It’s Flat Out Wrong to Write Off Pau Gasol’s Importance to LA Lakers Success

The Los Angeles Lakers have an opportunity to participate in the postseason this year, but this can only happen with Pau Gasol’s contributions.

It’s not so much that their success is predicated on the Spaniard’s play, but his presence on the Lakers often mitigates the way Kobe Bryant monopolizes the offense.

Indeed, Steve Nash’s playmaking and shooting are sorely missing. But it’s worth pointing out that Mike D’Antoni had made the decision to play him off the ball earlier in the year.

Bryant, in turn, became the team’s primary ball handler and the Lakers have operated this way for most of the second half of the season. Consequently, the former league MVP has been involved in several isolation plays.

The Laker offense has increasingly morphed into the Kobe System, with Bryant more than likely greeting his teammates with a sly line of “you’re welcome” every time he sets them up for a score.

Surprisingly, the offense has been good if not great despite functioning under these peculiar conditions. Some might be quick to throw praise in direction of Bryant for the successful scoring operation, but that would be giving him far too much credit.

The two-time Finals MVP is enjoying one of his greatest seasons ever, but the isolation heavy basketball has worked because of Gasol.

The Spaniard is one of the few active players on the team that has been through a multitude of battles with Bryant and understands how to play with and off him. His movements are typically executed in concert with those of the four-time All-Star Game MVP.

Indeed, Gasol can quickly jump into pick-and-rolls with Bryant, cut to the basket or run straight post ups with the Lakers all-time leading scorer.

In addition, when opposing teams throw an extra defender at the five-time world champion, Gasol usually shakes loose for a pass ...

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