Breaking Up Dwight Howard-Pau Gasol Pairing Key to LA Lakers Success

Together, Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard stand to fuel the continuing demise of the Los Angeles Lakers. Separately, though, they stand to save their team.

Believe me when I say that Steve Nash is going to have a profound impact on the Lakers. To say otherwise would be actively refusing to deny the success he's had under Mike D'Antoni and this uptempo offense in the past.

But not even Nash can fix the imbalance that exists when both Gasol and Howard are on the floor. Not completely anyway.

What can?

Ensuring that they're not on the floor together as much as possible, a strategy that Ramona Shelburne of reports the Lakers are already exploring:

If it seemed as if they weren't on the court much together, that wasn't a coincidence. It just might be how it's going to be for the Lakers going forward.

"They probably won't be," Kobe Bryant said bluntly when asked about the Lakers' two post players' lack of side-by-side playing time.

"We did the same thing a few years ago with Andrew [Bynum] and Pau. In the Triangle Pau was never comfortable playing the forward position. Andrew was a center so a lot of times we just split 'em. They both would start, then Andrew would come out and Pau would take center and we'd kind of rotate them out."

Bold? To an extent, but detaching the two actually makes a lot of sense.

Separating them ensures the Lakers have two viable pick-and-roll options on the floor at all times, a luxury they are not afforded when Gasol and Howard receive a majority of their minutes together.

This also allows Gasol to spend more time in the post. Right now, he's on the outside looking in, seemingly a victim of D'Antoni's "one-in, four-out" system.

If he was hitting his jumpers, this wouldn't be an issue. But he's not. He's shooting just 28.8 percent outside of nine feet, an absolutely horrific mark.

About the Author