Report: Lakers may move Pau to the bench

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

An NBA practice that has become more and more common over the past few years may soon be taking place in Los Angeles.

Even when Pau Gasol has recovered from his bout with knee tendinitis, he may be staying on the bench. According to the LA Times' Mike Bresnahan, the Lakers are considering making Gasol their sixth man.

From his report:

The Lakers are debating whether to bring Pau Gasol off the bench when he returns from knee tendinitis, said a person familiar with the team's thinking.

The Lakers are trying to decide how a demotion to the bench would affect Gasol. If they determined it would be adverse, they'd keep him in the starting lineup.

It was unclear when Gasol would return, though it could be Sunday against Utah at Staples Center. The Lakers then take off for another road trip, to Cleveland, New York, Washington and Philadelphia.

The two biggest reasons for Mike D'Antoni to make this move are probably the two biggest issues the Lakers offense has had this season: 1) To provide better spacing for Dwight Howard at the start of games by starting Antawn Jamison instead of Pau; 2) To help get Gasol more touches on the block as a larger chunk of his minutes will come with the second unit.

Such a move would make some sense, though I'm not even sure coming off the bench would help Gasol get more of the looks that he desires. That's because every time Gasol has gotten the ball in the post of late, even when single covered, he's been kicking the ball out rather than taking it strong to the basket. Perhaps that is something that changes once Gasol is healthy, but in order for Gasol to benefit from the change, he'll have to be more aggressive than he has been in the first quarter of the season.

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