After playing in his foundation’s annual celebrity soccer game in Los Angeles and scoring the winning goal, Steve Nash was asked about Pau Gasol as the interior threat this upcoming season.
While the Lakers signed Chris Kaman to replace Dwight Howard, Gasol is surprisingly the ideal center for Mike D’Antoni’s perimeter-oriented offense and is expected to start the season at that position.
According to OC Register’s Kevin Ding, Nash believes it will give the team more fluidity and ball movement on the offensive end:
— KEVIN DING (@KevinDing) July 15, 2013
It’s no surprise that Nash believes Gasol playing at center will ultimately improve the team’s offense. Although Gasol struggled adjusting to Mike D’Antoni’s system, he was phenomenal at the center position during early February before tearing his plantar fascia in his right foot. In this four-game stretch, Gasol averaged 18.5 points and 7.8 rebounds.
Los Angeles should be excited to watch the Gasol/Nash pick-and-roll this upcoming season. Gasol has the ability to finish in the lane, make jumpshots, and is capable of making the right pass out of the double team — something Howard has difficulties with.
While Gasol has lost his athleticism, his game obviously doesn’t depend on it as he is still one of the best-skilled big men in the league. The Lakers’ front office has done a good job with their limited financial resources of trying to find athletic perimeter players to cover up Gasol’s deficiencies on the defensive end.
In a time where Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett have shifted to the center position, Gasol now returns to his natural position and should enjoy an All-Star caliber season.
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