The 2012-13 season was the most disappointing season of Pau Gasol’s career as the Spaniard averaged career lows in points and rebounds. With the addition of Dwight Howard, Gasol was supposed to benefit the most with easy layups and his play-making abilities. However, Pau suffered three separate injuries which forced him to miss 33 games this season.
With so much uncertainty facing the Lakers this summer, it will be interesting to see if Pau figures into those plans.
Regular Season Grade: D+
Pau really struggled this season and it wasn’t due to a decline in his skills, but rather a mismanagement of his talents.
The Princeton offense didn’t suit his game, and head coach Mike D’Antoni’s system wasn’t conducive to having two big-men in the post. While he’s made his career on hitting mid-range jump shots and finishing at the basket, Gasol was seen around the three-point line for a good stretch of games in an effort to not clog the paint for Dwight Howard.
However, as the Lakers’ struggles continued, critics wondered whether Gasol would still be in L.A. after the trade deadline. D’Antoni and Pau had their battles through the media, as Gasol was used as the sixth man and didn’t close out games down the stretch.
Above all, it was the most frustrating season for Gasol who seemed to be the forgotten guy. With all the injuries in April, Pau showed everyone that he’s still the most talented big man in the game, averaging 17.5 points and 12.1 rebounds.
While it was a regular season to forget for Gasol, he acted like a true professional through his injuries and demotion to the bench midway through the season.
Playoff Grade: B-
Even in their sweep against the Spurs, Pau was able to notch a triple-double and played an overall strong game in their four games.
He averaged 14 points, 11.5 rebounds and 6.3 assists in the series and displayed his still strong all-around game.
Overall Grade: C-
Pau definitely had the most difficult season statistically and personally, as the seven-foot Spaniard wears his heart on his sleeve. With salary cap issues facing them over the summer, it’s logical that the Lakers will look to trade or even amnesty Gasol as he has $19 million dollar expiring contract.
His plantar fasciitis and knee tendonitis slowed him down for the entire season, as that’s definitely a reason why his numbers were so low this season.
While the Lakers play was subpar at best, Gasol’s trade value may never be higher after his impressive play down the stretch and against the Spurs. His numbers this season don’t reflect his abilities as he’s still one of the best big men in the league.
With his future in doubt, Gasol received a standing ovation from the crowd at Staples Center yesterday afternoon as he might’ve played his last game in a Laker jersey. Gasol’s future is just another item on general manager Mitch Kupchak’s long list of decisions to make in the offseason.