Pau Gasol has enjoyed his finest month of basketball in recent memory. The Spaniard is averaging 20 points, 12 rebounds, four assists, and two blocks on 50 percent shooting from the field. The young, athletic roster assembled this off-season has lended itself well to coach D’Antoni’s offensive system that emphasizes shooting and ball movement.
When D’Antoni first became the head coach of the Phoenix Suns in 2003, he became one of the first major proponents of the small ball movement that has since taken over the league. Gasol has had his issues with D’Antoni’s style of play, and in a recent interview with Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding, he spoke in favor of his preferred offensive system:
I’ve always been more of a fan of two bigs that can dominate the paint, can pound teams and take advantage of their size if you do have it. If you don’t have it, then you do whatever you can.
A major component of the Lakers most recent championship run was the twin tower tandem of Gasol and Andrew Bynum. Very few teams had the size to match the Lakers bigs and they took advantage of that, and with Lamar Odom off the bench, the Lakers had three skilled bigs when most teams barely had one.
This Lakers roster does not have the talent of previous years, especially on the front line. Jordan Hill, Robert Sacre, and Chris Kaman all play hard, but none are as skilled and dominant as Bynum was during the end of his Lakers run.
Like Gasol said, if you don’t have the size, you do what you can and the Lakers are making due with their injury plagued roster. Even Kobe Bryant spoke against the small ball takeover, but he is one of the few old heads left in this era. At this point, however, the Lakers simply have no choice.
Lakers Behind The Scenes Video: Xavier Henry Throws Nick Young’s Jersey In Trash