Should the Lakers Bring Pau Gasol off the Bench?

The honeymoon period is over for the Los Angeles Lakers and their new coach Mike D'Antoni.

Sitting 7-7 (3-2 under D'Antoni), the Lakers may once again be searching for an identity. They opened the D'Antoni era with home wins over the Houston Rockets and Brooklyn Nets, then suffered a 16-point loss in Sacramento to the lowly Sacramento Kings.

While this team clearly misses point guard Steve Nash (who's fractured fibula rehab still lacks a return table, according to ESPN LA's Dave McMenamin), they may be in need of a bigger shake-up than just his return.

For starters, their bench has managed just 22.3 points per game (the second-fewest points of any NBA second team, according to Antawn Jamison (5.7 points per game) and Jodie Meeks (4.8) have struggled to find any consistent offense in the early goings. Devin Ebanks and Jordan Hill aren't offensive players, and Chris Duhon and Darius Morris may well be relegated to the end of the bench when Nash and Steve Blake get healthy.

Pau Gasol has also struggled through the first 14 games. His 13.4 points per game are four points fewer than he's ever averaged in a season. His 43.4 field-goal percentage (also a career low) has him on pace for just his second sub-50 percent shooting performance in 12 NBA seasons.

Perhaps moving Gasol to the second unit would both kick start his production and give their bench mob the bona fide scorer that they thought they had in Jamison and Meeks.

During his six-plus seasons in Memphis to start his career, Gasol was the focal point of his team's offense. He never averaged fewer than 17.6 points per game as a member of the Grizzlies. These plentiful touches may also have played a factor in posting career bests in assists (4.6) and blocks (2.1) during his tenure.

With L.A., though, he's fallen to the third or even fourth option on offense. His field-goal percentage has dipped in each of his fiv...

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