The Lakers are in free fall and again frustrated after having just been smashed by the Cleveland Cavaliers last night. The Lakers are a prideful organization full of current and former players who have a voice.
The loudest voice has spoken again, and according to ESPN L.A., Magic Johnson feels the Lakers and coach Mike D”Antoni are misusing Pau Gasol.
“When Gasol was on that (low) block, he averaged 18 points, he shot 53 percent from the field and he still is the best passing big man in the game,” Johnson said Tuesday, shortly after introducing Greinke at a news conference at Dodger Stadium. “But you have him at the free-throw line? That makes no sense. That’s not his game.
“His game is to catch it on the low block, face his man, one dribble left or right. He’s got great moves. But now all the blame is on his shoulders, like he’s not performing well? He can’t take that. That’s not who he is.
“They’ve got to put him in a winning situation, because once Gasol starts to play well, I think the team will start to play well. Then you come in with Steve Nash. But you’ve got to get Gasol going. Gasol, to me, is the key to this whole thing. If you continue to have him at the 3-point line, he’s not going to perform well.”
“I don’t understand it,” Johnson said. “The man (Gasol) is an All-Star. He’s seven feet tall for real. The guy can play basketball. He’s one of the smartest players in the league. That’s why we got Zack (Grienke). He’s one of the smartest players in baseball. He watches film. He’s serious about his craft. That’s what we wanted. He can really help the young players.”
Johnson also stated that D’Antoni must be flexible, and able to adjust his system to the players he has.
“I’ve gotta adjust my system a little bit if I’m the coach. That’s all,” Johnson said. “His system doesn’t fit the talent that the Lakers have. You can’t run with this team. Who are the runners? You’ve got one guy who can get up and down the court and that’s Kobe (Bryant).
“Ron (Metta World Peace)? Love him, but he’s slow. Both our big men are not fast guys. So we gotta say, ‘Maybe I should scale it back. I run, if the basket is there, we take it.’ Just like us in ‘Showtime,’ we ran and if we got the layup, good. If not, Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar), come here, bail us out. That’s what you do. That’s basketball.”
Is it time to panic yet Laker nation? Can the return of Steve Nash really erase suck ineptitude?