Next to the Paul-Nash matchup, the battle between Blake Griffin and Pau Gasol will be the most exhilarating to watch.
Griffin relies heavily on his youth and athleticism to score and rebound—he’s active on every play.
Gasol relies on his finesse, but he is known to disappear at times.
It’s evident that Gasol and Griffin have opposite styles of play, but who will have the advantage?
Both are good rebounders, but neither are very good defenders—that’s why I believe this matchup will come down to offensive production.
Griffin will dominate Gasol in transition—according to mysynergysports.com, he scored 1.42 PPP in transition last season, which ranked him as one of the best in the league.
However, Griffin will have trouble scoring in the post.
He does not have an array of post moves and he shot 44.9 percent from the post last season.
Meanwhile, Gasol will do a good job of defending Griffin in the post—according to mysynergysports.com, his opponent shot only 36 percent from the post.
The fact that Griffin tore his meniscus and won’t have the ability to work on his postgame this offseason is a major disadvantage.
In addition, it’s hard to tell whether Griffin will be able to rely so heavily on his athleticism next season due to his injury.
Gasol was not utilized effectively on offense last season, and I expect that to change this season with the addition of Steve Nash.
The pick-and-roll will allow for a number of easy baskets for Gasol, and his postgame will help give him an advantage over an average defender like Griffin—Gasol was one of the best post scorers in the league last season and scored 0.95 PPP in the post.
Both Griffin and Gasol are great players, but Gasol’s offensive versatility versus Griffin’s raw athletic ability gives him a slight edge.
Advantage: Pau Gasol