The addition of Marc Gasol to the starting frontcourt was viewed as a solid move by the Los Angeles Lakers last offseason.
After all, Gasol was seen as a big man that was capable of both stretching the floor and defending the paint. More importantly, he boasted quality championship experience that the Purple and Gold hoped would pay some dividends when it came time to defend their title.
Unfortunately, Gasol’s performance fell vastly short of expectations and the Lakers were ultimately spurred to make a splash with the late-season addition of Andre Drummond. Since both experiments failed to produce the desired result, there is now plenty of speculation regarding how the frontcourt will look next season.
Gasol is one of six players under contract after signing a two-year deal last year, but even he is admittedly unsure of his future in L.A. The front office may need to re-evaluate if there is any potential fit for him on the new roster.
Gasol started in 42 of 52 games, averaging career-lows with 5.0 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 19.1 minutes per game. He shot at a 45.4% clip from the field and 41% from beyond the arc.
Despite a midseason slump, Gasol did not get caught up in all the noise and actually managed to provide a spark off the bench down the stretch. However, he struggled to find a consistent rhythm while on such a short leash from head coach Frank Vogel.
Gasol stayed in his reserve role during the playoffs against the Phoenix Suns until he was inserted back into the starting lineup in Vogel’s final attempt to shake things up. He finished the series with averages of 5.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 3.0 assists per game.
Gasol’s best stretch of the season came during the month of April when the Lakers needed a big man to step up in place of an injured Anthony Davis. He finished the month with averages 8.0 points and 5.1 rebounds per game while shooting lights out from 3-point land at 64.7%.
This stretch was highlighted by a season-high of 18 points versus the Boston Celtics and a 13-point, nine-rebound performance against his former team in the Toronto Raptors.
Despite all the distractions and criticism that surrounded Gasol this season, he embraced taking on whatever role was needed for the good of the team. This unselfish approach is a quality that the Lakers need if they hope to put together a roster that is centered around Davis and LeBron James.
Of course, Gasol’s uncertainty with his future indicates both sides may need to weigh out their options this offseason.
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