Coming into the season all the talk was about how limited Kobe Bryant’s playing time would be. Now, all that talk is shifting to how much PT Pau Gasol is getting. Clocking nearly 40 minutes a night, including a couple of 44 minute outings, means Gasol could be gassed early on in the season.
Those tired legs were on display in Denver as the Spaniard slumped his way to making just 6 of 17 shots but still managed to fill up the box with a healthy 17 points and 20 rebounds.
Knowing that he’d need to be in prime condition for the regular season, Pau took the summer off. Probably the best move he could have made given Andrew Bynum’s delayed recovery. In fact, Bynum’s absence is now having a ripple effect.
Initially, it wasn’t thought to be a huge concern knowing Lamar Odom could step in and Theo Ratliff would be able to provide 8-10 minutes a night for Phil Jackson’s big man rotation. Now that Ratliff is out for at least a month after undergoing knee surgery, there are even fewer bodies to be found to give the bigs a blow.
Last night in Milwaukee, PJ refused to let rookie Derrick Caracter get a single minute of PT when his team needed him most to spell Pau and LO on the front end of a back to back.
All this has led Mitch Kupchak on a hunt to track down a big body for the short term. Names such as Erick Dampier and Jake Voskhul are making the rounds but as of now there has been no movement.
While Pau is able to handle the extended minutes now it will prove to be problematic later. With Odom nursing a sore foot and no definite timetable locked for Byum’s return the fallout could have some serious long term implications.
For now, Gasol is just going to have to suck it up and get plenty of rest on off nights. After all, Odom is in the same boat and while both would love a night off that’s a luxury this team just can’t afford right now.