Los Angeles Lakers: Mike D’Antoni Doesn't Know How To Incorporate Pau Gasol

By Lucas Rubio
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni told Mike Trudell that Pau Gasol is “the best center in the NBA.”

So what? Just because D’Antoni admire’s Gasol’s talent (and why wouldn’t he?), doesn’t mean that D’Antoni actually knows how to use Gasol.

Apparently, D’Antoni may once again try and force Gasol to play his system. Should D’Antoni do so, Gasol certainly wouldn’t play like the best center in the NBA.

“Everything is going to be the same we did in Phoenix,” D’Antoni said Sunday, according to the Los Angeles Times.

In other words, even though D’Antoni’s admitted that the pace may be slower for the Lakers than it was in Phoenix, the “basic principles are all the same.” Last season, D’Antoni tried to run those basic principles and produced one of the worst seasons in Lakers’ franchise history. He thought Gasol could help the Lakers win by shooting threes, setting screens, and keeping the bench warm — in other words, by doing everything but what Gasol does best, i.e. post-up.

Chris Kaman’s testimony about D’Antoni’s system lends no reassurance. Kaman told Trudell that because of D’Antoni’s system,“there’s going to be an adjustment period for a lot of guys.” That includes Kaman himself. Could D’Antoni be so ignorant as to think that he can force slow veterans who play best with their backs to the basket (like Gasol and Kobe Bryant) o play his frenetically-paced pick-and-roll offense with success? Good coaches don’t simply rely on a system to win games. Rather, good coaches curate a system to the talents of their players and rely on the team to execute.

Gasol needs to be a center piece on the Lakers‘ offense for the Lakers to win games this year, not a player who needs to “blend in” with the rest of the team, as D’Antoni put it.

Sure, Steve Nash can orchestrate D’Antoni’s system like “our old friend” Ludwig Van orchestrated symphonies (note the Clockwork Orange reference, thank you very much). But the best players on the Lakers, Bryant and Gasol, play best in a slower, more controlled offense, like Phil Jackson‘s triangle offense.

D’Antoni has no excuse to impose his system on the Lakers’ 2013-14 NBA Season. If he continues to refuse to abandon or amend his offense, then he shouldn’t be coaching.

Lucas Rubio is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @PlayerzLeague.

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