Much was made last season of Mike D’Antoni’s usage of Pau Gasol last season. He never seemed to fully be able to integrate Gasol into his offense in the same lineup with Dwight Howard which led to Gasol coming off the bench at one point last season.
With Howard gone, Gasol will assume the starting center role for the Lakers next season and will be a focal point for the offense. D’Antoni is looking forward to this coming season and,in an interview with Mike Trudell, heaped lots of praise on his big man:
But let me say this about Pau Gasol: to me, he’s the best center in the NBA. I can say that now, and whether I’m totally 100 percent right, people can argue with me. They may rank him second, or third, or eighth. I don’t know, but his pedigree is he wins at everything he does. He has two championships (and international titles). I don’t think there’s even an argument about who the most skilled big man is, when you put it all together.
Gasol’s skills and talents have never been in question and even though his numbers have dipped over the last couple of years, Gasol is still consistently mentioned amongst the elite big men in the NBA for his scoring abilities, as well as his top notch passing.
This season Gasol has a chance to really cement himself as the best center in the NBA, a title now often given to his younger brother Marc. If he is able to prove his coach right, the Lakers will be very thankful for it.