Marc Gasol is struggling mightily for the Los Angeles Lakers
Most Lakers fans did not expect to see Gasol play this poorly and this sparingly. His stats do not tell his whole story but tell enough of it: Gasol has averaged 4 points, 4.5 rebounds, and nearly 2 assists per game in 19 minutes of action this season.
This stat line is ghastly for a former all-star. Even more ghastly: Gasol only scored 5 points in the last three games combined. He only played 10 minutes in the last game against Cleveland.
As an unabashed Marc Gasol fan, it is sad to see him be taken out of the game so quickly for either Montrezl Harrell or Markeiff Morris. Gasol is overqualified as a spot-up shooter playing alongside both LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Why Marc Gasol should continue to start for the Los Angeles Lakers:
At some point, it is fair to question whether Gasol should continue to start. The only saving grace is the Lakers always get out to hot starts. For this reason alone, if I were Lakers head coach Frank Vogel I would keep Gasol in the starting lineup for this reason alone.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Moreover, keeping Gasol as a starter allows Montrezl Harrell to continue to come off the bench to wreck opposing second units. Worst case scenario, Gasol can allow Anthony Davis to play power forward in certain matchups (Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets come to mind) for the first few minutes of the game.
But Gasol is only playing a few minutes per game as it stands right now. This is the worst case scenario envisioned when Gasol signed with the Lakers this offseason. Lakers Head Coach Frank Vogel will have to keep cutting Gasol’s minutes if he continues to not impact the box score at all.
Gasol’s defense is not flawless either. Partly at his expense, Cleveland’s center Andre Drummond scored 25 points and grabbed 17 rebounds. The Lakers still have the league’s top-rated defense, but Drummond’s monster night concerns me going forward. Opposing big men will continue to feast if Gasol’s struggles worsen.
If Vogel benches Gasol, it would be business, not personal. But the business decision to bench Gasol may prove to be a bad idea as the season progresses. Like Javale McGee and Dwight Howard last season, Gasol will be needed at some point in the playoffs.