With Pau Gasol struggling under the new head coach and missing the last four games because of knee tendinitis, many fans have started to speculate what will happen once he returns to the lineup. Some have even suggested that he should take a sixth man role which would not only help the Laker bench, but leave more space for Dwight Howard when the starting 5 is on the floor.
According to ESPN, Mike D’Antoni rejected any idea of Gasol coming off of the bench.
“Not yet, that’s not what we need to be doing right now. We need to find him and Steve (Nash) in there together and look at it and make a good assessment. I envision him being really good at what he does at the four, so I don’t see that.”
D’Antoni also gave further praise to Gasol, in order to make sure that everyone knew that it wasn’t just about seeing what he can do along side of Steve Nash. When asked about the possibility of Pau returning before Nash, D’Antoni stated;
“I’m not going to mess with Pau. He’s too important to the team and he’s earned it and he’s too good of a player to even go there. That would be a last resot kind of desperate (move).”
This definitely sounds like very good news for Pau Gasol, especially in the midst of all of these trade rumors. It remains to be seen if he will ever play well under D’Antoni’s offensive system, but at least he has support from his coach…for now.