Compare these two players:
Player A: 11.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists on 44.7 percent shooting.
Player B: 12.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, 3.6 assists on 44.9 percent shooting.
Neither of them looks like Pau Gasol on paper, but one of them is. Player A is Glen Davis, who is having a career year with the Orlando Magic. Player B is Pau Gasol, who is having the worst season of his illustrious career.
What has happened to Pau Gasol? There is no doubt he has been negatively impacted by the arrival of Dwight Howard, but most notably, Mike D’Antoni. Gasol has been widely regarded as one of the best low-post threats in the league. However, D’Antoni’s arrival while ushering in a new offensive philosophy has put Gasol in a conundrum.
Gasol no longer operates on the block unless Howard is out of the game and has seen his crunch-time minutes greatly reduced. More importantly, his shot attempts at the rim and from three to nine feet are at a career low as he only attempts 3.4 per game at the rim and 2.0 from three to nine feet.
Despite being one of the most skilled bigs in the NBA, it is clear to see that Gasol is uncomfortable playing as a stretch 4, which D’Antoni’s offense relies upon. Regardless, Pau needs to be more assertive when he faces up from the elbow and continue to work the high-low action with Howard. Mike D’Antoni also needs to understand his personnel and adapt some schemes to fit Gasol’s game if he is ever going to mesh with this offense.