Before the Lakers’ victory over the Clippers on opening night, Magic Johnson appeared on numerous radio shows to discuss the state of the Lakers. While he is now one of the owners for the Dodgers, Johnson still loves the Lakers and wants to see them do well as they transition without Dr. Jerry Buss.
While most were disappointed with Jim Buss’ decision to hire Mike D’Antoni, Magic was still upset that the current Lakers head coach decided to take Pau Gasol out of the starting line-up at one point of the season:
“He messed with Pau, and Pau is one of the premier big men in basketball. In fact, for awhile, he took Pau out of the lineup.”
Under the circumstances last season, D’Antoni revealed that he meant no disrespect towards Gasol as he was trying to cater to Dwight Howard. Throughout training camp, D’Antoni was very complimentary of Gasol — calling him the best center in the league and admitting that the ball should have gone through Pau instead of Howard. Fortunately for D’Antoni, Gasol has been very understanding of the situation and both are working to repair any damage D’Antoni’s decisions may have caused.
With Gasol no longer catering to Andrew Bynum or Howard, he looks to re-establish himself as “one of the premier big men in basketball” as Magic has stated numerous times. In five games this season, Gasol has averaged 14.6 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 2.8 assists. While he looks to get back into game shape after an entire off-season resting his knees, the Lakers will need Gasol to perform at a high-level if they want to make the playoffs this season.
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