Since the game, Gasol has once again expressed his desire to remain a starter – head coach Mike D’Antoni had some interesting comments at practice following the game versus the Heat, and didn’t seem to commit one way or another as to whether he would start Gasol again, stating that he wanted to put the best five players on the court at one time.
With Pau referring to himself as a “star starter”, it’s obvious that he wanted to remain in starting five, and so D’Antoni felt it was best to keep him there:
Pau back in Lakers’ starting lineup. Why? D’Antoni: “He made it pretty clear he wanted to start. That’s fine. I’m good with that.”
— KEVIN DING (@KevinDing) January 20, 2013
At this point, the starting role is probably Pau’s to lose – if he can’t show enough to keep the title of a “star starter”, surely D’Antoni will have no choice but to bench him.
Or, perhaps D’Antoni is just starting Gasol to keep him happy: Mike can easily take Pau out after the opening minutes and bring in Earl Clark – this is what I thought should happen anyway when the whole “bring Pau of the bench” thing first came around.