The Size Factor
That brings us to another point. If the Lakers traded for anyone of lesser height than Gasol, the size advantage the Lakers have boasted for several years would basically turn into a size disadvantage.
The Lakers gave up one seven-footer in Andrew Bynum, but that was in an effort to acquire the best Center in the league in Dwight Howard.
The pairing between Gasol and Howard works so beautifully because if ever Howard were too undersized to deal with an opponent, Gasol could simply switch places with him.
In essence, even though he’s the starting Power Forward, the Lakers still have one legitimate seven-footer in the starting lineup.
Trading for Smith would seriously hinder the Lakers in that department, as their front court would stand at 6’7″ (Metta World Peace), 6’9″ (Smith), and 6’11 (Howard, who actually appears to be closer to 6’10”).
Sure, maybe the smaller lineup would work better for the “Showtime” aspect of it all, but remember that guy whose statue was just erected on Saturday? I think his name was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and he was a part of the greatest display of “Showtime” at 7’2″ and won titles in his late 30s; his last one at age 41 alongside the run-and-gun team.
Again, I’m not trying to compared Gasol to the great Abdul-Jabbar, but just explain that a run-and-gun type of offense has worked before with an old, slow player on a team before, and worked to perfection, actually.
It would have been a problem with last season’s lineup of Gasol and Bynum, but now the Lakers have Dwight Howard who can fill the lane better than any Center in the league today, and better than many wing players, in reality.
That leaves room for one relatively slow seven-footer on the team, in my book.
The Lakers don’t necessarily have the size they had last season, but Howard is an obvious defensive upgrade over Bynum, and teams still have a lot of difficulty scoring over the Lakers’ two big men.
To trade Pau for a player of lesser size would certainly make things easier for opponents to score in the lane. Sure, Smith’s athleticism would help out in transition defense, but come playoff time, I’d rather have a seven-footer would can help plug the lane and rotate over to cover Dwight Howard when he leaves his man and goes to help out the rest of his team during half-court sets.
Simply put, the Lakers have a size advantage over the league and would be crazy to give that up and put themselves in the exact opposite position.
Next Page: The Final Buzzer