The Los Angeles Lakers are coming off of their second straight loss after a very disappointing 107-92 defeat against the Detroit Pistons. Anthony Davis was missing for the game against the Pistons, however, the loss did highlight some potential weak spots and holes in the roster. One of the biggest weaknesses being Marc Gasol.
Gasol finished yet another game without scoring a single point despite being in the game for over thirty minutes. Without Davis in the lineup, the offensive implications that come with that fall on the shoulders of role players like Gasol to pick up the slack.
Along with this, Gasol seems to be too slow to keep up with the pace that the Lakers want to play at when their starters are on the court. This season, the Lakers have dropped to having the 17th fastest pace in the league compared to the 11th fastest pace that they played at last season.
This raises the question:
Should Marc Gasol be starting for the Los Angeles Lakers?
Playing at a slower pace is not automatically a bad thing or enough of something to keep someone on the bench. However, it seems that this Lakers team thrives in the fast break and when there is chaos on the court.
The Lakers have improved to have the best defensive rating in the league and rank second in opponent points per game. Last season, the center would frequently fly down the floor after a miss and be ready under the basket to score off of a full-court pass. This is impossible this season, simply because Marc Gasol is too slow.
This season, Gasol has seen the least amount of minutes per game of his career. While this explains why his averages in certain categories are low, it does not excuse just how lower they are.
Despite only playing seven fewer minutes per game than he did with the Toronto Raptors last year, Gasol has still seen his points per game nearly cut in half, his rebounds per game drop from 6.3 to 4.6 a game, and his assists per game going from 3.3 to 2.1 a game.
However, it could be smarter for the Lakers to give Gasol a little more time to prove himself as a starting quality player on a championship contender before they move on from him.
It is clear that Gasol is doing his best to play his role and arguably is trying too hard. He is far too focused on being a facilitator for the team in all facets of his game. While this makes sense and sounds perfect on paper, on the court it leaves him being a nonfactor or arguably a negative for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Marc Gasol is a great player with possibly a Hall of Fame career. However, with the game getting faster and basketball becoming more positionless, it could be time for Frank Vogel to think about moving Montrezl Harrell to the starting spot.