New Year’s is rapidly approaching and soon countless amounts of people will be striving to uphold their weight loss resolutions. It’s no surprise that Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant is attempting to get his friend and teammate, Pau Gasol, to get a head start on his diet this December.
According to Bill Paschke of the Los Angeles Times, the Black Mamba is in the midst of his weight-loss regimen and hoping to sway Gasol into joining him by dropping some pounds:
I told him I thought the thing that really helped me out, I dropped some weight. I told him he should probably measure it himself, see if that's something he needs to do himself. As we get older, our metabolism slows, we quietly become a little heavy.
Bryant isn’t wrong about the quiet weight gain. Gasol’s listed weight is 275 pounds this season, up 25 from the 2012-13 campaign. However, the Spaniard told McMenamin that he’s down to 259 pounds and is playing with the best body fat percentage of his career.
Perhaps the 33-year-old needs to shed a few more pounds in order to jump-start his declining game. Gasol is averaging a mere 14.4 points, 9.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.1 blocks over the first 22 games of the season.
Aside from the boards, these are among the lowest numbers of Gasol’s career and barely better overall than the dismal figures he put up during a much-maligned 2012-13 season.
The power forward’s defense is also suffering, which is a reason why the organization may soon decide to explore potential trades for his services. According to ESPN's Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne, team brass is weighing the option of putting Gasol on the block ahead of February's trade deadline.
While some blame for these struggles can be laid on a mild sprain in Gasol’s right ankle, head coach Mike D’Antoni acknowledged that his Lakers—specifically Gasol—must improve their efforts when it comes to protecting the rim.
"In the paint, we're awful and we've got to get tougher," D’Antoni said before a Tuesday, Dec. 10 game against the Phoenix Suns, per Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times. "If we want to be a good team and if we want to get better, then that's definitely a point of emphasis."
D’Antoni went on to acknowledge that his veteran forward must be more aggressive and Bryant needs to get up to a “great level” before L.A. can start winning games. The club is currently mired in a three-game slump and hasn’t notched a “W” since the Mamba’s return against the Toronto Raptors on Dec. 8.
While the weight loss should help Bryant—who has already lost five pounds since returning to the lineup—and Gasol improve their games, the Lakers cannot count on that being the answer to all their problems.
This team has to improve its chemistry with the future Hall of Fame guard back on the hardwood and find a way to get collectively better soon. The Lakers have a chance to turn things around on Saturday night against the Charlotte Bobcats.