How LA Lakers Inside-Out Strategy Maximizes Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol

Kobe Bryant’s season-ending surgery has turned the Los Angeles Lakers into an inside-out basketball club. The emphasis on interior play places a huge emphasis on maximizing the talents of Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol.

Bryant and Steve Nash missed the final two games of the 2012-13 regular season, which forced the Lakers to rely on their pair of future Hall of Fame big men.

With the starting backcourt out of commission, Mike D’Antoni turned the offense over to his big men, and they have made him look smart.

Gasol became a “power point-forward”, essentially starting and even finishing some of the plays for the Lakers. Although few have made the comparison, D’Antoni has transformed the Spaniard into Chris Webber.

The two-time world champion is being used at the elbows and on the low block where defenses simply cannot contain him. His combination of footwork, post moves, passing and basketball IQ have made him arguably the most potent offensive weapon for the Purple and Gold.

In the final two regular season games, Gasol’s saw his usage rate jump from 19.6 to 22.5 when compared with his figure for the entire campaign. He rewarded D’Antoni’s strategy by averaging 12 points, 18 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game.

The increased workload on offense also directly impacted his overall activity. Gasol attacked the glass harder, made decisive cuts towards the basket and consistently looked for his teammates.

The Lakers have benefited from his play and used it as a springboard for the playoffs.

In the opening game of the Lakers’ postseason run, the Spaniard produced similar numbers and had the same effect on the offensive side. Gasol is a great pressure release point as well as a gifted big man.

By using him as a facilitator, the Lakers have minimized the load of their perimeters players. That’s important ...

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