Pau Gasol vs. Marc Gasol: Tale of the Tape
As Thursday's NBA trade deadline edges closer and closer, Pau Gasol continues to find himself at the center of every Lakers trade rumor to hit the wire. But Laker fans will be reminded this Tuesday of the trade that put the Lakers back on the map when he squares off against his brother Marc Gasol and former team the Memphis Grizzlies.
In the 2008 trade that rocked the NBA landscape, the Lakers traded Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, Aaron McKie and little known 2007 second-round draft pick Marc Gasol to Memphis for the services of one Pau Gasol.
When the Lakers meet the Grizzlies this Tuesday, the game will leave a lot of Lakers fans thinking "What if?"
What if the team held onto Marc Gasol and left Pau in Memphis?
Would Memphis be 2011 Western Conference semifinalists? Would the Lakers be back-to-back NBA Champions in 2009 and 2010?
The heavyweight scorecard is in. Let's indulge.
First, a look at the physical stats.
Little brother is actually the bigger of the two and fills out the lane better than his senior.
What Pau lacks in brute strength he makes up for in length, running the floor like a gazelle quite uncommon of a true seven-footer.
|Pau Gasol||31||7'0''||250 lbs||7'4''||10 years|
|Marc Gasol||27||7'1''||265 lbs||7'4''||3 years|
Pau Gasol: Finesse big man with an extensive arsenal of moves and shots. Beautiful 16-foot mid-range jump shot. Dazzling left- and right-handed hooks in the lane and out of the post. Best passing big man in the NBA. Crafty defender.
Marc Gasol: Bruiser down low. Excellent post game. Burgeoning mid-range game. All-out hustle and energy on every play. Owns the paint on defense. Controls the glass and has a nose for the ball.
Stylistically, the two couldn't be more different. One operates from the perimeter and mid-post with great success while the other earns his pay down low and directly under the basket.
Pau and Marc train together in the offseason so the two are quite familiar with the other's game. Head-to-head matchups like this Tuesday's typically turn into intense brotherly battles, both looking to prove their might in this lifelong sibling rivalry.
But the real treat is watching Pau and Marc play together, complementing one another exceptionally well while on the floor side-by-side. This year's Eurobasket is a prime example of how the two mesh when donning the same uniform.
Role on the Team
Pau Gasol: For the Lakers, Pau operates out of his natural position—the 4—and gives the Lakers' frontcourt their biggest advantage against NBA teams. When Mike Brown brings in the second unit, Pau will often shift to the center to provide stability in the post. But this season, with vastly improved All-Star beast Andrew Bynum dominating the paint for the Lakers, Pau has been freelancing around the perimeter and off the post.
Marc Gasol: Conversely, Marc is unquestionably the team's big man and operates as the Grizzlies' intimidating force below the basket both offensively and defensively. Marc has taken on this role rather nicely with frontcourt mate Zach Randolph sidelined the past two to three months. On offense, Marc is gradually moving away from the basket this season but still finds most of his success out of the post and off the ball around the rim.
2011-12 Season Stats
Head to head, one could conclude that the two garner comparable stats this season.
But put another way, Pau Gasol's output this year is well below his career averages (this is the lowest PPG for Pau since he came into the league, including his rookie season) while Marc Gasol is easily having the best season statistically of his career.
Perhaps Marc's great improvement and Pau's noticeable complacency landed younger brother a ticket to Orlando for this year's NBA's All-Star game while Pau watched from the sidelines in Los Angeles.
Who Ya Got?
For the two brothers whose styles of play couldn't be more different, can't we have both? Can't we form a truly unstoppable Gasol that takes the best from both worlds?
NBA GMs might get their wish with Adria Gasol, the 17-year-old younger brother of the two and possible heir to the Gasol throne, contemplating a basketball career of his own.
But as far as sibling rivalries go, big brother can only beat up on little brother for so long.
Pau's drop in production this year is frustrating for many Laker fans, but really, who can blame him? He was shipped to the Houston Rockets in the CP3 trade, nearly traded to Minnesota for Kevin Love and has been hearing calls for his departure all season long.
The talent and skills are still there, but Pau's will has surely been damaged by the incessant trade talk. Perhaps Thursday's trade deadline can serve as closure and give Pau the opportunity to finally settle in for the season and fully embrace a team all too reluctant to return the favor.
Regardless of how Thursday's trade deadline plays out, Laker fans must take time from the uncertainty to truly appreciate and give thanks for the two NBA championships and overwhelming success Pau Gasol has brought their city—before it's too late.
Marc may be showing more promise than his brother today, but on that fateful day in 2008, Los Angeles definitely made the right choice.