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Breaking Down Gasol Through 8-Games (Video)

Feb 22 2008 8:50PM

Its been over two weeks since the Lakers acquired Pau Gasol from the Memphis Grizzlies, but his enormous impact on the Lakers still has the city and league buzzing. Lakers.com looks at the added dimension Gasol has provided the Lakers down low and how his presence has had a ripple effect on the entire team.

Prior to joining the Lakers, Gasol was primarily known for his amazing touch around the hoop. True to form, Gasol has already displayed his outstanding finesse game in helping the Lakers to six wins in seven games, including five in a row. Specifically, weve already seen Pau exhibit the following skills:


Click here to watch clips of Pau demonstrating
these abilities in a Lakers uniform.
Quickness: At over 7 tall, Gasol is one of the most mobile big men in the game, weaving his way around the basket much like a guard would. Whether hes backing down an opponent or facing them up, Pau is confident in his ability to drive to the hoop from anywhere on the court.

Length: Its one thing to have a height advantage and simply be able to out-jump opponents, but its another thing altogether when a player has the ability to stand flat-footed and still snatch the ball away from the other team. Gasols monstrous wingspan enables him to do exactly that; whether hes shooting over an opponent or pulling down a rebound, Paus incredible length is one of his biggest assets.

Hands: Gasol has some of the best hands in the game for a big man. Whether hes shooting a 16 footer or throwing in a layup around the hoop, Paus touch from all areas of the court extends defenses in a way the Lakers havent been accustomed to for years.

Passing: After enduring several years of big men who were poor passers, the Lakers finally have a player in Gasol who can effectively dish the ball from the block. Not since Shaq has L.A. had such a reliable passing option from the low and high block.

Shooting: Aside from maybe Dirk Nowitzki, youd be hard pressed to find a player who is over 611 that has a sweeter stroke than Gasol. Pau has mastered the rare combination of a lethal mid-range game and a potent post game.

Help Defense: Pau is not an especially intimidating one-on-one defender, but in seven games with the Lakers, he has already shown that he can be an effective help defender when need be. Once Andrew Bynum returns from injury, this particular facet of his game could prove crucial to the Lakers success.

Perhaps no one has benefited more from the addition of Gasol than Kobe Bryant. After years of calling for a bona fide second scorer, #24 finally got his wish when the Lakers brought Pau in from Memphis. With Gasol joining Bryantand Andrew Bynum when healthyas one of the only players on the team capable of drawing a double team, Kobe has the perfect decoy.

Lamar Odom has also played exceptionally well with Gasol, answering critics who pondered whether or not he should be moved for a more prototypical small forward. Since Pau landed in L.A., Odom has been a titan on the board for the Lakers, as evidenced by his recent triple double against Minnesota and his energizing 17 point, 15 rebound performance against Atlanta on Tuesday night.

While there is no doubting the fact that Bryant and Odom have benefited the most from Gasols game, the role players have also played extremely well since his arrival. In particular, Vladimir Radmanovic, Jordan Farmar and Sasha Vujacicthe teams three most reliable shooters from behind the archave all seen an increase in open shots thanks to Paus interior presence.

After making a large trade, many teams take weeks and sometimes, even months before they establish the proper chemistry. For the Lakers and Gasol, it has seemingly happened overnight.