Fundamental meet fundamentals.
While everyone had been pining and investing time and money into the Kevin Durant sweepstakes, the San Antonio Spurs picked up Pau Gasol. It was a below the radar signing.
Gasol opted out of his contract with the Bulls. He signed a 2-year deal worth approximately $15 million per year. Taking off the cherry red Bulls jersey and putting on the Spurs black and silver seems fitting. For $15 million, (and definitely taking into consideration the bolstering cap space), Pau Gasol is one of the best free agent pick ups this summer.
Pau Gasol is a player who toppled career averages in various categories at the age of 34. During the 2014-2015 season, Gasol put up 18.5 PTS, 11.8 TRBS 2.8 OFFRBS and 2.0 BLKS. He quietly beat his career averages in steals, turnovers, and assists as well. In some categories, the Spaniard eclipsed his championship years with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Although Gasol is not setting the bar in the league by any means, his game is evolving to beat his personal numbers. And his personal numbers are competitive with the modern league.
The traditional post player gives the Spurs offensive options. Historically, Gasol emulates the offensive mobility and skillset of Kevin McHale during McHale’s stint with 1980s Celtics ensemble cast. The 7’0” center will be co-commanding the paint with LaMarcus Aldridge. Welcome to Texas, where everything is big.
Satchel Page of SB Nation noticed that Pau “remodels the group […] who can anchor the paint while occasionally stepping out offensively to hit jumpers.”
Tim Duncan is slowly degrading health-wise and may retire so Gasol is substituting offense for defense. And with Aldridge on the floor, his versatile game will manifest into an interchangeable two-way player for the San Antonio Spurs. Unclogging lanes, giving space, and scoring on the perimeter, his basketball veracity is truly undeniable. He has proven this with the Memphis Grizzlies, Los Angeles Lakers, and Chicago Bulls. With Boris Diaw leaving, Pau Gasol’s eclectic talent is a logical fit to fill the Diaw void.
Kelly Scaletta, of Bleacher Report, states that Pau is the “second player in league history above age 34 to average at least 15 points, 10 rebounds, and two blocks.”
The league should be bowing down in awe, his longevity dependent upon basketball fundamentals and IQ, over athletic reliance. Pau Gasol is miles better than the average power forward in every category (courtesy RealGM).
|Average Power Forward||23.8||9.9||5.8|
Father Prime is a coined name for Dwayne Wade, but it is easily as applicable to the Spanish forward. Most players at his age would crumble from injury or mental fatigue. Not Pau.
Though Pau Gasol is an amazing individual entity, the main concern boils down to chemistry. If this is the “main” concern, the Spurs are going to be coasting in the regular season.
Gasol is a desirable addition, and he will have minimal problems fitting in with the Spurs culture of winning.
In his recent Player’s Tribune article, Gasol admits, “Winning on the court takes precedence over anything else.”
While Timofey Mozgov’s contract supersedes Gasol’s, Pau Gasol is focused on rings. The Spurs are cemented in the league, making the playoffs in 19 consecutive seasons. This is what they do, and this is what Pau Gasol wants. They both want to win.
The Spaniard nearly recorded his career average in the playoffs two years ago. There is gas left in his tank, and with the Spurs making the playoffs 19 years in a row, Pau will sustain his numbers throughout the brutal, cutthroat Western Conference Playoffs.
|PER||True Shooting %|
|Average Power Forward||14.6||52.9%|
Because of winning two Larry O’Brien trophies with the Los Angeles Lakers, Pau has grown accustomed to a championship culture. And the San Antonio Spurs offer exactly that.
photo via llananba