Is Pau Gasol Lakers Version of Carlos Boozer?
Overpaid, underproductive and unmotivated. At points in the 2011-12 season, all three of these words have been used to describe both Pau Gasol and Carlos Boozer.
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Who agreed to pay them this much?
Both are power forwards. Both are amongst the highest paid players in the league; Gasol at $18.7 million ranks seventh while Boozer ranks 25th pocketing $13.55 million this year. Both players should be their team’s #2 scoring threat.
Neither player has been asked to carry the load this season- just serve as a complementary, consistent piece that can be relied on when the team’s star (Derrick Rose, Kobe Bryant) is hurt or less than productive.
Prior to this year, there is no comparing the careers of this two players- Gasol has two rings and the production to surpass Boozer. But what makes them similar this season is how bad their teams have needed them. And at certain points, neither player has delivered.
After an underwhelming regular season which saw Boozer set career lows in most major categories, he followed that up with an even worse series against the Sixers. With no Rose, the Bulls needed Boozer to earn his money and produce for the remainder of the series, and he didn’t, contributing three points and one made field goal in a one point loss that ended the Bulls season.
Gasol stepped up in a game seven victory versus the Nuggets in round one with 23 points and 17 rebounds, but in the six games prior he averaged just nine ppg and 6.5 rpg. His lack of production was a huge factor in why the series even went seven games.
If you don’t get Gasol involved early, just like with Boozer, you may get nothing out of him that night. And more than any season prior, when Gasol isn’t involved in the low post game he drifts further and further out of the lane, content to settle for shots 15 feet away and beyond. Gasol has the touch to make more of those shots than the average seven footer, but why when he can be a complete beast in the paint, especially alongside Andrew Bynum?
Is Gasol to blame for the game one loss to OKC? Absolutely not. But what happened to the guy who put up 20 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists against the Thunder in a double OT win less than a month ago? The Lakers need him to show up ASAP, or their season is over, just like Carlos Boozer’s.