Pau Gasol Opens Up About Dwight Howard and D’Antoni’s System

Pau Gasol and Mike D'AntoniThere’s been a lot of chatter this season as to whether or not Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol would ever be able to mesh their talents together as en effective unit on the basketball court. Though the season’s almost over, the unexpected injuries and changes that have plagued this Lakers team still leaves a lot of questions unanswered.

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At the beginning of the season, Gasol missed several games due to knee tendinitis, and a couple months later an MRI confirmed that he had plantar fasciitis. Then, he was sidelined with an actual tear in his plantar fascia. All season there’s been debates as to whether or not Pau Gasol should come off the bench in Mike D’Antoni’s system. D’Antoni tried it, and it was no secret Pau Gasol was not happy about it.

After Gasol was sidelined with the tear in his plantar fascia, Mike D’Antoni repeated constantly that the team really needed Pau Gasol back if they wanted to make it anywhere in the playoffs. Now that Gasol’s been back for six games and playing alongside Dwight Howard rather than as a sixth man, Gasol has opened up about the challenges he’s faced alongside the other dominant big man in D’Antoni’s system.

“I think…it’s always a matter of compromise…we’re both inside players really. I can step outside and I can make plays from outside but I’ll always be most effective from the post and having the ball inside and making plays from there and he’s always been a player that’s been an inside player a post player a role player, a pick and roll player, I mean. In a system that we all like to be spread out and stuff, it’s been a challenge.”

So, has the system changed in favor of getting the ball to Pau Gasol in spots that are most effective? The Spaniard said after practice today that the team has made a conscious effort to get the ball to him closer to the basket.

“Now that I’m getting more to the post and I’m making more plays, I think I’m always going to get him involved and look for him (Dwight)…sometimes too much, like I said after the game the other night.”

Gasol’s referring to the four turnovers he had against the Dallas Mavericks to go along with his six assists. Like his brother, Marc, Pau Gasol’s game has always been more about making plays for others rather than himself. The Gasols have a remarkably high assist ratio for big men. Take the Lakers win over the Sacramento Kings last Saturday, in which Pau could have practically been considered a point guard with his 10 dimes.

When Gasol was asked about the Memphis Grizzlies starting to run the ball more through his brother, Marc, he chimed in,

“As they should. My brother’s a great passer so he makes plays for the rest of the team.”

So, will we see Pau Gasol in a Lakers jersey next year? The Lakers have made it public that their number one priority is to bring back Dwight Howard, and Howard has not been vocal about his future plans. Would it be impossible to dream of holding onto both next year?

ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne doesn’t think so.

Remember that the new luxury progressive tax system could definitely be weighing into the Lakers business decisions. And, as Shelburne also notes, the Lakers are about $30 million over the luxury tax threshold, which if they keep, will equal somewhere around $85 million next year.

There’s still unanswered questions about what the Dwight and Pau duo could accomplish alongside Kobe and Steve Nash. Looks like we’ll just have to wait and see.


VIDEO: Pau Gasol Opens Up About Dwight Howard and D’Antoni’s System

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