Gasol-ine: Fuel For Lakers

4 02 2008

Gasol-ine?Many seemingly disgruntled fans of other teams, in efforts to downplay the importance of this trade have pointed to the struggles that Gasol’s had recently. 
Or point to Gasol’s reputation of being ‘soft’. 
Or even hint at some type of conspiracy with Memphis…
Total BS.

Gasol’s efforts leading Spain to a World Championship Title in 2006 were anything but ‘soft’.  Within Memphis most nights he was the sole option; seeing double-teams, even at times being triple-teamed. 
In LA, that will rarely occur. 
Kobe Bryant demands dual coverage.  If you throw the same at Gasol that means that you’re leaving 1 man to cover 3 players.  Not going to happen.  Add Bynum to the mix and you’ve got a team that’s really going to hurt you if you double team. 

To be sure, Gasol’s points total will drop being in LA, as Bryant is – of course – the #1 option.  And rebounds too, with Bynum & Odom on the floor as well.  But look for Gasol’s shooting percentage to jump, and for him to get more assists.  Add to that he’ll be happier (Gasol hasn’t been happy at Memphis for a few years), and be less banged up.

From several sources, Gasol is thought to be a player who will benefit greatly from playing under the tutelage of Phil Jackson. The triangle suits a player of Gasol’s talents, and given he’s said to be quite the cerebral player, he should pick it up quickly. This change should renew Gasol considerably – he’s still a young guy, 27 years old, and in reality in the prime of his basketball years.

Another benefit to the Lakers that’s rarely been mentioned is the incredible surge a trade like this provides to a team. LA’s played two games on the road since the trade broke (both without Gasol), they beat Washington 103-91, and trashed Toronto 121-101… a game where Kobe went beserk, scoring 46 on 19-28 shooting.  Next game is Feb 5th at the slumping New Jersey Nets, where a forlorn Jason Kidd might well be wondering “what if?”…  This, from a team most pundits were wondering if they could stay .500 whilst Bynum sits out.

Conspiracy-theorists point to the failed trade offers made by Chicago last season.  Yes, it was seemingly a better deal, at the time.  However, it wasn’t still on the table when the deal was made with the Lakers, and as such is a complete non-issue.  Inane.

Upon reflection, Odom might struggle to fit in… as a 4th option he’s very expensive.  Trevor Ariza might fit that role at small forward just as amiably.  If they do, don’t look for them to add another high profile player, but someone who can play at SF, or more depth at bench.  Even if the Lakers are looking to move Lamar, he does deserve a chance.

None of this necessarily equates to the Lakers contesting the finals this year, but it does mean that the team is legitimately in contention for the next few.  Kobe’s 29, Gasol’s 27, and Bynum’s only 20.  Hell, even Lamar’s only 28.

Kobe - time to “walk the walk”The pressure is now on Kobe to bring this team up to the elite level that he desired.  He wanted a roster that could contend, now – as he said – it’s time to “… walk the walk.”  Phoenix – already a good match-up for the Lakers – San Antonio and Dallas are in their sights. 
Phoenix are having difficulties in how to go forwards from past playoff stumbles.  They do struggle against teams with a strong inside presence. 
San Antonio are getting older, and look it. 
Dallas… well, the Mavericks have shown themselves to be a team that lacks a real killer instinct, and they frequently stumble because of it.  Now the J-Kidd-to-Dallas rumors have cooled considerably with Avery Johnson declaring that it’s not going to happen.

The West is ripe for new blood.  Not only the Lakers, but New Orleans and Portland eye the West hungrily.  All have the talent to do it… but what would you rather: Brandon Roy/Greg Oden/Lamarcus Aldridge, Chris Paul/David West/Tyson Chandler… or Kobe Bryant/Pau Gasol/Andrew Bynum?

Whatever happens, it certainly is good to be a Lakers fan at the moment.

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18 responses

4 02 2008
fouledout

lakers’ championship chances just got better..

4 02 2008
withmalice

Indeed they did… and if not this season, then for the next few years at the very least.
And unlike Boston, LA didn’t have to put the franchise in hock to do so.

4 02 2008
brumbygg9

Have to disagree that that the Celts put the franchise in hock for the chance to win, but do agree that this is a very good trade for the Fakers, sorry, Lakers. Gasol gives them another legitimate threat and they have given up a little bit of the future, but nothing right now. What remains to be seen is if Kobe will let Pau see the ball enough to be useful.

4 02 2008
withmalice

lol Rob…

Not sure how you can keep a straight face and say…
“Have to disagree that that the Celts put the franchise in hock for the chance to win…”
and
“…and they (the Lakers) have given up a little bit of the future…”

4 02 2008
brumbygg9

mostly it’s balls….

4 02 2008
withmalice

To get KG, Boston gave up:
Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes, Sebastian Telfair, Gerald Green, Theo Ratliff, cash considerations, Boston’s 2009 first-round draft pick (top 3 protected) and the 2009 first-round pick Minnesota had traded to Boston in the Ricky Davis-Wally Szczerbiak trade of 2006…

To get Gasol, LA gave up:
Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, Aaron McKie, rights to Marc Gasol (coincidently Pau’s younger brother), and 2008 and 2010 first round draft picks.

KG’s the better player, but there’s no comparing what the respective franchises gave up.

4 02 2008
brumbygg9

when are you going to stop hiding behind the facts? You know that you’re not allowed to criticise my Celtics…..

4 02 2008
withmalice

Ah… my bad.

4 02 2008
brumbygg9

no proble, as long as you now understand where you went wrong there should be no problem in the future!
I still think this is a great trade for the Lakers and they got him very cheaply. Celtics v Lakers for the championship this year? Hope the Lakers wear the throwback nutters again if they do meet up!

5 02 2008
fouledout

@brumbygg9
with gasol wearing lakers uniform, i guess you can’t call the lakers fakers anymore.. lol..
im not a fan of the celtics or lakers. i actually hate both of these teams.. but between lakers and celtics, i think i’d choose lakers now.. well that’s just at least my opinion..

5 02 2008
brumbygg9

ouch!

5 02 2008
withmalice

Bwahahaha!

5 02 2008
brumbygg9

how could anyone prefer the Lakers to my poor, downtrodden, beloved Celts? Don’t choose the dark side!

5 02 2008
fouledout

@brumbygg9
haha! well i don’t really like the celtics and the lakers. but im slightly leaning towards the lakers.
my teams are new jersey nets and denver nuggets.. too bad the nets are heading down the drain.. but they are in the east, who knows, they might still be able to compete in the mediocre eastern conference.. lol!

5 02 2008
withmalice

FO – You should link your blog to your name…

Looking forward to seeing how Gasol fits in to the Lakers… and we get to see versus your NJ Nets first…

5 02 2008
fouledout

@ wm
sorry about that.. how do i link it?
yeah.. we’ll get to see how gasol fits with the lakers and we’ll see how draft bust stromile swift plays with the nets.. *sigh*

5 02 2008
withmalice

FO – just log out, then next time you log in it will say ‘website’ – add it in.

6 02 2008
fouledout

@ wm
oh yeah.. got it! lol!

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