All week long, our staff writers chime in on a series of topics, rumors and storylines leading up to the start of the season. In today’s edition of State of the Nation, they look at the prospects of a bounce-back season from Lakers forward Pau Gasol.
Now that he has the paint to himself, will Pau Gasol have a bounce-back season?
Alex Lambeth // @AlexLambeth:
Yes. Pau Gasol should have his best individual season now that he is back in his natural center position. Finally healthy, Gasol should replicate what he showed towards the end of last season: two triple-doubles in his final three regular season games.
Jon Gaffer // @jewelslamo:
Pau will always be Pau. He’s never going to dominate in the paint. He’s a ballerina, not a bruiser.
Mark Awad // @MarkeyTheBoss_:
He will have another 2009 year – 19 points and 10 boards a game. Having Dwight just threw his game off. Back in ’09 when the Lakers beat the Magic in the Finals, Gasol severely outplayed Dwight in the post.
Robert Benitez // @beeb0:
Yes. A summer of rest, and more importantly, having peace of mind regarding his position with the Lakers will land Pau a spot in the All-Star game this season.
Ashkan Kargaran // @aakargaran
Absolutely. The addition of Chris Kaman allows Gasol to be the lone post player with shooters, or play a high-low game with another underrated passing big man in Kaman. Pau is still the most effective and efficient big man in the league when he is near the basket.
Bummi Anderson // @BummiNAnderson
Yes. Pau Gasol will have a bounce back season for a lot of reasons, but mostly because he will be back playing in his natural position.
Melvin Taylor // @MelvinTaylorII:
With Howard gone, Pau will have a much larger contribution this year. One aspect that will assist Pau is the play-making ability of Kaman. Chris’ passing ability will create more opportunities for Pau to score.
Oren Levy // @LakersOren:
Pau will have somewhat of a bounce-back season. D’Antoni’s system doesn’t lend itself to a ton of post play, but Pau will have plenty of opportunities to pick and roll, pick and pop, and to make plays from both the high and low block. Expect high assist numbers from the Spaniard, as well as return to the 16-18 point a game scoring average range.
Garrett Garcia // @GarrettGarcia:
During the off-season, Pau spent time conditioning and getting his body where back to where he wants it to be. Now that he has room to roam in the paint, he should flourish naturally. However, D’Antoni likes his 7-footer out on the wing, so we’ll see if he breaks that bad habit and puts Pau back where he belongs.
Anna Gonda // @AnnaLBG:
Pau Gasol needs a bounce-back season, especially since he has the paint to himself. He’s had to adjust his game to fit every teammate, had to face trade rumors that turned true…then not true, and finally, didn’t seem to have the confidence of his coach. In short, if Gasol can’t use this season to remind everyone that the Lakers’ last two championships were won in large part with his production and leadership, then he can at least use it to remind himself. At the expense of sounding corny and trite, greatness comes from within, and that’s what the Lakers need this season – Gasol’s greatness.
Next Question Tomorrow: Will Steve Nash have a bounce-back season now that he is healthy, and has a training camp with Mike D’Antoni to install the offense?