Southwest Notes: Gasol, D-League, Fizdale, Harrell

A consistent scorer since entering the NBA, Pau Gasol has faced a huge adjustment since signing with the Spurs this summer, writes Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. Gasol went scoreless Friday in Boston and he has put up a pair of two-point games during the early season. It’s a change for Gasol, who has averaged 18.1 points per game through his career, but apparently not an issue for coach Gregg Popovich. “I’m not really too concerned with who scores and who doesn’t,” Popovich said. “We just try to have more than the other guys.”

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • The largest rookie class in Spurs history has gotten a lot of D-League training, McDonald notes in a separate piece. Bryn Forbes, Davis Bertans, Dejounte Murray and Nicolas Laprovittola all earned spots on San Antonio’s roster, but they have spent much of their first month in Austin. “It’s been real important to us, keeping guys in shape and getting guys minutes, learning the game, learning the NBA,” Popovich said. “We’ve been fortunate we have had guys who have had the character and humility to do that and not think it’s below them.”
  • Grizzlies coach David Fizdale defended his maintenance program after point guard Mike Conley was used as a reserve and played just 23 minutes in Friday’s loss, relays Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal. Conley, who re-signed during the summer for $153MM over five years, said he is willing to trust Fizdale’s strategy, while the coach admitted it’s a work in progress. “Obviously you can tell the number of minutes that [Conley] played, what was happening,” Fizdale said. “I just tried to find a balance somewhere and just try to patch it up where we can, going after the win.”
  • Second-year Rockets big man Montrezl Harrell is finding his opportunities limited behind Clint Capela and Nene, notes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Circumstances have given Harrell more playing time than usual the past two games, but coach Mike D’Antoni doesn’t expect him to become part of the rotation. “Not that I don’t have confidence in him,” D’Antoni said. “I have a lot of confidence in him. It’s just hard. I want to get Clint up to 30 minutes. Clint is playing as well as anybody on our team. If I get him up to 30, that leaves only 18. Now, you’re trying to split time. Is that nine minutes each, 12 minutes for one guy and six [for the other]? In special circumstances, I wouldn’t hesitate. If we’re a little sluggish, I wouldn’t hesitate … because I think he brings energy and something different. But it’s hard to play three guys in that role if one guy is taking up 30 minutes. It’s almost impossible. It’s not fair to the other two guys, actually.”
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