Pau Gasol: 10 Reasons Why He Is the Key to the Lakers' Three-Peat

Joshua SextonSenior Analyst IIJanuary 27, 2011

Pau Gasol: 10 Reasons Why He Is the Key to the Lakers' Three-Peat

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 25:  Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers dunks over Paul Millsap #24 of the Utah Jazz in the second half at Staples Center on January 25, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers defeated the Jazz 120-91. NOTE TO USER: Use
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Since Pau Gasol joined the Lakers in the middle of the 2008 season, the team has been to three straight NBA Finals and has won back-to-back championships. But at times this season, the Lakers have not looked like a championship basketball team.

    Obviously, to get back on track and win their third straight title, Pau Gasol's play is just as important as anyone else donning purple and gold. Here are 10 reasons why Pau Gasol is the key to the team's three-peat dreams.

High Basketball I.Q.

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 17:  Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks to pass around Nick Collison #4 of the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Staples Center on January 17, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)   NOTE TO US
    Harry How/Getty Images

    I could talk all day about Gasol's physical abilities, but what makes Gasol extra special is he is good and smart. Phil Jackson has stated that Gasol picked up the difficult triangle offense as quickly as anyone he has coached.

    Gasol's deep understanding of the offense is critical for the Lakers' philosophy of playing inside-outside basketball.

Great Passing Ability

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 02:  Zach Randolph #50 of the Memphis Grizzlies attempts to steal the ball away from Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half at Staples Center on January 2, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Grizzlies def
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Pau Gasol is a point guard in a big man's body. Gasol is easily the best passing big man in the NBA. He often creates easy baskets for his teammates playing from both the high and low post.

Gasol Is the Perfect Second Banana

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    SACRAMENTO, CA - NOVEMBER 03:  Kobe Bryant #24 and Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers walk off the court for halftime after the Lakers made a last second shot against the Sacramento Kings at ARCO Arena on November 3, 2010 in Sacramento, California.
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    At times, Gasol can be unselfish to a fault. Sometimes he should look for his own shot a little more than he already does. With that being said, can you imagine a better complementary player for Kobe Bryant?

    Imagine having a player with Gasol's capabilities accompanied with a huge ego playing alongside Kobe. It could be Shaq vs. Kobe Part 2.

    Gasol is the perfect Robin to Kobe's Batman.

Blocks and Rebounds

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    DENVER, CO - JANUARY 21:  Nene #31 of the Denver Nuggets puts up a shot between Andrew Bynum #17 and Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers at the Pepsi Center on January 21, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Lakers defeated the Nuggets 107-97. NOTE TO USER:
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Gasol is a top-five rebounder and ranks in the top 10 in blocked shots. For all of the talk about Gasol being soft, he quietly takes care of business on the defensive end.

Been There, Done That

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    PHOENIX, AZ - JANUARY 05:  Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on December 23, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Lakers defeated the Suns 99-95.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges a
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Gasol is a back-to-back NBA champion. I think it is safe to say that come playoff time, Gasol will be ready to help defend the championship.

He Takes Pressure Off Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 17:  Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts in the second half with teammate Andrew Bynum #17 while taking on the Boston Celtics in Game Seven of the 2010 NBA Finals at Staples Center on June 17, 2010 in Los Angeles, Califor
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    While Odom is a little more versatile and Bynum more physical, Gasol is still the best overall player of the team's three-headed frontcourt monster.

    Odom and Bynum have received some criticism for their inconsistency in the past. Think if they didn't have Pau Gasol around.

Other Players Get Better Shots With Gasol Around

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 07:  Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers reaches for a pass from Derek Fisher #16 as Chris Paul #3 of the New Orleans Hornets defends at Staples Center on January 7, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  The Lakers won 101-97.  N
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Gasol often warrants a double-team from the opposition's defense. This leaves other Lakers with quality shots. The other Lakers reap the benefits of Gasol warranting a double-team so often.

Gasol Has an Improved Outside Game

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    PHOENIX, AZ - JANUARY 05:  Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers puts up a shot against the Phoenix Suns during the NBA game at US Airways Center on January 5, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Lakers defeated the Suns 99-95.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly a
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Maybe it is just me, but Gasol seems to be shooting the 15-to-18-foot jumper more this season. In addition, he knocks it down at a fairly high percentage.

    Gasol broadening his game will only make opposing defenses lose more sleep come this spring.

Gasol Will Be Well Rested Come Playoff Time

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 19:  Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers rests on the bench during a timeout in the game against the Chicago Bulls on November 19, 2009 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Earlier in the season, Gasol was getting fatigued late in games with Andrew Bynum sidelined with his knee injury. Now that Bynum is back and finding his timing, Gasol's conditioning will be in better shape come playoff time.

He Is Really, Really Good

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 14:  Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots drives past Kris Humphries #43 of the New Jersey Nets at Staples Center on January 14, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers won 100-88.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly ackn
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Gasol is simply the most skilled big man we have going in the league today. Having a player like Gasol in your frontcourt makes you a championship contender right off the bat.

    Gasol put the Lakers back on the map when he came to the team in 2008. Remember, before Gasol came along, Kobe was demanding to be traded. Two championships later, those days seem like thousands of years ago.

    Some people still use the fact he is not the most physical player as a crutch to criticize him. It pains me that people still doubt Gasol's worth.

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