O.C. Register: As if they weren’t already good enough, the Lakers are just starting to understand how they can be better.
More Pau Gasol.
We’re not talking about karaoke or ping-pong, where Gasol has already sold his teammates this season on his astounding prowess. We’re talking about simply getting the basketball to the gentle giant more often.
Here’s something that was very wrong during the Lakers’ 11-1 start: Derek Fisher had 123 field-goal attempts (and shot 35 percent on them), whereas Gasol had 142 attempts (and shot 52 percent on them).
In the Lakers’ 12th victory, Gasol shot 9 for 12 from the field, scoring 26 points to lead the Lakers over New Jersey on a night when Kobe Bryant was off (5 for 17 from the field, 12 points). And Lakers coach Phil Jackson acknowledged afterward that the Lakers need to be mindful of going to Gasol, who isn’t going to demand the ball the way that a certain former Lakers big man coached by Jackson did.
“With Pau, we’d like to get him more post-up opportunities, especially when he has to play forward a lot,” Jackson said. “So we a lot of times have to engineer something to get him in the post.”
Jackson wants 10-15 post touches per game for Gasol, which can get lost in the shuffle when the Lakers do not operate with the attitude that 7-footers Andrew Bynum and Gasol are interchangeable. Jackson considers it unfair to ask Bynum, still developing as a center at 21, to execute a face-up game at power forward on a regular basis. So Bynum is supposed to go to the post first – although if Gasol is there, Bynum doesn’t have to face up when occupying the pinch-post spot on the weak side of the triangle offense.