There are very few centers in the league that can match Pau Gasol in terms of quickness, so much that with his skill set he is able to play both as a team’s big man or a power forward.
Pau Gasol is a double-double machine, with 550 double-doubles recorded in his NBA career. Offensively, he is difficult to guard for his ambidextrous approach. He defends well and has a good shot blocking record.
But what makes the 6x NBA All-Star fit nicely with Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and the San Antonio Spurs is his open personality and basketball IQ.
There is no doubt he would have fit in with the team a couple of years ago with players like Tim Duncan, who is humble and well mannered. Unfortunately, we never got to see them both on the same team when the Spurs offered Pau Gasol the opportunity.
According to a report by Yahoo! Sports, the Spanish pro-baller declined the chance to team up with Tim Duncan and chose to play with the Bulls instead for more playing time as a starter.
Despite being a solid performer there was no way he could have outperformed Tim Duncan in any way, so he made a career-defining choice, which afforded him better leadership roles in a more active season.
He now has another chance to make it work with San Antonio, albeit with another big man in LaMarcus Aldridge.
Like Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge is a type of performer who seamlessly fits in with his teammates. He is a consistent performer acquired from the Trail Blazers, who knows his place, and works in a way that is not disruptive to the team’s chemistry.
This time around both big men won’t be challenging each other for the valuable time, and would cooperate in buttressing an aging team’s defensive, as well as the offensive game orchestrated by veteran guard Tony Parker.
There is no replacement for a player as great as Tim Duncan, so the Spurs were wise enough to enjoin two fundamentally solid big men in his place with Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge.
LaMarcus Aldridge averaged 18 pts. last season with 8.5 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game.
The presence of two reliable big men on the basketball court will help increase the confidence of the team, with Tony Parker given more options.
Pau Gasol is also a good passer, which will help foster the Spurs’ teamwork and style. His athleticism, too, will bode well for fast paced games.
Pau Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge are expected to complement each other, thus taking over the burden of carrying the weight of leadership Tim Duncan had left behind, which will be beneficial for the Spurs under Gregg Popovich.
Photo courtesy: Klearchos Kapoutsis/Flickr