Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol is clearly having trouble adjusting to his new coach Mike D’Antoni, and that is evident by the way he is playing.
Gasol seems lost on the court at times, and for some reason he does not seem as aggressive as he once was. Perhaps it is due to the fact that Gasol is no longer getting the ball in spots that he wants, or maybe Gasol is not putting up quality numbers because he is not getting the minutes he is accustomed to.
Gasol met with coach D’Antoni and the Los Angeles Times reports that the two talked about how they could fix their differences. Gasol told D’Antoni where he would like the receive the ball and he also touched upon his lack of fourth quarter minutes.
Gasol said he wanted the ball in the post instead of on the perimeter and also asked to play in crunch time, among the topics discussed with D’Antoni at a Manhattan Beach restaurant.
“It was to make sure we’re in the same boat,” Gasol said in a quiet moment Thursday after the Lakers’ practice. “We’re trying to reach the same goal. Let’s communicate. Hopefully, we can meet halfway on some points.”
D’Antoni told Gasol he would no longer be benched in crucial situations, according to a person familiar with the conversation.
It seems as though D’Antoni is willing to put trust in Gasol during pivotal stages of games and perhaps the meeting will allow Gasol to get touches where he wants. Gasol is one of the most skilled big men in the NBA, but he has not been playing like it so far this season. The Lakers have won two championships with Gasol in the lineup, and if the franchise wants to win its 17th title, Gasol needs to step up.
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In the 2012-13 season, Gasol has averaged 12.4 points and 8.8 rebounds, numbers that are not very impressive considering his overall body of work. Gasol played extremely well under the Triangle offense and for the most part he was the second option for the team behind Bryant. Even though Gasol is going through an adjustment period due to the fact that he has to take a backseat to Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, he should still be a force on both ends of the court.