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NBA Los Angeles Lakers

Pau Gasol Is The Only One Who Can Bring The Lakers To The Playoffs

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers just want to win. They’re a team that was strategically formed to win, both games and a championship.

So far, the endless work of Mitchell Kupchak, the Lakers General Manager, has been in vain. Injuries, coaching and defense are three factors that have greatly altered the Lakers ability to win, and those are things that Kupchak can’t fix for them. However, an intelligent, experienced player like Pau Gasol can.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Pau Gasol and Mike D’Antoni met at a Manhattan Beach restaurant on Wednesday night to discuss their differences. D’Antoni’s coaching doesn’t consider the frontcourt, thus the Lakers consistent losing has been shifted to Gasol.

D’Antoni recognizes how the league is changing. It’s becoming more guard centered instead of big man centered. The D’Antoni system is developed around this reality.

However, this changes is occurring because most NBA teams lack big men, while there are a number of superb guards. The Lakers don’t need to be a team that’s dependent on the guard because they still have three near seven-footers on their roster. One being Gasol, and the others, Dwight Howard and Jordan Hill. In addition, the Lakers will have Robert Sarce once he starts developing. The D’Antoni system leaves Gasol, Hill and Howard out.

Gasol has never been given the respect that he deserves. He’s consistently been subjected to trade rumors. And, this has harmed his ability to be picky and vocal. He doesn’t make demands or requests in management decisions like other players do (Kobe Bryant specifically).

Gasol has help put banners up in the Staples Center but is rumored to be on the trade block every few months.

In reality, Gasol is 32-years old and makes $19 million per season. He has one more year on his contract for $19.3 million. He isn’t going anywhere. No team out there will give him that kind of money.

Howard, as it stands now, probably isn’t too keen on staying in LA. The Lakers aren’t the team that Howard thought that he was being traded to. He went from a team that can’t beat the Toronto Raptors to a team that can barely beat the Charlotte Bobcats.

Gasol’s relationship with Bryant and long tenure with the Lakers give his opinion more weight. While, D’Antoni’s system isn’t a logical choice for the Lakers.

Pressuring coaches to implement a system that includes Gasol, Howard and Hill will focus more on defense as big men are the defensive unit of the team.