Can Pau Gasol Be an Alpha Dog in Kobe’s Absence?

Pau Gasol is not what most would call an alpha dog. Instead, he's long been known for his cerebral play and versatility. The question really isn't whether he can duplicate Kobe Bryant. It's about being there when it's needed.

In 2010, Gasol was called upon to step it up in a crucial Game 6 in the Finals against the Boston Celtics. The Spaniard answered the call, just missing a triple-double with 17 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists.

With Bryant recuperating from Achilles surgery, Gasol not only needs to revert to championship form, he needs to be a leader. He needs to bring energy, production and his signature passion for the game.


Returning to center

Pau Gasol has often been called the most skilled big man in the game. In recent years, he's been increasingly pushed to the perimeter. When healthy, Andrew Bynum was the obvious low-post presence. Last season, Dwight Howard was the team's new focal point.

As the newly arrived head coach, Mike D'Antoni tried accommodating Howard and positioning Gasol further toward the wing. Sometimes late in games, Pau would be positioned on the bench.

Now that Howard has moved on to Houston, Mike D'Antoni is singing a different tune. In fact, he recently opined that Gasol is a better post player than Dwight.

Gasol and Chris Kaman will share the floor at times this season, often operating out of the Horns offensive set. Gasol, however, will most often be the one down on the block, with Kaman stepping out to hit his highly accurate mid-range jumpers. The Horns set was used to good effect at times last year, and is being featured again this season.

Here we see a good video breakdown of the Lakers using Horns and Pau, courtesy of Silver Screen & Roll. 



But what about the alpha dog?

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