Resume: 14.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.0 steals, 1.9 blocks (7th in league), 36.5 minutes, 48% FG, and 75% FT… Team record in games played: 40-25 (0-1 without)… Playoffs: 15.1 points, 6.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.9 blocks, 52% FG, 79% FT, 3-4 record
It amazes me how the NBA works sometimes; how easily a phenomenon can be built. Jeremy Lin played roughly 20 good games this season and the general consensus on him now is that his ceiling is as an average point guard. However, Lin was the subject of more NBA conversation than anyone other than LeBron, Durant, and Dwight. I’m not criticizing the Jeremy Lin craze. I totally bought into it, but in retrospect it was sort of foolish that so many people were “Linsane”. Especially when you consider how many under the radar players there are in the NBA who never will get the attention someone like Lin got.
The official Marc Gasol Coming Out Party has yet to come to the surface. You’d assume once Marc trimmed his beard, cut his hair, lost some weight and stopped looking like a monster, people would stop being so afraid of him and realize what a good player he is, but it hasn’t gained as much steam as you’d hope. This is partly due to the same reasons that a lot of people don’t realize Eli Manning is probably one of the three best quarterbacks currently in the NFL. He’ll always just be Peyton’s little brother to everyone else, even though he’ll end up with at least twice as many Super Bowl wins as Peyton and you can argue that he is the more clutch quarterback. No, at this point Marc is not better Pau, but it’s getting close. It should be known that Marc, not Pau, was awarded the final Western Conference roster spot for the All-Star game back in February. It should also be known that the Marc Gasol Coming Out Party was momentarily delayed because of the Z-Bo movement in Memphis. What nobody talked about was Marc Gasol averaging 15 points and 11 rebounds in the Grizzlies extended playoff run in 2011, including a 26-21 game in the 3 overtime Game 4 thriller against Oklahoma City where he played a downright ridiculous 57 minutes, more than anyone else in the game.
Marc Gasol’s numbers aren’t staggering, but in a roundabout he’s the perfect fit for Memphis. On a team with a balanced scoring attack that is built on playing smart offense and great defense, Gasol is an extremely valuable component to the Grizzlies. He seemingly has no ego and hasn’t undermined the team. He’s not only a willing passer, but he’s one of the best passing big men in the league. He’s a smart defender and a great rim protector. I don’t get why everyone hasn’t jumped on the Marc Gasol bandwagon yet. I’ve said it twice, and I’ll say it one more time (since there are no Grizzlies players left to be ranked), don’t be surprised if the Grizzlies surprise some people in the Western Conference this year. Maybe then Marc will get some well-deserved mention in NBA circles.
One more thing: It has to be noted that Marc Gasol played extremely limited minutes in the USA vs. Spain Gold Medal game back in August, thanks to the unbelievably boneheaded decision to leave him in the game in the 2nd quarter with 3 fouls already. Of course, Marc picked up his fourth with more than half of the 2nd quarter remaining. If he doesn’t pick up that cheap fourth foul there is no concrete guarantee that USA wins, or at least wins with the ease that they did considering Marc (17 points on 8-10 shooting) and Pau (24 points, 8 rebounds, 9-17 shooting) were feasting on the USA big guys like it was a Thanksgiving meal.