5 Creative Ways LA Lakers Can Use Pau Gasol to Light His Competitive Fire
Pau Gasol is stalling, and he needs a jolt.
If the Lakers are intent on keeping him, they have to find a way to justify the $19 million a year they're paying him.
In their six November losses, Pau Gasol is averaging eight points per game. That tells you all you need to know about how important he is to their offense.
Sometimes, thinking out of the box and trying something different can provide just the spark needed to ignite the flame.
Make Him Guard the Other Team's Best Front-Court Player, Every Single Night
Motivation by accountability.
Let the whole team know that from now on, Pau Gasol will be guarding the opposing team's toughest big man.
It could improve his focus and determination and give him a bigger role on the team.
If there's one thing I can say with confidence about this game we all love, it's that the positive energy generated from a good defensive play translates to better offense and points on the other end.
How often does the guy who blocks four shots also score 20 in the same game?
It's a mental thing. A confidence thing. So much of this game centers around confidence.
Getting Gasol to get in that "You can't stop me" mode is the mindset he needs to be in.
Feature Him in Big Moments
Tied up with one minute to go? Isolate Pau on the post.
It's a rare opportunity to really get someone going if they can convert. Hitting a big shot and triggering chest-bumps on the bench and a Kobe Bryant fist-pump must do wonders for one's self-esteem.
Even if Gasol misses, it could be a risk worth taking. He either continues to stink, or gets a boost. He's not going to get stinkier than he is now.
Gasol is still one of the most skilled post-players in the game, so it wouldn't be like subbing in 5'4'' Rudy off the bench for his first rep of the season.
All athletes go through slumps. I would know; I'm a Met fan.
You just have to find a way to stop the bleeding. And what better way than giving him a chance to be a hero.
I'm not trying to say threaten him, but yeah, I'm trying to say threaten him.
Sit him down and politely explain that 13 points just doesn't justify 34 minutes of playing time. If that's the rate you're going to produce at, we're going to have to decrease your usage rate and increase someone else's.
I can't imagine Gasol wants to confront the idea that his career could be on the decline. A decrease in minutes could signify just that.
This could increase Gasol's aggressiveness on the offensive end, where he's just been too passive. He's taking two shots less a game this year than he was last.
Give him a reason to want to take things upon himself.
Beat the Pick and Roll to Death
Pick and rolls equal scoring opportunities. Gasol is taking two less shots a game this year, so let's try and change that.
The pick and roll is built for Gasol's game. He's got a soft touch inside and a soft touch in the midrange. Of course they do run this play, but not often enough. Get him going, and keep him going.
When Nash comes back, they should be able to execute at a higher rate. But there's no reason why a Kobe and Gasol pick and roll can't be successfully ran a few times a game.
The pick and roll, or pick and pop should get him the open looks he hasn't been creating for himself.
Gasol didn't just get worse over night. He's just a little lost.
Give him something to do that he knows well. Throw him a life raft.
Make Him Watch 'Gladiator' Before Every Game
I once watched Gladiator before doing the dishes and ended up cleaning the whole damn house.
Get this man one of those 95-inch flat screens, surround sound and a bucket of energy bars and set up a private showing. Every single game day.
Right when the last scene ends, have him run out the tunnel straight into layup lines.
He'll be doing 360 windmills before opening tip.