With so many observers, players and blogosphere fanatics weighing in on both perpetual trade-bait Pau Gasol and his currently sorry-looking Los Angeles Lakers, it’s no surprise that Spanish-language media outlets have taken to speaking with Pau’s Team Spain teammate Rudy Fernandez on the maddening situation.
In a piece appearing in El Confidencial under the headline quote “Pau Gasol is going through a difficult time because D’Antoni does not understand,” Fernandez defended the Laker further by explaining that Gasol “still brings things to the team and has a good philosophy to help the team.” In an echo of steadily increasing murmurs and related posts online, Fernandez believes that making Pau a jump shooter is not playing to the Spaniard’s strengths.
Spain-based Blog de Basket expounded a bit further on Rudy’s remarks made on the radio, quoting the Madridista as explaining that “…D’Antoni is a coach who likes to play with [a faster, small-ball game] and Pau does not. He has proven to be one of the best centers the world and if you pass it inside, he’s going to take something safe, but D’Antoni doesn’t understand this and Pau shoots [from outside].”
(One easy confirmation of Fernandez’ opinion come from hoops überfan Bill Simmons. Here’s The Sports Guy on the misuse of Gasol within a a Grantland piece that rapidly became a justifiable screed on D’Antoni’s mismatch with these Lakers: “I went to the 2012 Summer Olympics and watched three of Spain’s games in person, when they revolved everything around a high-low game with the Gasol Hermanos (Marc up top, Pau down low). Nobody could stop them. In the gold-medal game, he was ripping up Team USA’s double teams and doing whatever he wanted. So you can’t say his skills atrophied, or that he’s washed up, because there’s absolutely no evidence that he’s not still a franchise low-post center if you use him like a franchise low-post center…”)
As for advice, sure, the former Trail Blazer has some: Pau “has to have patience. After all, this is a sport and it must not undermine our personal lives…”