NBA Experience: 11 Years
Contract Status: Signed thru 2013-14
2011-12 Averages: 17.3 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 3.5 apg, 37.4 mpg, 50% FG, 78% FT, 1.3 bpg
If all you did was look at his numbers you’d think it was business as usual for Pau Gasol during the 2011-12 season. His production dipped every so slightly yet if you ask Laker fans they’d paint a much different picture of Pau’s performance this past year.
As we all know it was a season of unrest for Gasol. He was traded, un-traded and then was rumored to be traded again all year long. That certainly didn’t help his confidence and neither did Mike Brown’s misguided offense.
Coach Brown impressed Jim Buss with a great interview and a philosophy of making Andrew Bynum the hub of the Lakers’ offense. That approach got Brown a job and left Gasol out in the cold as the Spaniard was relegated to getting token touches 20 feet away from the hoop. For whatever reason Brown got the ridiculous idea that Gasol was a shooter.
It became all too common to see Gasol camping in the corner where he would wait to shoot spot-up threes. That has never been a strength of his game and it likely never will. He might be a Euro big man but Gasol’s game is all about doing work in the paint. Typically one of the more efficient players in the NBA Pau’s shooting percentage has been on the decline for three years running now and this past season was his lowest since he left Memphis for Los Angeles.
It goes without saying that Gasol’s future in purple and gold is unclear. Two straight playoff flops have pushed Pau’s good graces with Laker fans and the front office alike. He was trade bait before the season began and that hasn’t changed now that it’s over.
If we have seen the last of Pau it will be an unfit end to a player that has meant so much to this franchise. Three trips to the Finals, two more banners hung in Staples and one big trade that kept Kobe Bryant in L.A. are the lasting legacies of the Spaniard. Unfortunately in the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately business of hoops all those accomplishments mean nothing when you’re not parading down Figueroa in June.