Apr 9, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers power forward Pau Gasol (16) and shooting guard Kobe Bryant (24) in the second half against the New Orleans Hornets at the Staples Center. Lakers won 104-96. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

LA Lakers Top 10 #10: PAUwerful

The Los Angeles Lakers are one of the most storied and historic franchises in all of sports. They have enjoyed tremendous ownership, a passionate fan-base, and some of the greatest players in NBA history, including some of the all-time great big men. Here, we will look at who we at the Lake Show Life agreed upon as the 10th greatest Laker ever, who has earned his place amongst the historic line of bigs, Pau Gasol.

Pau Gasol was acquired by the Lakers in February 2008, in a trade that drastically changed the landscape of not only the western conference, but of the NBA itself. The Lakers were already considered a playoff threat, with Kobe Bryant in his prime, Lamar Odom playing well, and a young Andrew Bynum coming into his own until the first of several devestating knee injuries occured. The Gasol trade caught everyone by surprise; rival execs, fans, and even Gasol’s soon to be team-mates. With Bynum expected back from injury for the playoffs, the Lakers were suddenly not just a post-season threat, but now had to be considered a serious title contendor. Gasol was the franchise player for the Memphis Grizzlies, but he had clearly shown being the focal point of a team’s offense was not his strong suit, and was much more comfortable in a supporting role, which he would soon thrive in playing with Bryant.

With the addition of Gasol as the number 2 guy in LA, the Lakers adavanced to 3 straight NBA Finals appearences, winning 2 of them. Kobe finally had the sidekick he’d been waiting for, and someone who happily embraced the sidekick role. He came into LA averaging 18.9 ppg, 8.8 rpg, and 3 apg. , and maintained those numbers through the remainder of the season, making him the ideal beta dog to Bryant’s alpha.

What makes Gasol so great, and puts him on this top 10 list, is that throughout his career with the Lakers, he has been nothing short of the consumate professional, and team-mate that everyone associated with the Lakers has nothing but praise for. He is a legitimate threat from both inside and mid-range (his top of the key jumper must be respected), can rebound the ball, and is an under-rated passer. He does whatever is needed and demanded of him, and rarely, if ever, strays from the flow of the offense. Quite frankly, without Gasol, the 2009 and 2010 championships would not have been won.

While Gasol is clearly an all-time Laker great, whose number should (and likely will) be raised to the rafters some day, and a future hall of famer, he his not without his faults. He is often very passive, sometimes frustratingly so. He was practically man-handled by the tougher and more aggressive Kevin Garnett in the 2008 NBA Finals vs. the Boston Celtics. Gasol is not naturally aggressive, and more often than not has to be called out on his lack of aggression by both team-mates and coaches. He is more a finesse player, and often times becomes frustrated being roughed up by the more aggressive big men in the league.

The pros of Gasol clearly outweigh the cons. While he at times lacks aggression, one thing he never lacks is heart and determination. That, combined with his wide-varying skill set on the court, which is rarely seen in big men in the NBA, makes him the 10th greatest Laker of all time.

Tags: Los Angeles Lakers Pau Gasol

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  • Jim213

    Disagree, currently #18-20, though he still has years left to get closer to top 10.

    • Fern Rea

      18-20? What?

      He was the #2 guy for a team that won 2 championships and made 3 final appearances. What 17 to 19 guys would you put in front of that?

      I dont want to hear any role players either like Cooper, Scott, Fisher, Horry, etc. Pau was a #2 guy like a Scottie Pippen to Jordan, McHale to Bird, etc.

      • Jim213

        A #2 guy = consistency, he’s a role player too not a franchise player. AC was more consistent aside of some other players you’ve brought up. Let’s see if he earns his pay next season.

        • Fern Rea

          Nobody said Gasol is a franchise player. He failed being the #1 guy in Memphis, but as a #2 guy next to a dominant #1 guy of Kobe Bryant, it worked beautifully.It resulted in 2 championships and 3 final appearances, that trumps all the role players in the Lakers history.

          AC, Coop, Fish, Fox, all of these guys were role players, they supported the stars. Since their roles were smaller than those higher in the chain, they dont get the credit than that of guys like Pau, Worthy, Kareem, Shaq, Kobe and Magic who were the stars.

          • Jim213

            Coop is one of the top 2 all time defensive players for the Lakers. The reason that he didn’t get too much notoriety was due to backing up Magic. Even L Bird has mentioned that Coop was the toughest defender he faced.

            A few of these players that you’ve mentioned conformed to their roles which benefited the team overall. But it’s Pau’s inconsistency that leaves doubt otherwise I’d don’t believe we’d be hearing trade rumors about Pau on a yearly basis.

          • Fern Rea

            I am not trying to discredit Coop at all. He was an amazing role player and he should be on the all time Lakers list, I think ahead of Fish, Horry, Fox and AC.

            but you cant compare him to a guy like Pau who had a much bigger role with the team that won rings.

            When you think of those 80s team, what was the pecking order? Starting with the biggest role and contributor its Magic, Kareem, Wilkes, Nixon then cooper…later in the 80s it was Magic, Worthy, Kareem, Scott, then Coop..he was the 4th guy…Pau was #2 without a doubt. That carries more weight in top lakers of all time in my opinion.

            The Pau trade rumors were after the 3 year run when the Lakers were looking towards the future.

          • Jim213

            This may upset you though not intended but it seems that you’re placing Gasol in the top #10 b/c he’s supposedly the 2nd guy in the team. Not for his overall consistency in his play that could help the Lakers come playoff time. A lot of these players especially Coop settled within their roles.

            You should look at Bleach Reports Lakers Top 25 though I disagree somewhat given that J West is the 3rd All Time Greatest Laker. LOL… They even placed former 6th man Lamar Odom slightly higher than Gasol too. You agree?

          • Fern Rea

            Im sure there are many list out there I wouldnt agree with.

            It doesnt upset me, just mind-boggling because I cant follow the logic of putting guys that had limited roles with the Lakers ahead of someone like Pau who had more responsibility and contributed so much more than these role players that you want to put a head of him.

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