LOS ANGELES – Can forward Pau Gasol flourish in coach Mike D'Antoni's system and help save the Lakers' debacle of a season?
It depends on whom you ask.
Kobe Bryant says yes. Gasol, who returned after an eight-game absence Tuesday night in a Lakers win over Charlotte, says maybe. And D'Antoni, whose task of re-integrating Gasol will be significantly tougher than the welcome back party that will be thrown when point guard Steve Nash (left leg) comes back as soon as Saturday, feigns confidence that clearly isn't there.
"I think so," D'Antoni, whose team has won three in a row but is just 12-14, said when the question about Gasol was posed. "There's no reason not to (think Gasol can flourish). We do have to find the right balance between him and Dwight (Howard) in the post and all that stuff that goes with it. But I would be shocked if he can't."