While Mike Brown continues to toy with his rotation in hopes of finding the right combo to put more points on the board, he might be better served taking a page out of the Triangle when it comes to coaching Pau Gasol. For whatever reason Brown sees Gasol as your prototypical Euro big who would prefer to shoot twenty footers than catch the ball with one foot in the paint.
In all his desire to make Andrew Bynum the focal point of the offense in the low post Brown has left Gasol out on the perimeter. While Pau has never been a low post banger he’s far from a seven-footer with range. Gasol would rather do his work in the paint than on the perimeter and he said as much.
“I would like to get a little more inside, myself. I always like to have different looks and be able to attack from different angles. A little too many jumpers for my taste. I’d like to get a couple of more looks inside the paint. That will increase the shooting percentage.”
To Gasol’s credit he’s taking the open shots when they come his way. He’s not making many of them but that’s what happens when you’re being forced into a role you’ve never played in.
Whatever Brown’s vision was of how Gasol would best contribute to the offense isn’t panning out. When you look back at the usage of Bynum and Gasol in the triangle there was a clear blueprint established allowing both men to get touches in areas they were most comfortable and effective.
Time for Brown to revisit some of those principles that were abandoned upon his hire. Asking Gasol to be a shooter is like asking George W. Bush to be accountable. Some things will just never happen.
As the Lakers continue to struggle on offense it is obvious that some redefining of certain roles must occur. Putting Pau on the perimeter is a clear misuse of his talents. He’s not a good enough threat that defenses will be stretched trying to defend him outside. By the same taken when he does get to play with his back to the hoop it comes in unusual circumstances against the flow of the offense.
The season might be young but a lot of these issues are already old. It is perfectly understandable that there are growing pains as Brown’s offense is grafted onto his new roster. However it is impossible to comprehend how an All-Star such as Gasol would be asked to play completely outside of himself.
Coach Brown gets credit for keeping the ship afloat despite all the early season turmoil. Still what remains to be seen is what his plan was to get more offensive production in place. The whole world knew that his strength was coaching up team defense and his weakness offense. So far both have proven accurate. If Brown wants to prove he can coach a title contending offense then he’ll start by putting his best players in position to produce. Asking Pau to change his game just to suit the offense is foolish and ill-advised. You wouldn’t ask Kobe Bryant to start posting up exclusively. Asking Pau to camp out on the perimeter is the equivalent and explains a lot of what has plagued the Lakers’ offense.