Archive for the 'Pau Gasol' Category

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Gasol, D’Antoni Address Media in Houston

Los Angeles Lakers v Dallas MavericksPau Gasol talked to assembled media members at the Toyota Center in advance of L.A.’s game vs. Houston on Thursday night. Gasol discussed Dwight Howard’s free agency decision, summarized L.A.’s 2012-13 season and the state of the Lakers offensively and defensively through five games. Below is a transcript:

Pau Gasol
Q: On if he was surprised or disappointed about Dwight Howard’s decision:
Gasol: I was kind of open to everything and anything, just like any other time. He made his decision and he thought that was the best choice for him. I respect him for it, and that’s it.

Q: On if he expects the atmosphere to be crazier in L.A. when they face Houston:
Gasol: I’m sure, I’m sure. I’m pretty positive it will be a little different on our court than here (in Houston). We have to worry about our situation and what we’re dealing with now and we have to play better on the road. Houston is playing really well, especially here at home. It’s going to be a tough game for us, so we have to be able to challenge them and play a good game for 48 minutes, and not have the breakdowns that we’ve been having, especially on the road, where we haven’t been successful.

Q: On if he feels everything that could go wrong did go wrong last season for the team:
Gasol: A lot of things went wrong last year, for sure. A lot of adversity and nothing really clicked. It was a tough year for everyone, not for one individual. Pretty much for the entire team, it was a tough year to go through. You have to understand in the NBA you have those types of years, and those years are the ones that make you grow and you can use those years to build on and to work even harder to achieve later success.

Q: On if anybody knew to an extent about where Howard’s body was really at last year coming off back surgery:
Gasol: Kind of hard to say, right? I can’t speak for a person’s body, how he’s feeling and what he’s going through. We knew he wasn’t 100 percent, that’s what he talked about and that’s what he shared. Then he had the shoulder issue as well, but we all had issues.

Q: On if it’s hard to reconcile that Howard did not see his future in L.A.:
Gasol: No, like I said, it was his first time being in a free agent position. He had the freedom to pick his future, and he picked it. It wasn’t with the Lakers. It was with the Rockets, so good luck and that’s it.

Q: On what he feels the future of the Lakers is:
Gasol: There’s a lot of question marks. We’re just trying to focus on our season and on our next game. It’s hard to say what’s going to happen next year, who’s going to be here and who’s not. We’re going to try and focus on what we can control, which is working hard every day to get better and have a better season.

Q: On the keys to going after Howard defensively:
Gasol: You have to be able to move him around. You can’t really overpower him, so you have to keep in constant movement and make him uncomfortable, get him out of position, get him to be late to rotate and things like that. That’s what you have to do to be successful against him.

Q: On his view about the dynamic between Kobe Bryant and Howard last year:
Gasol: There was definitely a lack of understanding and connection. I don’t know how much tension there was, but there were days it was fine and everybody was on the same page, and when things get a little rough, usually that’s when the tension came up. Like I said it was a rough year and a lot of things didn’t go our way, and that made it much more difficult.

Q: On if he follows the Rockets and what Howard does:
Gasol: I follow almost every team in the league, so I’m on top of what every player does, especially at my position. I follow the top players and I just follow the NBA. I follow what teams do, what players do and who’s doing well and who’s not.

Q: On if there was any period last year where the Lakers had fun playing:
Gasol: The last stretch was a little fun. That’s when we made that run to get into the playoffs. I think that was fun. The team competed, we were fighting to get in and that was fun. I think we had a couple games in there that we all kind of enjoyed playing together without too many issues, but for the most part, that wasn’t the case.

Q: On what he wants to see individually and from the team in pick-and-roll situations:
Gasol: Sometimes we get too stagnant and we don’t create advantages. We have to create motion out of the pick and rolls, so that’s what we’re going to try and do more of from now on. Keep our guys moving, (make) the defense move and for guys to be open from those actions. If we’re going to continue to run it, we have to do it more effectively. Hopefully when I roll, it’ll get me closer to the basket, too, and the ball might get there often, so that’s kind of the plan.

Q: On when he chooses to pop or roll on offense, or whether it’s based off reads:
Gasol: I’m going to try and read the defense, but most of the time, I’m going to try and get myself closer to the basket. Otherwise we get too stagnant at times and we’re not creating anything. Our guards are not too fast, so we have to create advantages other ways.

Q: On coming to Houston last season in early January and if it was a low point with all three big men (himself, Howard and Hill) injured:
Gasol: It was a tough winter. I think we played San Antonio, Houston and then New Orleans – a similar trip to this one. Injuries just came together that way and we were super short handed. It was not easy for us and not ideal for us. It was the kind of year that it was. Sometimes it goes that way. It’s not going to be sunny all the time.

Q: On what he expected when Steve Nash and Howard came to L.A.:
Gasol: I was definitely hopeful. But I knew there was a lot of work to do. You don’t win games by showing up on the court and wearing a certain number or certain name. You have to work and you have to create chemistry, you have to create certain habits on the floor, understand your strengths and weaknesses and work on them every single day. We had a coaching staff change and a totally different system came in – a system that probably didn’t fit our personnel. It was a lot of stuff. I’m sure you grasp some of it, but as you go through it, you don’t understand how much stuff we had to go through.

Q: On if he felt Howard didn’t give it his all because he knew he wasn’t going to be here:
Gasol: I don’t think so. I think he had certain expectations and certain demands as far as the game that probably weren’t fulfilled. It was also a big job of adjusting. We all had to adjust. He had to adjust and keep up and (we had to) sacrifice ourselves for the betterment of the team. ‘How much are you willing to sacrifice yourself for the betterment of the team? Understand what it takes and what the team needs from you specifically, not what you would like to give in particular.’ Those are some of the questions individually we all should have asked ourselves and worked on from there on out. You live and you learn. It just didn’t work out. We’re trying to work this out right here and this is enough of a challenge right now.

Q: On his thoughts on the team’s defense thus far:
Gasol: Inconsistent and not enough. We just have to be engaged defensively, we have to be more active and we have to communicate. We don’t communicate and we don’t create energy for ourselves and that puts us in big trouble. That’s what we have to do whoever is out there regardless of the lineups, we have to establish a communication and connection amongst the players that are on the floor. Otherwise, we’re going to struggle. Teams are too good offensively and we have to understand that.

Q: On what makes it harder this year with Howard not in the middle:
Gasol: You don’t have a shot blocker back there that will bail you some of the time, that will protect the rim like Dwight can with his athleticism. He also is a guy that gets his hands on ball and he’s aggressive. He gets a couple steals a game. Those are extra possessions. We have to make up for that in different areas. We have smaller guys that are quicker and more athletic and we have to utilize that.

Mike D’Antoni
Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni talked to the media about Howard’s free agency decision, what specifically he would like to see from his team out of pick-and-roll situations on offense, Xavier Henry’s play and his thought process behind whether choosing to play big or small lineups. Below is a transcript:

Q: On Howard’s decision to go to Houston:
D’Antoni: It’s too bad. We would have loved for him to have been here in L.A. It didn’t work out. We turned the page and you go on. We knew there were some problems and we didn’t know which way he’d go. He picked Houston and I’m sure he’ll make the best of it, and we’ll make the best of it.

Q: On if Howard was the one that got away from them:
D’Antoni: When you’ve been around long enough, there’s a lot that got away. I was in New York and we tried to go after some high guys, and there’s a lot that gets away. That’s the business you’re in. You just have to retool and do it. Everybody does what’s best for them and Dwight (Howard) did what was best for him. There’s more ways to get where you need to get.

Q: On what he’s expecting from a defensive front line of Omer Asik and Howard:
D’Antoni: They’re good. They do a lot of pick and rolls and run the floor. Obviously their defensive presence is good. You have to try to spread them out and do as well as you can.

Q: On his view on the Howard and Bryant dynamic:
D’Antoni: Everybody wanted to win a championship. Some people weren’t healthy. Sometimes it gets complicated and personalities get complicated. It was a situation where it didn’t’ work out to a certain degree. I thought towards the end, they were good. They were good together. Like I said, everybody chooses what’s best for them personally and family, and everything else. Nobody knows the total decision why and you just have to play off of it.

Q: On if he thought towards the end of the year that it could work out with Howard:
D’Antoni: 50-50. It was one of those things you didn’t know. You never know what people are thinking, and again, you never know someone’s personal life and what they want or looking for. You just don’t know.

Q: On what he would like to see from the team in the screen and roll action:
D’Antoni: We just have to put the effort. For whatever reason, we have a hard time sustaining our effort mentally and focused in on being gritty. We’re not there. We’re kind of playing in the old NBA trot. We’re not good enough to fall in like everybody else. Somehow we have to distinguish ourselves and that’s by grit and determination, and we’re not there yet.

Q: On if he would like to see more rolling action to the basket on offense:
D’Antoni: More rolling. That’s what we want to do. Again, mid-range shots aren’t the best shots in the world. If that’s what you want to get, that’s not a winning formula.

Q: On if he gives his players the option to either pop or roll:
D’Antoni: Almost 90 percent of the time, we want you to roll hard because we have another big (out there) and he’ll be the popper. You always have one shooter outside. What we’re missing is a dynamic force going to the basket. Kobe (Bryant) would give you that but we don’t have that force anywhere. So now we kind of play on the perimeter and sometimes it works out a little bit. But that’s not what we need to do.

Q: On if he knew the extent of Howard’s health last year:
D’Antoni: Yeah, he said he wasn’t healthy all the way until February or so. You could see it. It just complicated a lot of stuff.

Q: On Xavier Henry’s play thus far and where he needs to improve:
D’Antoni: Just getting his consistency. He’s a young player at 22 years old and hasn’t had much playing time. All of a sudden, he’s in the Lakers starting lineup. It’s tough, and tough to handle all that. He’s not a great shooter some nights, but I think still he’s positive when he’s on the floor. He’s running the floor well, playing good defense, so I think he’ll even (it all out), and he’ll keep getting better as a shooter.

Q: On his sense of when he’s looking at whether to play big or small lineups:
D’Antoni: My message was we’re not sustaining our energy to where we can make an intelligent decision. If you don’t do what you’re supposed to do, and we don’t run back and we don’t have grit, how do we know if something works or not? It’s almost like: ‘Oh that doesn’t work.’ Well, let’s show it. Let’s see it. If we all play hard, then we’ll make a decision. Again, a little bit of the responsibility is players have to separate themselves. They have to show everybody this is the way to go. Right now we’re trying to grasp at straws now and we just can’t do that.

Friday Practice Roundup

blog_131004nashLakers swingman Nick Young fully participated in Friday’s practice after missing the end of Thursday’s with an ankle injury. Young says he tweaked the ankle on Tuesday, but there had been some lingering pain. He maintains that although the ankle isn’t 100 percent, the pain will be manageable.

“It’s feeling good,” Young said. “I came in early and got some treatment, so I should be ready to go (on Saturday).”

While Young is expected to suit up, both Steve Nash and Pau Gasol are unlikely to play in Saturday’s preseason game vs. Golden State. The coaching staff will continue to monitor the two as they work their way back physically.

“(Nash) is good,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. “He said he felt really good and didn’t want to push it too much. He probably won’t play tomorrow, and then play Sunday. Pau (won’t) play back to back’s. I’m thinking they should play together, so it’ll likely be Sunday.”

Bryant Has Third-Most Jersey Sales Worldwide

ts_131003kobe_jersey670Kobe Bryant came in at No. 3 for most popular jersey sales worldwide for the 2012-13 season, according to a release from the NBA. Derrick Rose and LeBron James came in at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively. The rankings are based on Adidas global sales in advance of the NBA Global Games, which tips off Oct. 5.

Bryant also had the third-most jersey sales in China, Europe and the Philippines and the second-most jersey sales in Latin America. Teammate Steve Nash had 11th most worldwide, while Pau Gasol had the fifth-most sales in Europe.

The Lakers, along with 11 other NBA teams, will play a combined 10 preseason and regular-season games in 10 cities in seven countries as part of the 2013-14 Global Games schedule. L.A. will face Golden State in Beijing on Oct. 15 and again in Shanghai on Oct. 18 as part of their preseason slate.

How will Gasol, Hill and Kaman Fit Together?

Los Angeles Lakers Media DayA common question throughout training camp will be who starts alongside Pau Gasol. Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni has yet to delve into specifics, but noted how both Jordan Hill and Chris Kaman could complement the 7-foot Spaniard.

“Pau can play with anybody,” D’Antoni said. “He’s so skilled that he makes everybody look good with his passing. You can play Jordan who is more of a runner and slasher or you can play Kaman who is more of a catch-and-shoot kind of guy. They’ll all fit in real well together.”

Hill, who underwent surgery on his left hip and missed 53 games last year, noted he’s more confident in his jump shot from 15-17 feet now, but will largely focus on what he’s provided for the team in limited playing time.

“Pau and Chris are great, great big men,” Hill said. “They can score. I’m not looking to score as much as they are. I’m going to still do what I’ve been doing since I’ve been here – rebounding, defending, a lot of energy and running the floor.”

The focus hasn’t just been on the offensive side of the ball, but also on the other end. Looking ahead, the coaching staff believes it’ll be a collective effort this season, and Hill remains optimistic everybody is up for the challenge.

“We just have to help each other out,” Hill said. “That was our problem last season. Not everybody was on the same page last season. We just have to buckle down this year.”

As for Kaman, he’s a career 48.5 percent shooter, and someone who can space the floor. Last season in Dallas, Kaman converted on 51.4 percent of his shots from 15-19 feet. But with three practices under their belt, the Michigan native doesn’t foresee how the three bigs will mesh just yet and doesn’t want to get too ahead of himself.

“At this point, it’s still undetermined what the lineups are going to be,” Kaman said. “Who knows what the lineup will be, who knows if we’ll go big or small. For me, learning this offense is an adjustment. A lot of my stuff has been slow down and half court. This is more transition, open court, pick-and-roll, dives. There’s going to be an adjustment period for a lot of guys, but I feel pretty comfortable so far.”

Healthy Gasol, Nash to be Protected in Camp

nashPerhaps the biggest and most unfortunate storyline of the 2012-13 season in Los Angeles was the Murphy’s Law progression of injuries. Every key player, let alone the head coach, had a major injury that ultimately derailed L.A.’s late push when Kobe Bryant tore his Achilles on April 12.

Bryant remains on the shelf with no set timetable to return as he continues rehabilitation, but Pau Gasol and Steve Nash — L.A.’s other two key pieces — have started camp in better health than they were able to achieve last season.

Nash suffered a fracture in his leg in just the second game of the season, and wasn’t able to stay ahead of back/hamstring/nerve issues that emerged when he returned in late December and plagued him throughout the season.

Gasol had a plethora of problems, including a concussion, a tear of his plantar fascia and tendonosis in both knees that required an offseason procedure from which he’s been rehabilitating.

L.A.’s approach with both players will to be to limit their overall exertion in training camp while getting them enough reps to get in game shape and get integrated with their teammates. It’s way too early to tell how that will work for either player, but significantly, both are in solid shape thus far.

“Pau was out there (Saturday),” said Mike D’Antoni. “I just won’t let him and Steve Nash do two-a-days. They know what we’re trying to do. They were in the film room. I just didn’t want them to push it early. They could have gone if they needed to.”

That’s all well and good for Gasol and Nash.

“I feel good,” said Nash. “At this time of year, I need to play and get reps, but obviously find a balance between overdoing it as well … It obviously gets a little more difficult in that you have to be more thorough the older you get, and obviously, I don’t want to discount there’s a factor with age as much as I don’t want to indulge in that. I still feel really capable, positive and optimistic, especially at the start of the season.”

“I was cleared to (practice) and the doctors gave me the (OK) I was ready to do it,” added Gasol. “Now it’s just absorbing the load that I put myself through out there, and going day by day … I don’t think I’ll ever be 100 percent anymore, but I think I’ll be a lot better than I was last year and that will be a big improvement.”

Starting To Put In The System:
Installing a system of play on both ends of the court has been something Mike D’Antoni and his coaching staff have been very much looking forward to for months, particularly since last season didn’t afford the same opportunity.

Camp started on Saturday night and continued into Sunday morning’s session at the team’s practice facility, with an emphasis on general teaching as is consistent for most teams.

“The biggest thing is trying to put in everything we do,” said D’Antoni. “We try to teach them everything first and then we’ll break it down each day. Yesterday was just devoted to how we want to play offensively and defensively, and today we’ll start breaking down segments of it.”

In essence, the morning sessions are for film and the putting in of various sets and schemes. At night, the players scrimmage. The fact that nearly the entire roster has been at the facility playing games and working out for most of September has aided the process.

“These guys have been going 90 percent for the last month, so it’s pretty smooth and they’re pretty far along,” said the coach. “Everything is going to be the same we did in Phoenix. We might do it a different speed. That speed is determined by the players, which is fine, but the basic principles are all the same. We’re moving the ball, getting wide-open shots, and hopefully we make it.”

Media Day Vines


Gasol Primed For Big Year?

Los Angeles Lakers v San Antonio Spurs - Game Two

It’s no secret that Pau Gasol dealt with a myriad of injuries – plantar fasciitis, a concussion, a tear of his plantar fascia and tendonosis in both knees – last season, while also trying to adjust his game in playing further from the basket.

But over the last 40 games, as most of the team rounded into better health, Gasol, too, showed improvement down the final stretch of 2012-13.

Of importance, the Lakers were nearly five points better with Gasol on the floor in that span.

“If he’s healthy (this year), he’s going to be an All Star player,” Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said.

His April stats showed a vast improvement – 17.5 points, 12.4 rebounds, 6.6 assists, 1.3 blocks on 51.3 percent field goals – in large part because of where he was situated on the floor on offense.

As he recovers from a FAST Technique procedure done in the offseason, Gasol is slowly working his way back for the upcoming year.

“I’m not sure how much he’s been on the basketball court the last two or three weeks,” Kupchak said, “but he certainly feels ready to go. And like with all veterans, we’ll bring him along slowly.”

With Dwight Howard gone, and not occupying the post, and Kobe Bryant still recovering from a torn Achilles tendon, Gasol will almost certainly be one of the main options in Mike D’Antoni’s offense, whether that be on the low block or at the high post.

“He’ll be the focal point of our play in the paint,” Kupchak said. “He’ll be able to post up and he’ll be on the move whether it’s a pick and roll or pick and (pop). He’ll be able to hit (the outside shot). He won’t really have to share that much space. Much of what we did last year was an adjustment and deferring and trying to figure out how Dwight Howard would fit in, and try to get the best out of him. Pau Gasol made a lot of sacrifices last year. I think he’s looking forward to playing this year.”

Can Gasol replicate his production level (‘08-‘09: 18.9 points, 9.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists; ’09-’10: 18.3 points, 11.3 rebounds, 3.4 assists) when he was a featured player during their back-to-back title runs from 2009-10?

The pieces are in place – barring any injuries – for the 7-foot Spaniard to do so.

Spain Misses Gasol in EuroBasket 2013

Olympics Day 16 - BasketballIn 2006, the Spanish National basketball team claimed its first ever gold medal in major international competition at the FIBA World Cup, besting a field of 24 teams that included Team USA, Argentina and runner-up Greece.

Three years later, Spain became European champions for the first time by winning EuroBasket 2009, then defended the title in 2011 with another gold medal performance. Meanwhile, Spain made it to the gold medal game in consecutive Olympic games in 2008 and 2012, only to twice fall to Kobe Bryant and the United States.

It’s the greatest stretch of hoops the country has ever seen, and it happened to coincide with Pau Gasol’s prime.

No coincidence there.

Olympics Day 16 - BasketballGasol, the best player in his country’s history, was 26 during that initial FIBA World Cup run, and continued to captain and anchor Espana through the London Olympics. With him in the lineup, Spain was Europe’s best team.

But in the just-completed 2013 EuroBasket tournament, Gasol was not able to play, as he focuses on rehabilitation from a knee procedure he had following the 2012-13 NBA season in preparation for the upcoming Lakers season.

Without Gasol, Spain failed to defend its back-to-back titles, falling to eventual champion France in the semifinals before beating Croatia to nab the bronze. Gasol’s younger brother, Marc, performed well in making the all-tournament team, though surely it wasn’t easy missing his big brother, one of the greatest international players in history — one first-inspired by the Dream Team in 1992 in his native Barcelona — that went on to deliver a glory age to Spanish basketball.

Examining Gasol’s Shot Production

Los Angeles Lakers v San Antonio Spurs - Game TwoIt is no revelation that Lakers forward Pau Gasol has sacrificed his individual game for the betterment of the team.

Lakers.com’s Mike Trudell noted last week that Gasol has moved farther and farther away from the rim over the last two seasons in order to accomodate his teammates, most notably Andrew Bynum in 2011-12 and Dwight Howard in 2012-13.

Even the 7-foot Spaniard acknowledged in his exit interview that it took coach Mike D’Antoni and his staff some time to learn how to best utilize his unique skillset, one that operates much more efficiently out of the post.

As evidenced by the shot charts below, Gasol found himself closer to the basket, and much more in his comfort zone, as the season progressed:

- In 16 October/November games, he averaged 3.9 shot attempts per game from less than 5 feet.
- In 17 December/January games, he again averaged 3.9 shot attempts per game from less than 5 feet.
- In 8 February/March games, he averaged 5.6 shot attempts per game from less than 5 feet.
- In 8 April games, he averaged 6.4 shot shot attempts per game from less than 5 feet.
*All information below is courtesy of NBA.com/stats.

October/November:
Overall: 80 for 189 (42.3 percent)
- Less than 5 feet: 37 for 63 (58.7 percent)
- 5-9 feet: 5 for 29 (17.2 percent)
- 10 feet and beyond: 38 for 97 (39.2 percent)
Pau_Gasol_October_November
December/January:
Overall: 82 for 173 (47.4 percent)
- Less than 5 feet: 43 for 67 (64.2 percent)
- 5-9 feet: 8 for 23 (34.8 percent)
- 10 feet and beyond: 31 for 83 (37.3 percent)
Pau_Gasol_December_January

February/March:
Overall: 49 for 102 (48.0 percent)
- Less than 5 feet: 25 for 45 (55.6 percent)
- 5-9 feet: 7 for 12 (58.3 percent)
- 10 feet and beyond: 17 for 45 (37.8 percent)
Pau_Gasol_February_March
April:
Overall: 59 for 115 (51.3 percent)
- Less than 5 feet: 33 for 51 (64.7 percent)
- 5-9 feet: 8 for 24 (33.3 percent)
- 10 feet and beyond: 18 for 40 (45.0 percent)
Pau_Gasol_April

Pre All-Star Break:
Pau_Gasol_Pre_All-Star_Break
Post All-Star Break:
Pau_Gasol_Post_All-Star_Break

Pau Gasol: 2013 Exit Interview

13exits_GasolPau Gasol appeared in 49 games (the fewest of his 12-year career), starting 42 towards averages of 13.7 points, 8.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists. Gasol battled injuries the entire year, missing eight games because of tendinitis in both knees, five games due to a concussion and 20 more after suffering a torn plantar fascia at Brooklyn on Feb. 5.

In four postseason games, Gasol averaged 14.0 points, 11.5 boards and 6.3 assists. He recorded his triple-double of the season in Game 3, the other two coming in the final week of the regular season.

Below is a summary of his exit interview:

- On if he’ll be back to the Lakers: “I understand he position I find myself in. It can be a little draining. It’s not ideal. But I also accept it. I accept where I am. I accept the circumstances the team is in. I’m not upset about it. It’s just the way it is. The future is uncertain. There’s a possibility I could be gone. There’s a possibility I could stay. But I’m prepared either way. I understand the challenges the franchise is facing and the decision they have to make in order to keep the team in the direction they want looking at the present and the future. It’s a lot going on. I wish things were simpler, but they’re not. I appreciate Mitch (Kupchak’s) honesty and everything that he’s done and the franchise has done to keep me here, and have me on the team. There’s been two difficult years for different reasons, but we fought through it.”

- On the standing ovation he received when he was subbed out of Game 4, and what it meant to him, with Kobe coming over to console him: “At first I was upset because of the score, and I recognized it was our last game of the season … and then the emotional part kicked in. I saw and perceived the recognition from our fans, which is something I highly appreciate and am thankful for.”

- On his relationship with Kobe: “It’s grown and gotten stronger. We’ve gotten closer as friends and teammates. I’m happy and proud that we’ve grown so much as friends, and it’s been great. We communicate with each other a lot more now than we ever have. We’re on the same page, and I have great respect for who he is, what he brings to the table, what he brings to the franchise and to a lot of people.”

- On his role changing as the year went on: “We finished the year a lot happier of how I was placed on the court, and how I was used. My productivity shows that. (Mike D’Antoni and I) agreed that we all took our time to know each other and figure each other out, and figure out how to utilize the personnel to play the (best way). Nothing to regret from that part, but as any player would, I’d like to be used the right way so I can maximize what I bring to the table.”

- On his health, after what was the most challenging season of his career from that standpoint: “My knees have been an issue this year from beginning to end, and then I had to deal with my (torn plantar fascia) to come back as soon as I could. The soreness increased as I was playing more on it (when I returned). I’m going to go through several medical tests in the next several days to see the status in my knees and the arch, and then decide what kind of procedure if any or treatment I need to go through to get healthy. Hopefully next season I’ll come back at full strength.”

- We learned that Gasol has been working on a book – some photographic, some written – to express himself from a personal standpoint.

- Gasol thinks his unselfish nature as a passer and playmaker means that the team is best off when going through him, which he’s proven to be true in the past. Yet the Lakers have been in such a unique situation, with Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum – two of the only other bigs in the league that would take some time from him on the block – on the roster. This season, Gasol’s injuries limited his effectiveness at times on the defensive end in particular, as he wasn’t always able to protect the rim like he has when healthy.

- He described how things were difficult, but got better, with what the team wanted to do: “In the beginning, we struggled more because everybody wanted to assert themselves and establish themselves. Things didn’t work out that well from the beginning. The coaching change had a big role into it, but we progressed as the season went on and put our individual desires aside and found what worked. We finished the season playing the right way as far as a balance.” Gasol said Kobe was willing to facilitate and distribute, and get players involved. He also stated he was able to be utilized at the post more on offense and create for others.

- Gasol was asked how he’s maintained a positive state of mind through what have been two whirlwind seasons full of trade rumors, health issues and more losing than expected: “I have a positive mind. I try to put myself in the position of others and understand where they come from. If I saw something malicious or saw something of bad intention, then I might say something. But I understand everybody’s position here. There’s a lot of pressure, a lot of expectations, a lot of coverage and a lot of fans please. I’ve been extremely lucky to play for this franchise for so long.”

- Here’s what Tim Duncan had to say about Gasol after the Round 1 series: “I don’t see how he’s changed much at all. He’s in a different system, and he’s asked to do different things. He’s as skilled as there are of big men out there. He can do just about everything, and he’s unselfish. I see him playing the way he’s been asked to play. I think if he’s asked to be more of a scorer, or be something else, he can do that as well. I don’t see why he doesn’t have many years left in him.”

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