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Player of the Week: Pau Gasol

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It comes with much relief that I'm finally able to type a name that isn't Kobe Bryant as Player of the Week. Sure, Kobe had a decent week, but we know what we get with Kobe. It's easy for him to be the deserving player week after week after week after week...etc. You get the point. I'm tired of giving him the award. Of course he's the Lakers best player, but their fate no longer lies on the successful success of the #KobeSystem. The team needs someone else to step up and shine in Kobe's light in order for this team to really make headway in becoming a contender.

After weeks of floating around the perimeter watching Andrew Bynum take over his role as the beta to Kobe's alpha, and immediately after struggles against Indiana, Pau finally did away with his careful, measured requests for change. Instead of tiptoeing around his desire for Kobe to take advantage of the Lakers advantage in the post, he challenged Mike Brown to get him more involved in the post. A place where Pau used to do his best work. So well that just a year ago, he was being labeled by many as the best bigman in the Association. Yeah, he talked it. Then he went out and walked the same walk that helped the Lakers win back-to-back championships. He wanted the ball. He got it. He did something with it.

This Pau is what the Lakers need to find their groove again. Black Swan Pau operating in the paint. Not White Swan-tertiary option-jumpshooting Pau watching Kobe and Andrew deal with double teams. No matter the Lakers' desire to get Andrew Bynum more involved, in my eyes, young fella hasn't shown me that he's ready to take over a role Pau once excelled at. The yin to Kobe's yang. There was a glimpse that the offense still runs much better going through Kobe then Pau, rather than Kobe then Drew. It may have been only one game, and I refuse to put too much stock in beating the Clippers, but this game meant something to Pau. The Clips tested him, called him soft, but he responded well. He showed a pride we're only used to seeing from Kobe, and a role of leadership that Bynum has yet to find. Just maybe, we'll get the feeling that things will be alright if Pau plays with this fire all season. Oh, and it doesn't hurt when three pointers actually go in.