If there was any player that should benefit immensely from the Los Angeles Lakers’ new acquisitions, it might be Pau Gasol.
This is not to say that Kobe Bryant won’t benefit from Steve Nash’s perspicacious passing vision and the extra attention that Dwight Howard will receive. Or that Howard will not enjoy playing with talented players that accentuate his interior dominance. Or that Nash won’t be the perfect liaison in an offense with a surplus of talent.
But Gasol was criminally underused last season. He converted on 47.3% of his post-up possessions last season, according to MySynergySports, which amounted to 0.95 points per possession (PPP). Instead, the Lakers relied heavily on Bryant isolations and Andrew Bynum post-ups, two less efficient modes of attack. The Lakers would have improved by nine points per 100 possessions had they swapped Bryant isolations for Gasol post-ups.
If anyone can actualize Gasol’s full potential in the Lakers’ offense, it would be Nash. They are also good friends and an occasional dinner between the two will help them cope with the inevitable frustrations that result from playing with Bryant. (Unless they really dominate like Metta World Peace believes they will. Then they won’t mind as much.)
On Sunday (Gasol) will be in LA for dinner that awaits Steve Nash.
“For me it was a great joy (to sign) Nash,” Gasol told Marca.com. “He is the most unselfish player in the NBA. I’m excited to play with Steve and all that he brings.”
While Bryant will continue to hoist ill-advised 19-footers, as it is a central focus of his game, the Lakers will need to delve away from his shot creating occasionally if they intend to utilize Nash’s skills optimally.
Plus, Gasol and Nash could be a successful pick-and-roll pairing, as both are excellent passers for their position and Gasol can extend the defense from 16-23 feet. Gasol struggled as the roll man last season but that trend can be reversed with Nash on the floor.
And if Gasol does not succeed in his new environment, and he should thrive, at least he can enjoy a nice dinner with a good friend.
That is not such a bad alternative.