Mike D’Antoni Has Removed ‘Bench’ Label, But Has Pau Gasol? Reviewed by Momizat on . Pau Gasol has two NBA Championships and is a four-time NBA All-Star. His list of accolades, which include NBA Rookie of the Year and Second and Third Team All-N Pau Gasol has two NBA Championships and is a four-time NBA All-Star. His list of accolades, which include NBA Rookie of the Year and Second and Third Team All-N Rating:
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Mike D’Antoni Has Removed ‘Bench’ Label, But Has Pau Gasol?

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Pau Gasol and Mike D'AntoniPau Gasol has two NBA Championships and is a four-time NBA All-Star. His list of accolades, which include NBA Rookie of the Year and Second and Third Team All-NBA, could fill up this page. He’s also known as one of the best Spaniards to ever play the game of basketball. And, he is also coming off the bench for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Is he happy about it? Not particularly, as he told reporters on Time Warner Cable SportsNet after their win against the Oklahoma City Thunder Sunday evening, but it’s not going to change the way he plays the game.

“Whatever coach decides, whether I like it or not or whether I agree with it or not, I’m still going to go out there and do my job.”

Pau Gasol’s first game as a member of the Lakers second unit was January 17th, when the Lakers lost 99-90 to the Miami Heat. Gasol, however, had just missed several games due to a concussion, and was told his coming off the bench was to help him ease into things. He didn’t expect this to become his new role, and after five games of not being in the starting line-up, Pau admitted the difficulties at Lakers practice Monday morning.

“It’s hard for anybody who considers themselves one of the top players in the world to say, ‘Okay, I’m okay with coming off the bench.’”

And, although Gasol has vowed to accept his role “with professionalism and putting the team first,” his teammates still understand that Gasol wants to be in that starting five. As a matter of fact, Kobe said that loud and clear at Lakers practice Monday morning.

“He’s not happy with that [expletive]. He’s not ever going to be happy with that…but it’s just the attitude of this team that we’re just doin’ whatever it takes to win.”

Bryant also went on to explain that Gasol being unhappy with coming off the bench is a completely normal emotion, but it doesn’t change their goal, to win. Even Steve Blake, who will be returning for Tuesday night’s game, described Gasol as “continuously a pro,” despite clearly wanting to be a starter.

“I know he still wants to be a starter and be a star out there.”

Pau Gasol has now come off the bench for five consecutive games. Many have attributed Gasol’s new role as a product of Earl Clark’s recent emergence, but as Kobe Bryant explained in an interview with ESPN Radio Monday afternoon, Gasol in the second unit has more to do with him being a true center than anything else. This might have been the same mentality behind this statement by D’Antoni at practice Monday morning.

“I don’t consider him (Pau) a bench player anyway.”

Is it possible for a player to come of the bench, but not really be a ‘bench’ player? Probably. But, the reality is that although the NBA is a conglomerate of professionals, it’s also a testosterone driven, ego breeding ground, which doesn’t make it easy to put pride aside. If anyone can do it, it’s Pau. The interesting part is that Pau Gasol admits the adjustment from being a star starter to coming off the bench is mental and can be controlled.

“It’s all mental. How much are you willing to accept a new situation? How much are you willing to put a lot of things aside that might interfere with that and if you’re able to do it and capable to do it, you can make it work and make it look great. And make it look perfect but its all your mind, its all controlled by our brains.”

It’s a lot harder said than done. And, it seems that although D’Antoni has removed the ‘bench’ label from his own vision of Pau Gasol, the All-Star 7-footer, hasn’t quite removed it from his.


VIDEO: Pau Gasol Talks About The Difficulties of Coming Off The Bench


For more practice videos, click here.

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About The Author

Serena Winters is the Lead Reporter for Lakers Nation. Besides out-eating the rest of the staff, she's most known for carrying snacks with her to all media events. Make sure to follow Serena on Twitter at @SerenaWinters

Number of Entries : 692
  • JohnC

    It’s kind of funny: he does not start the games but he plays the last, most important minutes. Maybe beacuse I am from Spain I consider myself to be a fan of Gasol’s before an LA fan (if Gasol moved to another team, I would stop opening this website and go to the other team’s, to give you an example); however, I understand one of the two centers should sacrifice… only, based on the ‘overall contribution’, I think no center nowadays can give more than Pau to his team… one mistake by Pau is multiplied by x6; one by Dwight, forgotten quickly; I no doubt would sit Howard. But selling t-shirts is of the main issues here…


      And therefore, (If Gasol moved to another team), I would open this website and not have to read your ‘patriotically motivated’ & ‘equivocado’ comments.

  • hookedonnews

    I don’t know why you cannot be a star and come off the bench. Manu Ginobli does it, and he doesn’t have a problem with it. The bench is the Lakers weak link. Bringing Gasol off the bench is a huge boost for their efficiency. Everyone talks about Pau’s confidence having been affected by all the trade talk, but he doesn’t appear to have any self esteem issues. If anything, he may be over-estimating his star status. Hopefully he will do what’s best for the team. He’s being well paid. If he wants another ring he’ll do what he’s being paid to do.

    • nlruizjr

      how do you know Manu is ok with coming off the bench, plus the fact that Manu hasn’t contributed what Gasol has contributed, you can’t measure the two,now if they asked Parker to come off the bench then that would be a different story.

      • Juwan88

        Manu hasn’t contributed?!?

      • hookedonnews

        Manu has been as important to the Spurs as Gasol has been for the Lakers. Have you heard him complaining about coming off the bench? Neither has anyone else.

    • JohnC

      Over-estimating… what?? Watch last summer’s Olympics Finals, when Chandler and Kevil Love shrinked and that whole bunch of All-Stars had the only preocupation of stopping Pau to win the gold medal. Not to talk about two rings beating Dwight and the whole bigs of Boston with Bynum injured + Odom in bad shape. The balance D’Antoni seeks is a player who can make a second line of guards play great, work as a unit + who can score when necessary… Pau. Find another big guy in the game capable of doing the same instead of just adding big individual stats.

      • hookedonnews

        I never questioned his playing abilities, although I haven’t seen him playing as well as he did in the Olympics since the season started. He has played year round for the last 4 years, and that might account for the knee tendinitis, the plantar fasciitis, etc. which are no doubt part of the reason he didn’t play that great at the beginning of the season. Yes, he has contributed to winning championships, but not lately. I said that he might be over-estimating his “star status.” I don’t think anyone believes he has the star power of a Kobe, Lebron, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, etc. That was my point. I know he’s a great player, but his ego seems to be getting in the way of trying to do what’s best for the team. I agree that he’s a great addition to the bench, and has played really well the last few games. However, you rarely hear players speaking about being “star starters.” That was what I was talking about.

  • nlruizjr

    come on Dantoni, find some minutes for Ebanks !!!!!!!!!!

  • Nate

    Odom accepted it. Pau should too.


    Look out for Earl Clark and all that skilled Pau-wow jazz razzamataz… This dude is only just beginning to sniff his own ‘Clark Kent’ razzamataz potential.

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