Marc Vs. Pau: Who Has Better 2011-2012 Season?
Marc and Pau Gasol’s respective starts to the 2011-2012 season have gone in completely opposite directions so far; but can it last for the duration of the year? Is Marc suddenly the best Gasol in the NBA?
So far, Pau’s 12th NBA season has gotten off to a rough beginning. Even though he’s playing the second highest minutes per game of his career (37.3), his production has gone the exact opposite direction.
Even with more minutes, he is averaging the second lowest amount of FGA’s per game (12.9). His FG% of .509% is the second lowest of his career. His FGA per game (3.3) is the lowest of his career by nearly two less free throw attempts per game. His 9.3 rpg is the lowest since he joined the Lakers. His 1.4 blocks per game is the lowest of his career, as is his points per game average (15.8). Ironically all this is happening when the Lakers need him the most and is a continuation from his substandard performance in last year’s playoffs.
Sure, a lot of it can be blamed on the new offensive system Mike Brown brought to LA which requires Gasol to drift outside the paint more frequently (as 11 three point attempts in 18 games would indicate, five less than his career high for a season), but more than anything, Gasol just looks different. His body language is defeated; he seems agitated a lot more frequently. Maybe it’s the near-trade to Houston that got nixed last minute. In short, he has no mojo anymore.
“I would like to go inside,” said Gasol about his early struggles. “You pick teams apart when you have good inside players and we have two pretty good inside players on this team that can do a lot of damage. I would like to get a couple of more looks inside the paint,” Gasol said. “That will increase the percentage of the shots.”
Getting Gasol going is the key to the Lakers success. Over the last five games Gasol averaged 13.8 ppg and shot just over 40%; the Lakers lost four of those five games.
Meanwhile across the country, Marc Gasol is enjoying the most productive year of his four year NBA career.
The recipient of the Western Conference player of the week award led the Grizzlies to a perfect 4-0 during that span. Gasol is averaging career highs in rebounds (10.6 rpg), assists (3.1 apg), steals (1.1 spg) and points (15.2 ppg). The most impressive stat is his 2.6 blocks per game, also a career high, which stands in direct contrast to the critics’ idea that the younger Gasol wasn’t a “true” inside player and was more focused on offense. Instead, Gasol is exhibiting an all-around game befitting of the $58 million dollar contract he signed prior to the season.
Does Pau get it together in the coming weeks? Or has Marc passed his brother?
Who ends with the better 2011-12 season?