Gasol's game didn't look so good before his recent foot injury. And, since returning from a 20-game hiatus, the seven-foot Spaniard has been nothing short of underwhelming for the Lakers.
In order for the Lakers to make the playoffs and then do some damage in them, they'll need Gasol to play more like the gifted passer and shooter who helped them capture back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010.
Based on the four games Gasol has played since returning from his bout with plantar fasciitis, the chances of that happening this year are slim to none. While seeing occasional flashes of Gasol's passing and shooting brilliance, the overall play is that of a tired, out-of-shape, aging superstar.
With this week's major injury to Metta World Peace, Gasol's gradual return to big minutes is over. Expect to see him on the court for 30-34 minutes a game, regardless of his inconsistency.
After four games, including three losses and a squeaker in Minneapolis that almost got away, Gasol and the Lakers do not look poised for success.
In order to save this season and his future with the team, Gasol will need to step it up considerably over the final nines games.
Otherwise, he and his teammates will be staring at a long summer break and probable breakup of the biggest team disappointment in recent NBA memory.