Laker legend Magic Johnson being disappointed about this Laker team is an understatement. Earlier today, he went on a diatribe on his Twitter account about how badly the Lakers are doing. One of his tweets was directed towards Pau Gasol (and Dwight Howard, too, in the same tweet).
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) January 7, 2013
Pau is probably not going to be averaging 18 points and 10 rebounds in this system but I see Magic’s point here. Gasol is averaging a career-low 12.2 points and is doing decent at the boards at 8.4 rebounds. The problem is that he’s had many disappearing acts this season such as going 2-12 against Philadelphia and scoring only two points against the Clippers. Compared to those games, Gasol played relatively well in their loss against Denver when he went 5-9 and scored 11 points.
Still, you expect more production out of Pau. Part of it is the system, obviously, as Mike D’Antoni insists that Gasol be on the perimeter more than on the post. But when Gasol does go on the post, he hasn’t been great, either, and is basically bringing feathers in a slugfest on the block. The plantar fasciitis on his feet and the knee tendinitis on both knees have taken a toll on Gasol but there are times, too, when he’s shown some explosiveness (remember that clinching dunk against New York?). You wonder if he’s still really hurt or he’s lost that much confidence on his game.
And if it’s the latter, then Magic is right; Pau has to bring it and bring it strong. While Magic charged that Dwight is complaining too much, Pau seems to be giving out a couple of excuses, too. So what Pau has to do is just be more vocal on the court, demand the ball, and do what he does best on the block. He can still be effective in this offense that doesn’t fit him; he just has to be more assertive and aggressive.
Otherwise, Pau will continue to be called soft and get really, really lame names like “Gasoft.” Hopefully, he’ll get aggressive when he returns from a concussion that he suffered in their loss against Denver.