Why Pau Gasol Will Be the Key to L.A. Lakers’ Postseason Success

With Kobe Bryant probably down for the count and the Los Angeles Lakers' playoff chances in serious jeopardy, the burden falls on Pau Gasol to lead the Lakers to postseason success (via ESPN).

Notching up a triple-double in the Lakers' victory over the Golden State Warriors, Gasol's versatility will be essential in trying to fill the chasm left by Bryant's absence. 

During the Lakers' recent resurgence, Bryant had taken on the role of facilitator on top of his traditional scoring role.

Now that he's been taken out of commission and Steve Nash is still dealing with lingering injuries himself, it's on Gasol to be the primary facilitator. 

Through Bryant, the offense was centered around drive-and-kicks and passing out of double teams. Gasol's style of play is far different. 

Utilizing both the low post and the high post to initiate his offense, Gasol's skills as a pivot scorer, as well as his court vision, allow the offense to be funneled through him.

While the pick-and-roll between Nash (once he returns) and one of the two big men is a feasible option, the Lakers have found the most success with Gasol and Dwight Howard operating in the high and low posts, respectively.

However, this success was founded with most of the attention being diverted onto Bryant. With Kobe out, the defense can pay more attention to both of the big men.

Dwight Howard has never been a versatile scorer. Whether it be through offensive rebounds, utilizing his strength in the paint or via the pick-and-roll, his offense hinges on his physical dominance and athleticism.

With flaws in his post moves and his ability to create for himself from the post positions, Howard cannot be relied on to carry the Lakers' offense. 

While Howard is offensively flawed, Nash has shown flashes of his former self when healthy. However, his injury woes this seaso...

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