Marc Gasol has yet to play in the NBA, while big brother Pau is a veteran of seven seasons, mostly spent playing for the Memphis Grizzlies. Pau was traded midway through last season to the L.A. Lakers in a deal, which ironically included Marc being sent to Memphis.
Marc hadn’t actually been playing for the Lakers at the time, but they held his rights after drafting him back in 2007.
Marc is making the switch this season from the controversial CB Girona club in Spain to join the Grizzlies as he begins his NBA career. Last season, Pau helped the Lakers advance to the NBA finals where they were defeated by the Boston Celtics in six games.
The brothers are about the same height, although Marc is slightly heavier despite being five years younger. On appearance, they favor the same shaggy-haired look, more rock star than athlete.
Looks can be deceiving though, and Marc will be looking to emulate the individual success Pau has had in the NBA. While championship glory has eluded him, Pau has been an All-Star and is good for around 18 points and 8 rebounds per game.
The brothers were teammates when they represented Spain in the Beijing Olympics and picked up silver medals after being defeated by the United States in the final.
After watching the Olympic Games, there appears to be yet another Gasol brother. His name is also Pau as well, but he is much different to the aforementioned Laker.
He looks the same. He’s scruffy and unshaven. On the court he has the same soft hands and quick feet that allow him to get to the hoop or knock down an array of mid-range jumpshots, and left or right-handed baby-hooks accurately and consistently.
He’s aggressive too, but it’s not an ‘in-your-face’ type of aggression, just a determined look that tells you that he wants to win badly.
He can rebound and defend well and when he’s close enough, he often throws the ball down for a dunk, sometimes fiercely.
Confused? Don’t worry, Kobe Bryant probably is too - maybe more so than any of us.
In the last few months Bryant has seen a lot of Pau Gasol. They were teammates in Los Angeles before becoming opponents in the Olympics. In the gold medal match Gasol (and Spain) came within nine points of turning Kobe (and the United States) into a bridesmaid for the second time in a matter of months.
After the Olympic finale, in between admiring looks at his gold medal, Kobe must have paused to consider how Spain’s Pau would have benefited the Lakers in June when they were vying for the NBA crown against the Celtics.
That version, the Lakers’ Gasol, put up solid numbers in the Finals, but he wasn’t the same guy who relentlessly twisted and turned his way into the paint against Kobe and his Team USA buddies.
When Boston’s Kevin Garnett would push him off the block, L.A.’s Gasol would often back off. When it was Dwight Howard or Chris Bosh bumping him for Team USA, Spain’s Gasol was never afraid to go back for more.
KG is different than facing Howard or Bosh. Garnett rarely invites his opponents into the paint but when he does, it’s in that reverse psychology “come on in, I want you to” way.
Howard and Bosh aren’t quite as intense and imposing, but neither are pushovers either. They were considered the USA’s best available big men when chosen to play in Beijing.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a tougher Gasol on the international stage.
Two years ago at the World Championships in Tokyo, he was named the tournament MVP while leading Spain to a gold medal. Sadly, he missed the final against Greece as he broke his foot in the semifinal against Argentina.
Maybe it’s Pau’s blood. Whatever it is, something happens when he switches his NBA jersey for a national one. It somehow evokes an emotion and a confidence that an NBA paycheck doesn’t seem to be to able to ignite.
That is not to say that Gasol is a lazy player at all, but certainly Kobe would have preferred the Spanish version of Gasol in the Lakers’ quest for glory to the more timid edition he played alongside this June.
After spending the summer as enemies, and with the gold medal safely secured for Team USA, Bryant and Gasol can now be friends again. Kobe will be hoping that the opponent he faced in Beijing is the same guy who reports to camp in a few weeks.
The Lakers could sure use him.
The Lakers Need More Gas
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