It is surprising to see the Los Angeles Lakers in the position that they are in.
With a record of 8-10, Laker fans are starting to panic. With, arguably, the best starting five in basketball, this season the Lakers have experienced low after low.
The losses of Steve Nash and Steve Blake to injury, the firing of Mike Brown and with the introduction of a new system, the losses just keep piling up.
Critics are either questioning new coach Mike D’Antoni or some are blaming Pau Gasol’s slow adjustment to the new offensive system.
Some Laker fans are calling for the departure of 4 times All-star Gasol but is that the key to a future rejuvenated Laker team? I don’t think so and here’s why.
If the Lakers decide to trade Pau, my guess is D’Antoni will get a shooter in return to fit in his system. A move like that can harm the Lakers in more ways then improve them as a team.
There aren’t many other players in the league who can post-up, shoot the basketball and pass the ball as well as Pau Gasol.
In his first three years as a Laker, the team made it to the NBA Finals winning 2 out of 3 but since going out at the Western Conference semi finals the blame has been unfairly placed on Gasol.
At the tender age of 33 and having only missed 1 game in 2 seasons which included the 2012 Olympics, Pau recently revealed he has been troubled with tendonitis in both knees.
It might seem as an excuse to some but with much needed and deserved rest and recuperation Pau could come back as effective as Laker fans are used to seeing him.
Most people within the basketball world seem to be forgetting about Steve Nash’s absence and his effect on the team. "In Phoenix, we couldn't win without him," D'Antoni (via Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com) had said of Nash. "Not even a game."
It seems he’s having the same effect in Los Angeles. Nash, even at 38, is an offensive genius. His eye for a pass and unselfishness will definitely improve the Lakers on his return.
Nash and even Steve Blake who D’Antoni described as ‘the perfect guy to run my system’ will help Gasol quickly integrate into the new system.
With some much needed rest for Gasol and with the return of Nash and Blake, both the Lakers and Pau Gasol will see improvement and finally the basketball world can see this Laker team live up to their sky-high potential.
image: © Keith Allison