By David Brickley – Los Angeles
There is no argument.
Pau Gasol has had the worse nine game stretch of his career, and it so happens to be in the midst of a three-peat playoff run.
His 13 points per game average is the lowest of his playoff career. He is shooting 42% from the field, which is also a playoff career low. Furthermore, his eight rebounds per contest is the lowest since he has been a Laker.
Quite simply, Gasol has never played smaller while wearing a purple and gold jersey.
After an MVP caliber start to the regular season, Gasol has seemingly forgot how to do everything.
His touch around the basket?
Aggressiveness he learned after the 08 Finals?
Will to win?
Don’t see it
Confidence in his game?
It is an historic collapse, by someone who many consider the most talented big man in the league. When the Lakers have needed him at his best, he has crumbled into a shell of his former self.
“Obviously there’s some tension inside of me.” Gasol said after Game 3. I guess it’s—you can see it. It’s tangible,” he said. “Obviously when you’re not playing as well as you can, it’s frustrating. So you get frustrated at certain times, and you’ve just got to try to be more decisive out there, and when you finish a couple plays, and when you’re successful in a few plays, then you keep getting that confidence and that tension goes away. But if you don’t, then it seems like it keeps building up a little bit.”
Gasol’s play has been so bad, that it even forced Phil Jackson to be as animated as he has ever been in his coaching career. At one point in game 3, even popping Pau Gasol in the chest, to try and awake the 7 footer from his three week long nap.
“Obviously he wants me to be more aggressive and be more assertive out there,” Gasol said. “You’ve just got to be able to do that better. I haven’t been able to really get going at all. You’ve just got to do it.” Gasol said after Game 3.
Gasol’s struggles are mental; there is no other way to explain it.
After he fails at something on the court Pau shrugs his shoulders, hangs his head, and complains to the refs.
He is not performing at even close to what he is capable of when the Lakers need him, and it seems as if he doesn’t even care.
Or at least comes off like he doesn’t have the answers to fix his issues.
He gets paid 17.8 million dollars per year to be the Robin to Kobe Bryant’s Batman.
The Lakers traded a player away for Gasol that Laker fans couldn’t stand, and what many call the biggest draft bust in history, Kwame Brown.
Kwame Brown in the 2006 playoffs with the Lakers averaged 13 points per game, while shooting 53% from the field, and pulling down 7 rebounds per game.
Pau Gasol in the 2011 playoffs with the Lakers is averaging 13 points per game, while shooting 42% from the field, and pulling down 7.8 rebounds per game.
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