Pau Gasol: Lakers' Super Acquisition

Bill HareCorrespondent IMay 17, 2010

SALT LAKE CITY - MAY 10:  Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers in action against the Utah Jazz during Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals of the 2010 NBA Playoffs on May 10, 2010 at Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

If you want to bring a quick smile to the face of Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak, ask him if he recalls what happened February 8, 2008.

That turned out to be a red letter day for the fortunes of Los Angeles Lakers basketball with one special player finding a solid niche in the fabric of Phil Jackson’s team, forming a devastating one-two punch that has been playing havoc with the defenses of opponents and moving the L.A. team resolutely toward Jackson’s 11th NBA title.

Pau Gasol was acquired February 8, 2008 from the Memphis Grizzlies. The Lakers also received the Grizzlies second round draft choice for 2010. Memphis received forward Kwame Brown, guard Javaris Crittenton, guard Aaron McKie, the draft rights to Marc Gasol and first round picks in 2008 and 2010.

Gasol’s seasonal statistics have held firm since he arrived in Los Angeles from Memphis, where he played his first six seasons before performing his last two in L.A.

Kupchak had plenty of reason to enthuse going in since the seven-footer from Barcelona, Spain has consistently averaged near 20 points. In the important rebound department he delivers a consistent average of around nine total rebounds per game.

At playoff time, Gasol, in the manner of great players, steps up his game. Gasol has taken charge on the floor alongside the superstar with whom Kupchak saw Gasol forming a natural tandem.

During World War Two the Black Knights of Army formed a formidable one-two football punch called “Mr. Outside and Mr. Inside” with each player winning a Heisman Trophy.

Glenn Davis was the fleet-footed outside runner who won the Heisman Trophy in 1946. His power-running teammate who secured a Heisman one year earlier was Doc Blanchard. Their brilliant successes resulted in Army going undefeated with a 27-0-1 mark from 1944 to 1946.

The “Mr. Outside and Mr. Inside” label could be applied to the basketball court to fit Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol.

Double or triple team Bryant on the perimeter and he can whip a pass to Gasol in the paint. Collapse on the long-armed Gasol inside and he can hurl a pass to Bryant on the perimeter.

This devastating one-two scoring arsenal, combined with Gasol’s threat in rebounding and Bryant‘s as an assist master, makes it understandable why so many experts rate the Lakers a solid shot to garner an 11th NBA crown for Phil Jackson this season.