While Talen Horton-Tucker stole the show with his remarkable performance in Sunday’s preseason win, it was also a big night for Marc Gasol, who made his Los Angeles Lakers debut.
After being drafted by the Lakers in 2007, he finally got a chance to play for the storied franchise, and proved exactly why he’s had such a successful career. Gasol played just 22 minutes, the least of any Laker, but still was exactly as advertised.
He finished with a mere six points and four rebounds, but made the biggest impact with his passing, registering five assists. Gasol was crafty on both ends of the floor, and made it clear how he will positively affect the roster.
The 13-year veteran spoke about making his Lakers debut, giving a shout out to fans who remain unable to attend games. “It felt great, it felt very natural, it felt like it made a lot of sense,” Gasol said.
“Obviously we’re missing a huge part of the Lakers, which is all the fans — that we know are watching. Hopefully we’re doing a good job representing them and they’re watching from home in a safe environment. I felt great. Looking forward to playing many more games with the Lakers.”
He also discussed his passing ability and how it will make life even easier on LeBron James and Anthony Davis. “That’s going to happen too. It’s just having another option, even for them to score easily,” Gasol explained.
“Once they’re worried about the high post or top of the key area, normally the guy on the ball is going to try to pressure me and so much of the action is going on on the side, so they’re going to have a little more room to operate. Just trying to help in any way possible.”
While the Lakers will miss the rim protection of JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard, there’s no doubt that Gasol adds another layer on both offense and defense. He immediately becomes one of the team’s best passers, and while he is no longer in his physical prime, he can still change a game with his defense.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope calls Gasol “perfect fit” with Lakers
Caldwell-Pope has not spent a considerable amount of time alongside Gasol, but already has seen just how great he can be for the Lakers. He called Gasol a perfect fit just a couple days into training camp.
“I feel like he fits perfectly. He’s basically doing the same as JaVale and Dwight, but a little more,” Caldwell-Pope said. “He can shoot the ball in that midrange, very efficient there, screen and roll, pick and pops. He’s mixing it up a lot and showing us a little bit of everything. He’s been amazing.”
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