Pau Gasol Expresses Frustrations With Mike D’Antoni’s Coaching Style
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Pau Gasol isn’t having a great season by any means. He’s had a couple of peaks this season, but he has struggled for the most part, and is putting some of the blame on head coach Mike D’Antoni, according to Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times.

“The fact that I’m not getting the ball in the post affects directly my aggressiveness,” he said. “When I’m not getting the ball where I want to, where I’m most effective, where I can bang guys and utilize my skill, that affects my aggressiveness and overall intensity….

“This year hasn’t been ideal, certain things are not ideal for me, but that’s not going to change any time soon,” he said.

Gasol is right about one thing, he hasn’t been getting many touches in the painted area as he’s only shooting a mere 48.9 percent of his shots from zero-to-nine feet, the lowest percentage during his tenure as a member of the Lakers. And when he is getting touches in post-up situations, he hasn’t fared well.

“I can’t lie to him… Our numbers tell us the worst thing we do is post up,” [D’Antoni] said.

D’Antoni has a point. In 132 post up situations for Gasol this season, he’s only making 35 percent of his shot attempts, which is less than the 41 percent he’s making on spot up jump shots. Gasol has been the best, however, when cutting to the basket and in P&R sets, the only two situations where he’s averaging more than one point per possession outside scoring off offensive rebounds.

(Click on chart to enlarge)
pau

Gasol is ostensibly irritated with D’Antoni, and it’s not the first time. Last season, D’Antoni had Gasol come off the bench for the first time in his career, and sat him down the stretch of a couple of key games which, forced Gasol to express some frustrations. Gasol was asked about D’Antoni’s criticisms, and he responded with:

“I don’t pay attention. Mike is sometimes all over the place, I don’t give much credit to things like that,” he said.

When asked if D’Antoni has ever discussed this criticism with him directly, for the first time in the interview, Gasol sounded irked.

“Nope, zero. Nope, zero,” he said. “Like I said, it’s not ideal, but it is what it is.”

There is a clear disconnect between Gasol and D’Antoni and it begins with the style of play Gasol wants and the style that D’Antoni is offering. At some point, something is going to have to give between these two, and much like last season, it could be Gasol who gets the short end of the stick.

(Statistical support for this post was provided by mySynergy Sports)

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