With the sky-high expectations the Los Angeles Lakers have been confronted with all season long, it may be reasonable for those with a stake in the NBA powerhouse to demand that the front office take action in the aftermath of Pau Gasol's torn plantar fascia.
However, that should not be the course of action by GM Mitch Kupchak. L.A. is finally figuring out Mike D'Antoni's offense, and the roster should remain intact through the Feb. 21 deadline and beyond.
Of course, another injury could change the thinking, but the Lakers don't need to make a knee-jerk transaction to compensate for Gasol's long-term absence. He will reportedly at least six weeks, according to ESPN.
The Lakers have caught on in recent games thanks to superstar scorer Kobe Bryant taking on more of a distributor's role. His largely unprecedented faith in the teammates around him has elevated the play of everyone else.
Another key has been the continually improving chemistry with Steve Nash at point guard. He understands D'Antoni's offense better than anyone, as it won him two MVP awards with the Phoenix Suns.
Gasol had been struggling to adapt to the system, which D'Antoni refused to adjust in order to accommodate the big man's skill set. It's been a career-worst year for Gasol in terms of scoring, as he's averaged just 13.4 points per game in 2012-13.
He has battled through various other injuries prior to this one, and ESPN Stats & Info's Twitter page points out the impact Gasol has had on the Lakers' record:
ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo
With reports that Pau Gasol is out 6 weeks, the Lakers this season are 18-18 when Gasol is active and 5-8 when he's inactive2/6/2013, 11:41:41 PM
That stat may be somewhat alarming, but with Bryant's new role and Nash's progressive assimilation, it is an opportunity for the seemingly misfit role players on this L.A. squad to step up.
Antawn Jamison should emerge as a big scoring threat. His ability to shoot threes and release shots from all different angles makes him a dangerous weapon playing alongside the Lakers' brilliant backcourt.
Since D'Antoni doesn't like to use post players as facilitators for the offense, Gasol's absence eliminates that from the equation despite his track record of supreme effectiveness.
Opportunities for players like Earl Clark, who is also familiar with the offense, will fortify the team as it makes a playoff push. Rookie center Robert Sacre will also get invaluable reps that could result in him becoming a prominent contributor to the Lakers' playoff puzzle.
Defense is somewhat of a concern, but it has shown improvement even without Dwight Howard. Once he returns from his shoulder injury, the Lakers should only continue to make strides.
It may not look pretty right now, and while Gasol's loss is a huge blow, L.A. will be fine with its current roster converging through the second half of the season.
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