The legend of Pau Gasol continues to grow in Los Angeles. Since that infamous trade back in 2008 that brought the seven foot Spaniard to the Lakers, the team has reached the NBA Finals three years in a row, winning two of them. There is no question that he is a vital piece of this potential dynasty, and may one day go down as one of the best players to wear the purple and gold.
During the 2009-2010 season his contributions were again overlooked. He was injured for much of the start of the season, and he was clearly missed in the Lakers rotation. Upon his return, however, Gasol propelled the Lakers to the best record in the Western Conference and made his second consecutive All-Star Game. Once the playoffs began, Gasol became a superstar. From his series-clinching shot against the Thunder to his immeasurable contributions in Game 7 against the Celtics, Gasol was the catalyst for the Lakers.
For the season Gasol has earned a B grade. While he was clearly the second best player on the best team in the NBA, he was inconsistent at times. However, his ability to accept a back-up role to Bryant and his clear-cut emergence as the most skilled big-man in the NBA makes him an intricate part of a championship team.
Next: Andrew Bynum…