Writers’ Roundtable: Lakers Starting 5 Training Camp To-Do’s
What does Lakers PF Pau Gasol need to work on during training camp?
Josh Sexton: Playing with his old mojo. Pau Gasol now knows his place as the Lakers’ starting power forward is safe. The Spaniard survived all of the trade rumors that have haunted him the last year. Gasol certainly didn’t play bad last season (he averaged a career-low in points per game), but he certainly didn’t play with the same fervor he did in previous seasons. Knowing he is safe from trade rumors, and getting to play alongside Nash and Howard, will hopefully result in a rejuvenated Pau.
Suki Thind: Gasol needs to work on asserting himself offensively. Although the Princeton offense should utilize the complete repertoire of moves Gasol has, he has to be aggressive on the offensive end of the floor. He’ll have to fill in for Dwight Howard at the center position for a while, so hopefully that will get him in a good rhythm. For training camp, it would be a good idea if he, Nash, and Kobe put their highly intelligent basketball brains together and came up with some offensive plays that utilize all of their incredible skills.
Elizabeth Benson: Pau Gasol has survived numerous rumors and close calls on leaving the Lakers via a trade. With Nash’s presence in the lineup, there are some pretty high expectations for Pau this season. Pau needs to work with Nash to develop an effective pick-and-roll/pop game. Additionally, Pau needs to continue to work on his jump shot, as I have a feeling he will have a ton of opportunities for open looks. As with the last few seasons, I think Pau needs to work on his aggressiveness as far as inserting himself on defense.
Jabari Davis: Much was made of Gasol’s productivity and usage during last year’s breakout season for Andrew Bynum, but I find it difficult to believe averages of 17ppg/10reb as a 3rd option should be dismissed. Folks are accustomed to seeing Gasol work from the post (primarily), but outside of potentially filling in for a healing Dwight Howard to start the season that may be a thing of the past. That isn’t to say Gasol isn’t fully capable of still providing such output. I, for one, commend and appreciate Gasol’s willingness to adapt his game while adjusting to a new role. Part of why Mitch Kupchak was an absolute genius during the off-season is because he was also able to hold on to Gasol. He’ll certainly come in handy if Howard isn’t fully available to start the year.
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