Pau Gasol has been called one of the most talented big men in the NBA, but as of late, the seven-foot forward has been struggling on both ends of the court. His lack of production has led to severe criticism and Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni is open to the possibility of bringing Gasol off the bench.
However, Sports Illustrated reports that Gasol is not willing to take a reserve role. Gasol has been a starter his entire career and he would like to maintain that position for the remainder of the season.
“I’ve never come off the bench in my career,” Gasol said. “(Thursday) was my first game off the bench with the Lakers, maybe a couple other games due to injuries, but that’s it. I’ve been a starter my entire career. I’ve been a star starter my entire career, so I want to continue to be a star starter.”
It is clear that Gasol is not pleased to hear the reports that coach D’Antoni is thinking about placing Earl Clark in the starting five instead of him. D’Antoni brought Gasol off the bench in the Lakers’ loss to the Miami Heat, but there is chance that Gasol will be playing with the second unit for the foreseeable future.
This season, Gasol has averaged a career-low 12.2 points per game and is shooting a disappointing 42 percent from the field. The Lakers need Gasol to return to his former state if they want to make a push for the post-season. However, if the Spaniard cannot get it together, the Lakers may end up dealing him.