Despite their early struggles, the Lakers must avoid trading Gasol if they hope to see this team ever reach its potential. According to Steve Kyler of Hoopsworld, it appears that the Lakers are in agreement with that principle.
The stance from the LA Lakers is that they are not looking at deals for Gasol. In fact, the word is the Lakers are not looking at deals at all. That could change once the Lakers find a groove, but the word from the Lakers is that a trade isn’t in their immediate future.
I'm not a fan of Mike D'Antoni's coaching overall, and I especially think he's a poor fit with the Lakers, but seeing how this team plays with Steve Nash on the floor for an extended period is paramount.
Nash's ability to spread the ball around can potentially keep everyone happy on offense. When big men are getting their touches, they genuinely play better on defense.
That's where the Lakers stand to show the biggest improvement. It has to start with protecting the rim, and the Lakers will be in better position to do that with their twin towers, Dwight Howard and Gasol.
The team is fifth in the NBA in scoring, averaging 103 points per game. They sit 25th in the league in points allowed per game, though. They are allowing 100.2 points per contest, and I believe this is carry-over from a lack of ball distribution on offense.
Kobe Bryant is having a phenomenal year individually. He's leading the NBA in scoring with 30.1 points per game, but he's taking nearly as many shots as Gasol and Howard combined.
Bryant is averaging 21.5 shots per game, while the Lakers' bigs are getting a combined 22.3 attempts per night. Both Howard and Gasol look frustrated, and that frustration spills over to the other end on defense.
Howard is getting just 10.8 shots per night, the same amount Metta World Peace takes. Something is wrong with that picture, and this lack of ball distribution is effecting the team's play on the other end.
This is a group that will always have difficulty defending quick guards on the perimeter. Their saving grace has to be their interior defense. Gasol and Howard should be able to control the paint almost every night on defense.
Since both men are also solid offensive options, they have a desire to get opportunities to score.
The Lakers need more offensive balance to keep everyone on the same page overall. The core group required to contend for an NBA title is there, the Lakers just need to swap their approach, not their stars.
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