Photo by Chris Graythen | Getty Images

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?

Gone.

Aggressiveness he learned after the 08 Finals?

Missing.

Will to win?

Don’t see it

Confidence in his game?

Lacking.

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.

Look familiar?

Follow David on twitter @DavidJBrickley or e-mail him at david@davidjbrickley.com

  • eric Tione

    Nice rebounding Stats for the pass 3 weeks huh? BTW he checked out and his already in his mind on a beach in spain, drinking a mai tai with a big pink umbrella. Its clear when he doesnt JUMP for rebounds or give everthing for those 50/50 balls. Go back and watch game 3 if your stomach can handle it. You will see that the 50/50 balls around pau which he gave no effort to grab turned into 2nd chance pts for the mavs. Love the Lakers and I hope on paus extended vacation he gets all the R&R he needs to make up for his shitty post season play.

    P.S. It was a great run Fisher, thank you for everthing, best wishes after your baketball career, IMO would like to see you take charles spot on TNT ratings would shot through the roof.

  • Hgo

    Pau Gasol fiancé leaves him because of teammate?

    you named it. This IS THE REASON WHY Pau is playing so poorly…

    • Count Bogdan

      WTF? Which team mate? This smacks of BS. Or Lebron/Delonte if true….

      • Hgo

        I don’t know which teammate… some people are talking about Vanessa Laine Bryant. When you think about it it kind of makes sens doesn’t it?

        I mean, Kobe and Pau looks like they are not that close nowadays (at least since the beginning of the PO). I remember Pau scoring a huge basket and one in Game 3 against Nola and everyone came up to congrats him exept Kobe.

        Some people are talking about Khloe but IMO Lamar and Pau seem pretty all right.

        From the beginning of the playoffs I have kept on thinking there was obviously something wrong with Pau (more an more after Game 3 vs Nola). I was telling my friends something might had happened to him because he looked lost and on another planet. Now that this “story” comes up, it does make sens to me… I don’t know what you guys think…

        http://bleacherreport.com/articles/693283-los-angeles-lakers-the-mindset-of-pau-gasol

        • Count Bogdan

          I agree. It definitely makes sense. He was Mr. Consistency for 3 seasons (even against Boston in 2008 he had decent numbers) and now all of a sudden he falls apart? It doesn’t add up. Physical skills don’t sag like that short of an injury. I’m beginning to see your point. I never liked Vanessa anyway – it’s probably her. They should interview her old housekeeper who tried suing her. :-)

    • Linda C.

      This story is untrue and only a rumor. I have it on very good authority that Pau’s girlfriend was cheating on him and someone on the team told him about it – it was not Kobe’s wife. But, if Pau is going to let a girl ruin his livelihood and destroy his team, I say let him go.

  • USMC_EMMANUEL

    PAU GETTIN TRADED NEXT YEAR FOR SURE…. HE’S WEAK AND DOESNT PLAY LIKE HE WANTS A THIRD CHAMPIONSHIP NOR HE PLAYS LIKE A TRUE CHAMPIONSHIP PLAYER…. HE’S JUST SORRY. A GIRL HAD SCREW UP HIS CAREER. HE IS WEAK MINDED.

  • Count Bogdan

    Trading
    Gasol for Howard makes absolutely no sense. First of all, Bynum would
    not play well off the bench. He’s not mature enough….nor should he
    given his talent. Second, they are not complementary players. The trade
    would be Bynum for Dwight. Third, Bynum’s trade value is at an all time
    high these days with Gasol playing so poorly, it’s elevated Bynum’s
    game. As for Bynum, the interesting thing is that he’s a terrible
    barometer of Lakers wins/losses. His performance rarely has much to do
    with whether they win or lose. Admittedly, some of this might have to do
    with the Lakers not going to him as much in the 4th quarters, but
    still, one can not ignore how Bynum can have spectacular first halves
    and the Lakers are just playing even with the other team or even behind.
    Gasol on the other hand, has everything to do with the wins/losses.
    Something to think about. I don’t care how Gasol is playing now, I’d
    stake the future on him (and someone else through a trade) rather than
    Bynum and his shaky health and commitment to playing a full season.

    • Hgo

      if the below story is true, Pau might want out from LA before th FO even think about trading him..

  • laffsatu

    really?we are talking about a GIRL …..always thought ,he`s into chicks?

  • NoDefense

    if pau could get his head right,lakers blow these chumps out…………..

    • ohbaby1313

      WHAT A LOAD OF CRAP!!!!!!!!! THE MAVS ARE WHIPPING THE LAKERS %$@@. GET OVER YOURSELF!!!

      • http://profiles.google.com/ghiblix2 Thien Nguyen

        They’ve been losing by a small margin for the most part, exactly the margin that Pau Gasol has been underperforming at coincidentally. Not to mention the Mav bench have been destroying the laker bench.

  • Vivek

    Pau and Kobe have had beef for weeks. Pau blames Kobe’s wife for his fiancée dumping him, and Pau and Kobe have had serious beef since before the playoffs started. http://bit.ly/iWDNIX

  • Kobe Blo-Jobe