BaxterHolmes Baxter Holmes
Shaq on leaving Magic for Lakers: "Do I regret leaving here in '96, yes I do.”
Anything that gets him closer to the hoop.
I am now convinced that people are never going to stop talking about trading Pau.
I'm even at the point where I actually hope the Lakers do trade Pau so everybody can see what life will be like without him. Because I can't think of a basketball player who ever did more for the Lakers while getting less respect. The team has two rings -- which Kobe couldn't have won without him -- but he's still blamed for everything.
I said last week that the main reason for keeping Pau in the D'Antoni offense is that he's the only 7-foot player you can name who can play both positions in the pick and roll. Last night, while watching NBA tonight, Tim Legler said (paraphrasing): "I saw something tonight that I've never seen before. I saw Pau gasol playing the pick and roll with Dwight Howard. And it was effective. And I don't see how anyone could ever stop that play because of their size."
Last night against Brooklyn Pau came close to a triple double, yet almost everyone was ignoring that and blaming him for giving up points to Lopez -- even when Pau wasn't on the floor and/or Howard was actually covering Lopez. So the haters are never going to actually see Pau for the player he is and respect his game.
But if you're on the fence, and you're wondering why the Laker should not trade Pau, here's the thing you should fear the most. For all of his own whining and *****ing at Pau, there's nobody on the roster that Kobe trusts more. Those two guys have been through the wars, and while Kobe, like lots of Laker fans, wishes Pau would be a brute all the time, the bottom line is that Pau makes fewer boneheaded plays than anyone you could trade Pau for, and that's before you factor in the high standards Kobe has for teammates.
How many players are there in the world who could both live up to Kobe's expectations and take all the **** that Kobe dishes out? I'm guessing maybe a handful, and most of them don't have Pau's size and skillz.
So while you're imaging Pau being traded for the greatest shooter in the history of the world, or the greatest dunker, or whatever gets you off, try to imagine this sequence without Pau on the roster:
Or read the bottom of this Grantland post on gunners:Bryant drove right past Gerald Wallace, but was forced to pick up his dribble when Brook Lopez stepped up to cut him off just below the foul line.
In true Bryant form, he already left his feet when Lopez collapsed on him, but was able to turn around in midair and pass it out to Pau Gasol who came to the ball to catch it at the top of the key. (Sidenote: Bryant leaving his feet before he passes is easily the most frustrating part of his game to see over and over again. For being as fundamentally strong as he is, he chooses to break this cardinal rule of basketball way too much.)
Bryant then came back out to the wing to get it back from Gasol and positioned his body in a way -- shoulders square to the rim with his feet spread apart enough to give him a good base -- that Wallace and Lopez both closed out on him, thinking he was going to shoot. Rather than shoot it, Bryant flipped a pass over Wallace's head to Gasol who was cutting towards the free throw line.
When Kris Humphries saw Gasol coming down the lane with the ball in his hands, he left Dwight Howard who he was checking on the baseline to cut off the Spaniard.
Then Gasol, seeing that Howard was as open as the day is long, immediately threw a lob pass that Howard caught and threw down for an alley-oop dunk.
That made it a tied game, 86-86, with 3:05 remaining. The Lakers made the dominoes fall and never looked back.
Or think about Kobe's effectiveness at the end of close games if Pau isn't around. Is Kobe going to look for anyone else, or is he going to be even more likely to play hero ball? Do the Lakers have more options and better spacing with Pau gone, or fewer?Gasol doesn't fit this category at all, but it'd be remiss to overlook the puzzling determination among a segment of Laker fans to deal one of the league's great all-around players. That's not to say there are no grounds for trading Gasol. As I've written before, he's a center the Lakers have had to shoehorn into a power forward role over the last two seasons, a makeshift setup that (along with shaky perimeter shooting at other positions) cramps the Lakers' spacing; there's a reason the Lakers almost always closed games with Lamar Odom and just one of the Gasol/Bynum duo, back when Odom was actually an NBA player. With three $1 players already onboard, it might make sense to deal Gasol for two 65-cent players who bring shooting and fit Mike D'Antoni's offense. (Let's ignore that one of those $1 players is recovering from back surgery, and another is almost 39 and dealing with a broken leg.)
But the "trade Gasol" fervor has masked — in some corners of Laker Land — what a brilliant player Gasol is. And though Kobe Bryant has backed Gasol publicly, his habit of chastising Gasol for alleged passivity, including after Bryant shot the Lakers out of Game 4 against the Thunder last season, has emboldened that fervor.
If the Lakers trade Pau, the team, the franchise and the fans will get what they deserve. The Lakers will be a more exciting team that won't have the smarts, trust or experience to win a title this year, or probably next.
they're saying he's great for this system, he's the high post anchor, and only with Pau's passing and ability to hit that high post jumper do you get beautiful things like this.
Trading Gasol for the right pieces, would be good.
Problem is, can we really get those RIGHT pieces?
I doubt it, maybe in a three way deal.
AND we would ahve to be very carefull to make sure Pau is sent to a no win situation ( hawks, Wolves, rockets, Raptors, warriors or something like that.
because if we make the fatal mistake to sent him somwhere like NY, S.A, Boston or Chicago he has a 90% chance of coming back to bite us in the *** with a smile and a larry obrien in his hand, maybe even getting it in OUR builiding.
If you go to the :50 mark in this vid you can see Pau run the pick and roll with D12, even though he's being guarded by two players:
I can't think of any other player of Pau's size who could have done that. And if the Lakers want to go to that with regularity, he can do it again and again.
Small ball? **** small ball. We're playing P&R with Pau and D12, and spotting Metta, Kobe and Nash on the perimeter. Pick your poison.
Gasol has been playing well under the D'antoni system. Look at his points, rebounds, and assists. When the pg or kobe doesn't make the pass to dwight gasol always does. He's a knockdown mid range shooter and people have to close out on him, leaving dwight at the rim. It's great because its a much quicker and easier pass from mid range alley oop than from the 3 point line. It actually works.
Even ignoring the money, I don't see it happening. And particularly if what we're talking about is winning titles versus scoring points. I just don't see any way that we find a player or players who equal Pau's skill set while also fitting in so perfectly with everyone else on the floor.
How many great players are there out there that don't need the ball? How many of them have gut-check title experience? How many of them can alter their own play in the middle of a game -- multiple times -- to fit with the players on the floor as rotations change? How many players in the NBA give their team almost unlimited flexibility?
I can only think of one, and we already have him.
It just occurred to me that I haven't said this explicitly, but it clearly needs to be said. Whether Pau gets traded or not is a gut-check for D'Antoni as head coach.
If he advocates for a trade so he can default to his run-and-gun ways, effectively emulating the small-ball that OKC and Miami now play at a high caliber, then I don't see LA winning a title.
On the other hand, if D'Antoni recognizes how to use the core that we have to exploit P&R regardless of the pace of the game I think our chances of winning a ring this year go up -- precisely because it means D'Antoni knows how to coach basketball as opposed to some gimmicky offense like SSOL.
Gasol should not get traded until we've seen what this team can do together with nash back at the pg position. Gasol's ability to execute in the half court could be the difference between a title or lack thereof.