Kamenetzky Brothers's post on LA Lakers | Latest updates on Sulia
Thursday, Mike D'Antoni explained why he thinks the Gasol/Howard combo will be more effective defensively:
"Definitely, because there was two issues you have to factor in (when looking at previous results). I don't think Dwight was 100 percent. Now with him 100 percent, that helps. I don't think Pau was 100 percent early in the year. Just that alone will help. And I don't think Metta (World Peace) was 100 percent. He was having trouble guarding guys on the perimeter. So we had a lot of breakdowns and stuff, and I think they've kind of corrected themselves lately. Pau has to get back in condition, but Metta is good on the perimeter and Dwight's patrolling the middle. So we should be very good defensively."
So your expectation is the combination will perform better going forward than it did before?
"It better. It's got to. We don't have any other choice, so I hope so."
While I don't think Dwight is quite 100 percent (and certainly Pau isn't), there's no question Howard is healthier and more confident in his fitness now than he was earlier in the year, which will improve Pau defensively in the same way it has helped everyone else on the floor.
But D'Antoni also alludes to another truth with the Lakers: If they're going to play at the peak of their ability (whatever that may be), it's going to require maximum contributions from their best players, a category obviously including Gasol.
No matter how his minutes are doled out, Gasol's return helps the Lakers immensely. But this is the last stretch to get the two bigs operating at a high level while on the floor together, and as D'Antoni says, it's got to work.