"I do not think there's anything to prove on my side," Gasol said via email when asked if he was eager to put the Lakers' postseason behind him. "Last season we didn't perform during the playoffs as we were supposed to. . . . You cannot win every year; there are a lot of very good teams in the league."
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Pau Gasol, ‘thou protest too much’.
Gasol is in denial if he thinks he and the Los Angeles Lakers don’t have something to prove after losing to the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference Semi-Finals last May.
He, and his team, have everything to prove.
Gasol had an up-and-down regular season, but belongs on a milk carton after disappearing in the playoffs against the Mavericks.
His play was so poor former coach Phil Jackson, in a fit of un-Zen-like behaviour, shoved him. Their exchange was played over-and-over again on you tube as the Mavs’ swept the Lakers.
Then Laker-nation piled on. Snoop Dogg, the West Coast rapper, attacked via twitter. Gossip rags speculated that teammate Shannon Brown was to blame for his split with a longtime girlfriend.
(For the record, Brown, who is married to the singer Monica, denied the rumor.)
There was a school of thought that Gasol would be dealt, and the Lakers supposedly tested the market for their finesse-four at the end of June after the NBA Finals.
So Gasol, like it or not, must prove he’s still a premier player. He has company, though.
The Lakers are expected to win the championship every year, which is why their ownership consistently exceeds the luxury tax. Except after winning back-to-back Larry O’Brien trophies in 2009 and 2010, the purple-and-gold got embarrassed by Team Cuban.
The Lakers were out-hustled and out-worked; they looked like complacent Hollywood stars and not the team that captured consecutive championships.
Bottom line: Gasol and the Lakers have everything to prove.
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