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Lakers Rumors: Unhappy Pau Gasol Must Get More Touches in the Post

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 14:  Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers takes a shot in front of Brian Cook #34 of the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on January 14, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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Bob BajekAnalyst IIIJanuary 25, 2012

Los Angeles Lakers forward/center Pau Gasol isn't getting too many touches in the post, and he isn't happy about it.

The 7-foot Spaniard voiced his concern to the Orange County Register that Lakers coach Mike Brown is having him on the perimeter too much. Gasol is too valuable a commodity to have as a facilitator and must get more touches inside if the Lakers are going to succeed.

So far this season, the Lakers have staggered to an uncharacteristic 10-8 record. This mark is so unusual that if the playoffs started today, Los Angles would find themselves on the outside looking in.

Part of the reason why the Lakers are under-performing is Brown's new offensive approach. Brown has center Andrew Bynum in the post while Gasol is roaming the perimeter as a facilitator.

With former coach Phil Jackson's triangle offense, Gasol was in the post more, as that offense calls for fluid passing and frequent rotations.

Brown wants Bynum to be a low post scorer because of his physicality, while Gasol is more of a finesse player.

The Spaniard is having a hard time adjusting to that role, averaging just 15.8 points a game. That is three points below his average in his first three seasons with the Lakers.

Not only is Gasol's scoring down, but his shooting efficiency has taken a hit playing mostly on the perimeter. He is making just 50.9 percent of his shots, which is the lowest during his Lakers' tenure. 

Brown needs to be more flexible and allow Gasol to play more in the paint. He is a solid scorer (over 14,000 career points) who was instrumental in helping the Lakers to two NBA titles and three NBA Finals appearances in four years.

Gasol was, and should remain, the second scoring option behind superstar Kobe Bryant. Bryant and Gasol are a formidable duo. Kobe needs more help, and Gasol has proven he can support the Black Mamba well.

And the Lakers should be concerned in keeping their second-best player happy, as he was almost traded to the Houston Rockets in the Chris Paul deal that never happened.

Brown needs to show Gasol he values his post presence significantly, and all the coach has to do is give him more touches inside. A more effective Gasol will lead to more wins.

 

Bob Bajek is an NBA Featured Columnist. He is also a freelance reporter and can be followed at Patch.com and Twitter.

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