In the aftermath of Dwight Howard’s departure to the Houston Rockets, the Los Angeles Lakers will move the four-time All-Star Pau Gasol to the center position. Gasol is a more natural fit at the position he’s played for the majority of his career and head coach Mike D’Antoni has given him quite the endorsement in an interview with Mike Trudell of Lakers.com on Sept. 27:
But let me say this about Pau Gasol: to me, he's the best center in the NBA. I can say that now, and whether I'm totally 100 percent right, people can argue with me. They may rank him second, or third, or eighth. I don't know, but his pedigree is he wins at everything he does. He has two championships (and international titles). I don't think there's even an argument about who the most skilled big man is, when you put it all together.
With Dwight now in Houston, the paint will open up for the two-time NBA champion as he tries to reestablish his game as one of the dominant centers in the NBA. Gasol took a backseat to Dwight last season and it took a toll on the veteran’s game and impact for the Lakers.
Heading into the upcoming season, Gasol will have an opportunity to turn back the clock and prove to this storied franchise that he’s still an All-Star-caliber player in this league. Along with an opportunity to resurrect his career, Gasol has a lot on the line with the veteran center entering the last year of his deal with the Lakers.
The international superstar will become an unrestricted free agent after this season and may have an uncertain future with the team and in the league if unable to bounce back from an injury plagued season.
With no high expectations or title aspirations this season, the Lakers may be able to fly under the radar while molding this franchise back into a contender in the Western Conference. Gasol may play a considerable role in making that happen.
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