But these are not the Lakers of old, and the team's lackluster play is clearly wearing thin.
Gasol could no longer conceal his disappointment after the Lakers' 118-98 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday. He lit into both the players and coach Mike D'Antoni in a remarkably candid post-game diatribe, per ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin:
Pau took a not-so-subtle jab at D'Antoni postgame, saying there is no discipline being administered by the team— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) February 26, 2014
Pau Gasol: "There’s just too many individual actions right now. It’s really not a good flow and rhythm out there."— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) February 26, 2014
More Pau: "We got to be unselfish. If we see a teammate open, we have to make sure that guy gets the ball. Otherwise, it’s really deflating"— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) February 26, 2014
At first blush, a road loss at Indiana wouldn't seem like an ideal moment to call out one's teammates for poor play. After all, the Pacers have the league's best record (43-13) and stingiest defense (96.5 points allowed per 100 possessions). The Lakers simply lost to a far superior team.
Is Gasol correct in his statement that the players are being selfish? It's hard to say that Los Angeles is being done in by a lack of ball movement. They came in Tuesday ranked ninth in the NBA in total assists.
Furthermore, the Lakers are still breaking in a new pair of teammates. Both starting forward Kent Bazemore and reserve guard MarShon Brooks played with L.A. for only the third time since being traded from the Golden State Warriors last week. Given the number of new players on the roster, it's not surprising that the offense lacks a bit of flow.
In reality, the Lakers are losing games because they are not nearly big nor talented enough to survive the rigors of an NBA season. Injuries to veterans like Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash have decimated the club, and they rank in the bottom third in the league in turnover rate (20th), opponent turnover rate (29th), offensive rebound rate (28th) and defensive rebound rate (30).
Any team that can't hold onto the ball or get it away from the opponent, that can't grab a rebound on either end of the court, isn't likely to win many games.
This isn't the first time Gasol—who will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season—has called out the coach in his walk year. He feuded with D'Antoni over his lack of post touches in December, per the Los Angeles Times'