Today we will revisit the career of Pau Gasol and how he landed in a purple and gold uniform. The six-time All-Star began his professional career with Barcelona in Spain from 1998-2001. Gasol was so impressive that he would be selected third by the Atlanta Hawks in the 2001 NBA Draft.
Gasol was immediately traded to the Memphis Grizzlies in a package for Shareef Abdur Rahim. Gasol had a huge impact right away as he won Rookie of the Year. The Spaniard averaged 17.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks. Despite having a big season the Grizzlies only won 23 games.
The trend continued for Gasol and the Grizzlies in his second year as they won only 28 games. Gasol averaged 19 points and 8.8 rebounds.
Things changed for Pau Gasol and company in his third season the 2003-04 year. They improved as a team significantly winning 50 games. Unfortunately for Memphis, they were swept against San Antonio in the first round. The Grizzlies had similar seasons over then next two years, but they failed in the playoffs each time. Phoenix and Dallas would sweep them in the first round those years.
In Gasol’s fifth season (2005-06) he was finally rewarded for his individual play, being named an All-Star. The big man averaged 20.4 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 4.6 assists. Gasol had become a much better player as he was stronger, a better passer, and more comfortable around the basket.
Then the Los Angeles Lakers changed Pau Gasol’s legacy forever.
In the middle of the 2007-08 season, the best thing that could’ve happened to Gasol happened. He was traded. The Lakers dealt Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, Marc Gasol, Aaron McKie, and a few picks for him.
Gasol fit in well right away with Bryant and the Lakers. Gasol averaged 18.8 points and 7.9 rebounds in 27 games. Gasol also shot a career-best 59 percent from the field in that span.
His stellar play helped the Lakers secure a number seed in the Western Conference. The Lakers went on to the NBA Finals but they lost to the Boston Celtics in six games. It was a sign of the greatness that was coming back in Los Angeles.
For the next two seasons, Gasol had two All-Star seasons, helping the Lakers win back-to-back finals against the Magic and those same Celtics that had beat them two seasons before.
Gasol was magnificent in those championship runs, averaging 19 points and 11 rebounds.
He would go on to play four more seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers after the titles. Gasol missed time with injuries in his final three seasons in LA. He missed at least 17 games in each of those seasons. The Lakers made the playoffs from 2011-13 but didn’t make it past the second round.
Pau Gasol decided to sign with the Chicago Bulls in 2014. Gasol made a pair of All-Star games with them before going to San Antonio via free-agency in 2016. Gasol spent the next two seasons with the Spurs mostly injured.
At the moment he is a free agent as he was waived by Portland earlier in the season. Gasol is recovering from a left-foot injury. It’s unclear if he will play in 2020-21.
One thing that is clear is the big man will be headed for the Hall of Fame. Gasol will never be forgotten by the Lakers faithful for his seven years of greatness with them.