetting this is a business and reacting as if the sport and the team owed them. As fan’s we appreciated what both have contributed but lets not forget last season abrupt playoff exit. Fish was finished 2 seasons ago. We needed change and frankly didnt get enough of it to get past the Thunder. I think we look at that last pass of Pau’s and forget that the offense couldnt find Drew in the 4th qtr. Whether it was Kobe, Pau, Drew, ultimately it fell on the coaches to find a way or run a set(s) to get him the ball. It didnt happen in game 2 or 4 down the stretch, in my mind that is where we lost. I think Metta earned another run next year. Sessions is clearly an excellent back up but not a starter. Kobe’s effectiveness is diminishing before our eyes. This team needs an infusion of balance, youth and a talent upgrade if its going to compete with the San Antonio’s and OKC’s in the next few years. Kobe’s numbers down the stretch and in the playoff’s in the 4th qtr were well below league average, that can not be ignored. CP3 would have helped other than D-Will what point guard is out there that can help this team. With Pau obviously out what can we get back in terms of talent and youth to offset his loss and infuse the team with talent and youth. Beasley is not the answer. Perhaps a trade into the top 3-4 pick in a very deep draft. Thoughts?

  5. I remember Pau holding his own against Kendrick Perkins in a grueling 7-game series that ended with a title. I miss that Pau Gasol.

  6. Kobe didn’t throw Pau under the bus. It is the truth. We need the black swan. When Pau sets picks he is no longer rolling to the basket. When Ibaka leaves him to help on D he isn’t flashing to the basket.
    I hope the Lakers don’t trade him. He fits extremely well with Kobe and Bynum. There is not a logical trade out there that would keep the Lakers at this competitive level.

  7. There was nothing wrong with the “chemistry” of the Lakers in the first half Saturday. It fell apart when Brown chose to keep his starters in and not give them breaks in the second half. Bynum playing 43 min? No wonder he disappeared in the 4th quarter. Even the broadcasters commented on it during the game. Hopefully, Brown goes to school this summer and learns how to use a whole team and not just a few of the players.

  8. Folks can argue all they want that the way Pau is being used has diminished his effectiveness. But, Pau is simply not aggressive enough at times. You get the Pau of Game 7 vs. Denver in which he played great. And then you get the Pau who shrank in a must win game 4 vs. OKC. 10 points? Meh! But only FIVE rebounds in a shade under 40 minutes. The same amount of rebounds as Sessions. It’s hard for me to overlook that. There’s plenty of blame to go around for the entire team. You win as a team and lose as such. The entire crew looked gassed in the 4th quarter. I blame the back to back more than I blame any particular Laker for this loss and no one can ever change my mind about that.

  9. Win or lose tonight – I want to watch a Laker team that doesn’t roll over.

    I feel like as a fan – watching that team this year – we have earned that.

    The Lakers are certainly capable of winning tonight and extending the series back to Lakerland. Its strange to say – but I feel like the Lakers are truly the better team – and aside from the aberration in game one – have given this series away.

    And who knows why Gasol has turned into the player that he is today. Maybe its chemistry. Maybe its #17. Maybe its the new system.

    But I miss the old Gasol. The Gasol that was considered the most skilled big man in the world. The Gasol that takes that shot instead when he’s wide open and in his sweet spot instead of throwing it away to Ron Ron.

    Here’s to hoping to see Black Swan tonight.

  10. Funky Chicken May 21, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    I’ll be the first to criticize Kobe when he deserves it, but this is not one of those times. What he said about Pau was totally spot on, and was not just about one play at the end of game 4 (and the fact that Pau seemed to take it as a criticism of one play just shows how out of sync these two guys are).

    Pau’s disastrous turnover in the closing seconds, and Kobe’s post-game criticism of the same, are just metaphors for how Pau has played the last two years in the playoffs. Excessively deferential, and (on the surface) not the least bit selfish. However, as was the case with Lamar Odom, excessive deference to others when you have superior skills IS selfish.

    The Lakers have needed Pau to step up and play with a “selfish” attitude, and for most of the last few years he has failed. During the title runs, this was tolerable because there were sufficient contributions from LO, Ariza, and even Fisher that helped fill this gap. The current team, however, has nobody else to step up.

    If Pau doesn’t go for 20 points, the Lakers are at a disadvantage. By not putting any pressure on Ibaka as a primary defender, Pau is making life harder or Bynum and the rest of his teammates–and that’s the ultimate irony. The very qualities that make Pau the “humanitarian of the year” in the NBA are making life so much harder on his teammates. Kobe lashed out after the last game, because Kobe knows that time is limited. Either Pau asserts himself, or the season is over tonight….

  11. The issues with Pau were present before this year. I thought Pau played worse last year than this year.

    Last year, the lakers started the season with Bynum and Kobe hurt. At one point, in the very early part of the season, Phil Jackson floated the idea of Pau as an MVP (!) candidate.

    By the end of the season, Phil is jabbing a finger in Pau’s chest.

    Pau is a better passer and role player this year than last year. I think he’s helped Bynum grow into his role a lot more than he’s given credit for since Kareem left.

    But you cannot excuse the mistake he made in the last game – and it shows that he just does not have the same consistent mental fortitude he showed in earlier years.

    That doesn’t mean Pau wilts all the time. He showed a lot of class handling the trade rumors this year.

    And I remember how he went after CP3 in a Clippers-Lakers game, where he was getting taunted by Griffin and CP3.

    He does rise the occasion, but not as often as you would expect, given the battles he’s won in the past and being the #2 guy on the team.

  12. And what really ticks me off is that the “if necessary” games 6 & 7 are scheduled on Weds. and Sunday respectively. A three day layoff between those games. There was no need to play a back to back in this series. SMH.

  13. i just hope LA doesnt do what they usally do when faced with daunting tasks…lose by 30+…san antonio looks strong and very deep…not sure we would get by them if we win/won this series…going to be an interesting off season one of the bigs has to go most likely pau…were a step too slow to compete with todays teams…play hard tonight is all i ask

  14. I’m still trying to figure out how Lakers fans allowed Der Kommisar Stern to leave Staples in one piece the other night!! Just kidding!!

  15. Pau has never been a third option in his career. He was always a first or second option. He’s handled this transition with grace and tried to fit in the best way he could. Still had good numbers but Pau is a rhythm player he needs to touch the ball to get a rhythm. Too many times his touches were few and far between and he had no clear defined role. We had one last Pau dominant game game 7 vs Denver.

    And Kobe did stick up for Pau during the trade chaos. He has been a vocal leader with guys. So him calling out Pau isn’t the worst. but when he doesn’t admit his mistakes and then calls out Pau is where I have a problem.

  16. Dom: Still have at least one game to play, so I think many on this board are waiting until someone beats us 4 times to have the type of discussion you are outlining. That said – I will address your last question?

    “Perhaps a trade into the top 3-4 pick in a very deep draft. Thoughts?” We traded away most of our picks, so how ironic to try to do this. Also, this would nearly be impossible. A) We have nothing to offer B) The other team would need to have the whopper of all TPE’s to make it happen : )

  17. Baylor Fan, I completely agree with you, players are stinking it up because they are playing too many minutes, and not getting enough rest. Last year, it was due to the Bynum injury. This year, well I don’t know, we can’t blame Mike Brown for everything. He did the same thing with a much younger Lebron. This man just doesn’t do creativity.

  18. Dominic, it’s gonna be hard to spend 20 million on a #3 guy who only shows up sometimes and is scared of big moments. I finally wrote Pau off last year. People forget that Pau pulled this same disappearing act in the WCF against the Phoenix Suns in 2010.
    On a side note, the Lakers are in trouble in my opinion. Once Kobe retires this franchise will be in for a steep drop. I don’t blame Mike Brown entirely; I think the front office and Phil Jackson share some of this blame. I blame Phil Jackson because instead of spending time convince the players around Kobe to take on the same work ethic; he coddled them while always berating Kobe about shots. This team for the longest hasn’t cared about defense (which is all their new coach cares about). All they want to talk about is shots. People wonder why Kobe’s handwork didn’t rub off on guys like drew and Pau, it’s because the Coach was more concerned about keeping himself at the top of the “Buss/Laker” kingdom and making sure Kobe didn’t end up with the type of power MJ had over him in Chicago. MJ had the same personality and game as Kobe and the front office while adapting to the triangle got players complimentary to MJ’s game. Luckily for Chicago, PJ never had the same level of access dating Jeanie Buss provided him in LA. I don’t doubt for a second that Phil Jackson’s antics is what made Jim Buss want no coach that Phil could potentially pull their strings from the outside. Is Jim Buss incompetent, probably (jury is still out), but Phil Jackson didn’t help matters. Moreover, the Lakers Front Office never built the team around the strengths and weaknesses of their super star; instead they built it strictly around the Triangle. Don’t get me wrong, the triangle served us well but once we moved away from it we were bound to have the type of problems that we had this season. Look at San Antonio, their style of play has constantly morphed to accommodate their 3 stars. The types of complementary players they have acquired over the years have also been complementary of their 3 stars. I don’t know what the future holds but I cringe at the thot that Andre Bynum will be the face of this Franchise going forward. Granted the CP3 trade was a nice attempt but even that trade seemed suspect. A core of often injured starting 1 and 5; and an aging 2??? I wish Kupchack and Jim Buss all the best cos they have a lot of work ahead of them.

  19. Kobe has had the most success as part of a duo. Kobe and Shaq 3 rings 4 finals. Kobe and Pau 2 rings in 3 finals. He’s proven you give him a legit running mate he can get it done. Nobody besides Duncan can say the same.

  20. Pau Gasol it’s a bad player. But it’s obvious he isn’t a great player any longer. He has had plenty of high post ISOS (historically his speciality) against weak/smaller defenders this entire season and post season (read Feried/Al Harrington) and hasn’t been able to score efficiently. He isn’t the same player. He isn’t the same athlete. We need to call a spade a spade. The reason Pau sucked last post season wasn’t because he was heartbroken or was in a slump… It was and is because he has declined as an athlete. Pure and simple. Having said that… Gasol is still a top 10 starting PF and a quality contributor. Unfortunatley he is being paid to be an All Star. Furthermore his lack of outside shooting is killing the Lakers offense (Andrew Bynum). Now that Artest is back (and shooting) OKC is sending Ibaka to roam off of Gasol. Can you imagine just two years ago teams saying “leave Pau to help on Andrew Bynum?” The Lakers knew Pau was no longer a star… But they thought he could still be a great role player and could punish teams for leaving him open. That hasn’t happened. Why do we live in a fantasy world? Gasol is in the best sittuation for him to succeed. He doesn’t have to bang in the middle. He doesn’t need to carry the load offensively (something he has beer wanted to do), and he isn’t expected to protect the paint. If Pau can’t flourish here and now… He can no longer flourish as a star PF anywhere in the NBA.

  21. That the problems with Gasol’s productivity are caused by his usage is a persuasive argument.

    I hate that the guy was packaged in that failed trade and continues so often to be discussed as if he is on the way out the door.

    A team with a core of players who have championship experience together cannot be replaced. If the goal is to compete for a championship (rather than just to be competitive) then keep Gasol. If that is not the goal, why would any of the starters be untouchable at their age?

  22. …Which is code for Kobe. Obviously Bynum is certainly young enough…

  23. Braziman, all I can say is that you dont watch Laker games. Gasol has a recent history of coming up small.

  24. Pau is a near max player who is not playing at that level with any consistency. The squeeze on the payroll the new CBA will usher in seems to necessitate Pau being traded for a less expensive player that can contribute. I love Pau, but this team needs to get younger and cheaper while still maintaining a high level of talent on the court. Pau is a unique talent but he is neither young or cheap. The system is probably not the issue, he had similar problems last year in the triangle. He is the best asset the Lakers have to acquire youth and talent in a league where that is now at a greater premium.

  25. Wow: The Magics’s big center has forced some people out of Orlando. I wonder if our big center will try to do the same in LA? Only he might try to include some players as well.

  26. SVG and Otis Smith gone. No surprises there.

    More surprised that Orlando is reportedly targeting Adonal Foyle as their next GM (or at least interviewed him). If I’m Devos, I’m chasing Kevin Pritchard hard.

    For those who would rather have SVG than MB as coach (many of us), it ironically would have been better to lose in Game 7 in the 1st round. I think there’s very little chance MB is let go after one season. Unfortunately, coaches of SVG’s caliber don’t come around every year either. I’m constantly impressed by his ability to mold the system around the personnel, very much like Riley. I’d be interested to see what he could do with this roster, but that’s very unlikely.

  27. Is Pau also the reason Kobe can’t hang on to the ball or for that matter jump over everybody like he used to?

  28. Regarding Pau’s game during the playoffs, there is an interesting stat:

    vs OKC
    Game 1 1 ast Loss
    Game 2 3 ast Loss
    Game 3 6 ast Win
    Game 4 2 ast Loss

    vs Denver
    Game 1 8 ast Win
    Game 2 5 ast Win
    Game 3 3 ast Loss
    Game 4 6 ast Win
    Game 5 1 ast Loss
    Game 6 1 ast Loss
    Game 7 6 ast Win

    Of course it can be seen in other players stats some kind of correlation with Ws and Ls (when they play well they win and when they play bad they lose), but I find this particular Gasol’s stat much telling.

    Gasol should be involved in the offense. Lakers do not need him to score 20 points but he is needed in the offense. That should be achieved by the system run, by the coach instructions, by Gasol’s effort, by Kobe “motivating” comments, …
    Lakers are much more effective when so.

  29. If Pau has truly fallen off the cliff athletically and/or mentally, can the Lakers truly expect anything for him in trade value? He is not an expiring contract, I don’t think he’s a number one option (or perhaps even a number two option for that matter), and he is owed a lot of money. Would it be better to use the amnesty option for Pau vs Metta? In comparison, I think perhaps Metta’s contract looks like a better value.

  30. Aaron: I disagree. Pau can be the player that came aboard in 08 and made Lakers a title contender. He was that player game 1, 7 vs Denver. He has no defined role. He has no plays called for him. Someone as skilled as him just stuck on the perimeter is not getting the most out of him. His salary coupled with diminished role doesn’t bode well when judging his pay this year. But he’s helped make this Laker team go for 5 years. IF it was Pau/Hill starting I have no doubt we would see the Pau we all know.

    jcibal: helluva stat. shows when he’s consistently involved good things happen.

  31. For all the doom and gloom, we were 7 points from being up 3-1. I support reframing like Kobe did down 2-3 2010 finals LAL vs BOS.

    Instead of seeing it as down 2-3, see it as only needing to win 2 straight games to win the Champ.

    If instead, at the beginning of this season, we were told we only needed to win 3 straight at some point in the season to make it to Western Finals… I would have taken that.

  32. teamn,
    You asked a question that has already been answered. Because of Pau’s declining ability and his giant contract the Lakers were not able to trade him during the year for anything decent. The only chance the Lakers have of getting a star player back in return is if another team has a giant contract they want to get rid of as Gasol only has two more years left on his deal.

  33. Jon Hollinger says the world is round
    —————————————-

    The story in the papers was that Kevin Durant owned Kobe Bryant in crunch time, and certainly that was factually accurate. This was made more shocking due to Bryant’s unearned reputation as the league’s “best closer.” Now that we have data on this stuff it’s abundantly clear to anybody who cares to look that, depending on how you choose to define “clutch,” the best late-game player might be Chris Paul or Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James, but it sure as heck isn’t Kobe Bryant.

    Nonetheless, Game 4 (and Game 2 for that matter) shocked a lot of members of the Flat Earth Society out of their anecdotal reminiscences of Kobe’s crunch-time successes, so that became the big story in the immediate aftermath. It only became bigger, of course, when Bryant took the opportunity of the postgame news conference to roll a Humvee over a prostrate Pau Gasol by blaming him for the loss.

  34. Aaron,

    Right, so would it not potentially make more sense to amnesty Pau? I guess I don’t see another star player that fits the criteria you lay out and can help push the Lakers to another championship. That would be the goal I assume? So, the options become keep Pau for at least one more year; trade him for less than equal value; hope for another star as you point out; or amnesty? Do any of those steps get the Lakers closer to one more championship with Kobe? Probably not, in my opinion.

  35. I am reading a lot of comments about players value here based upon performance during this playoff run.

    First there are many comments about how Sessions is a great back up but not a starter. I feel Sessions is a starter. The problem is he has been shackled. He was asked to slow down. That is not his style. It does appear over the last two games that he is finally adjusting but he needs to run to show his full value. Going forward management needs to decide if they are going to run enough to keep him.

    Pau is also being asked to do things that are not his strengths. He reply is best in the post. But he has been moved to facilitate and shoot jumpers. If we had shooters to spread the floor both Pau and Andrew could co-exist in the post but alas, when you have Metta shooting the 3 teams crowd the paint and dare him to beat them. As far as trade value for Pau, I doubt he has lost any. Chris Paul was probably our only chance at a true star for Pau. The lakers will have to decide if it is better to try and add some shooting and youth like the Spurs or trade Pau for some role players and draft picks

  36. Amnestying Pau has little to no basketball value whatsoever. It wouldn’t get us under the cap, so no big FAs. I haven’t read the new CBA so someone correct me if I’m wrong, but the only benefit I see is that if we get under the tax line, we can offer the full midlevel instead of the mini-MLE. Not a huge gain. I’m sure Darius will open up a thread to talk offseason moves later on, but if you’re determined to part with Gasol, it makes far more sense to trade than to amnesty. At least you can pick up some assets along with expirings using that route. With an amnesty, you get nothing.

  37. If today is the last Laker game of the season, I place all blame squarely on David Stern. Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak had a solid plan to move into a new era while maximizing what we have left of Kobe by trading for a top 3 point guard and picking up a defense-oriented coach with a traditional offensive system, and it was squashed for absolutely no good reason (just ask New Orleans how they feel about the Clipper’s package)

    Mitch made the most out of the situation by scoring Sessions at the trade deadline, but there’s not nearly enough time to get him integrated and he’s not quite the caliber of player we needed to change the course of the season. Now we’re stuck with a system that our feature PF can’t fit into, and a gaping defensive hole at PG. Get ready for another Gasol trade, and just hope we can get a player nearly as good as CP3.

  38. Michael H: OK – so you are saying that Sessions could be better in the right system; Pau could be better in the right environment; We failed to surround our two big men with adequate 3 point shooters; I know you were fairly optimistic this year, so you can’t be overly negative on KB + AB; So how are we at the brink? Is this coaching or FO not setting this up correctly? You know my opinion.

  39. I think Pau will get traded probably justifiably so but the fact remains the Gasol/Bynum combo have never played that well together. It’s like alot of Lakers fans were dreaming of winning rings with Bynum becoming Shaq instead of the fact it was the versatility at the 4/5 spot with Odom and Gasol that killed teams. The real problem is casting Gasol as simply a jump shooting power forward (to give Bynum space) when he’s really a finesse center. The fact he even did that compatently speaks to Gasol’s skillset.

    Gasol definitely deserves some blame for not being more aggressive but he’s stationed 16 feet away from the basket with an uber athletic Ibaka draped all over him, what do we want him to do, turn into Dirk?

    No, the Lakers problem started right when they thought playing two centers together would lead them to a championship.

  40. as a Spurs fan, i can only hope that the Lakers amnesty Pau Gasol, so that he can go to a real team on a mid-level exception. Gasol can even shift back into the paint, as Duncan has already proven that he can play on the high-post with an All-Star level center.

  41. Yep, Paul with his 12 points, 9 assists, 5 turnovers and 37% shooting sure was clutch as hell. Even Pau with his 12 poinst, 9 rebounds on 44% shooting was better this series. Meh, I hate stat geeks with passion.

  42. I agree with this post that Gasol isn’t being utilized correctly. Dude is playing in the high post, 20 feet from the basket. How is he supposed to aggressive from there? He’s not Dirk or Chris Bosh the guy needs more touches in the low post. Period. I understand why mike brown puts gasol there and not Bynum( Bynum is not a threat at all from the high post) but I’d like to see The lakers shake it up and be more creative with their big men. That said, all the talk about Pau and Kobe is interesting but the Laker’s lack of support from their role players is always my go to when explaining their troubles.

    Read my blog 4hoopsheads.com for more stuff.

    I just wrote a lerbon-releted post for today. i wanted to write some Lakers I would be just repeating thhe great stuff i read here.

    http://4hoopsheads.com/2012/05/21/lebron-and-d-wade-go-full-retard/

  43. The problem is that the Lakers have 4 post players (Bynum, Gasol, Peace & Kobe) out of their starting 5. We don’t have any Laker slashers, or players that cut to the basket. Too often, the ball will go into the post, and the other 4 players will just stand around. For whatever reason, officials don’t call fouls for post players like they call them for slashers (Westbrook, Harden). Seems like there is a conscious decision from the league to reward that style of play. It’s a new NBA, and the Lakers need to adapt. During the off-season, the Lakers need to trade Pau, or even Bynum (higher trade value) for these type of pieces to remain a contender, and speed up the Laker attack…