Pau Gasol Should Be Ahead of Howard in Lakers' Offensive Pecking Order

Maxwell Ogden@MaxwellOgdenCorrespondent IIIDecember 15, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 13:  Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers talks to Dwight Howard #12 and Kobe Bryant #24 during the game against the San Antonio Spurs at Staples Center on November 13, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  The Spurs would win 84-82.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

In order to discover their desired results, Pau Gasol must be ahead of Dwight Howard in the Los Angeles Lakers' offensive pecking order.

According to the Sulia page of Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles, both Kobe Bryant and Mike D'Antoni are aware of just that. Upon Gasol's return from injury, they plan on acting on that knowledge.

It's all a matter of the proper execution.

"When Pau [Gasol] gets back, we’re going to play through him a great deal," Bryant said. "Probably at the start of the shot clock, we’ll move around the perimeter, this that and the other. Last 10 seconds of the shot clock, when we don’t have anything, we’ll post [Gasol] up then he can make plays and make guys better, which he’s fantastic at."

"If we run our offense right, [Gasol] will get plenty of opportunities and he should get them," D'Antoni said. "He should be involved in every play. But when you start pinpointing things and you go to it, I think that’s when you get in trouble."

Both men hit the nail on their head with their analyses. Gasol is the key to everything.

This is not to sell Howard short on the offensive end of the floor. D-12 is an elite pick-and-roll finisher who could potentially lead the Lakers to the promise land by running that very play.

After all, Steve Nash is one of the all time masters of that very play from a facilitator's standpoint.

What it acknowledges, however, is that the Lakers have one of the game's elite offensive orchestrators in Pau Gasol. To limit his contributions in any manner would be nothing short of criminal and detrimental to team success.

Time to embrace the versatility.

History Speaks Volumes

Last time I checked, the Los Angeles Lakers have won two of the past four NBA championships. They achieved said feat by running their offense directly through Pau Gasol and discovered lesser results as they turned to Andrew Bynum.

So why fix what isn't broken?

Gasol may not be an aggressive scorer, but he's one of the most skilled players in the league. He can dictate the pace of a game from the low and high posts, facilitating first and scoring when necessary.

Although Dwight Howard is capable of scoring the ball, his offensive attack is more limited. That's no slight on D-12, though.

There are few bigs, if any at all, who can do what Gasol is capable of.

Dominating Off Ball

Dwight Howard should be averaging nothing less than 25 points per game. He's an elite pick-and-roll finisher, dominant offensive rebounder, solid low-post scorer and is consistently placed on the free throw line.

With that being said, Howard doesn't need the offense to run through him in order to dominate. He just needs to be aggressive.

Pau Gasol is more than capable of finding Howard in motion, thus creating less contested finishes in the paint. Steve Nash is, arguably, the best at doing the same.

Even Kobe Bryant is a capable facilitator.

With that being noted, why exactly would the Lakers attempt to run their offense through Howard? He'll get his in a variety of ways, all of which come by his working off of the ball.

It just so happens that Gasol is a master at creating flow.

Brought In for Defense

There is no way around the fact that Dwight Howard can make an All-Star caliber impact on the offensive end of the floor. There's also no way to ignore what D-12 was brought to Los Angeles to achieve.

Defensive dominance.

This is not to say that Howard should abandon the offensive end of the floor, but instead an acknowledgement of his need to focus on defense. The points will come as they do, but the stops on the other end is why Howard is here.

The reason the Lakers chose him over the more offensively polished Andrew Bynum.

Gasol is not on the roster to be an offensive decoy or defensive specialist. He is in Los Angeles to be a facilitating and scoring master from the post.

Unless the past two titles L.A. has won are meaningless, it appears as if he still has it in him.


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