Pau Gasol at the Crossroads & the Potential Passing of the Best Power Forward Torch

Personally, I believe that if Kevin Garnett was in any position to do something about Gasol talking “smack”, he’d have done it during Game 1 of the NBA Finals. This is one of the fiercest competitors in the history of the league, a guy that poured every ounce of everything he had into every regular season game and play-off game alike. However, he’s a guy that routinely kicks people when they’re down, tries to start altercations and then throws his hands up in the air with the “I didn’t do nothin’” look on his face, and a guy that was a ring-leader of one of the most arrogant defending champions in recent memory. When you’re arrogant when you’re on top, people will applaud when you fall.

Jun. 03, 2010 - Los Angeles, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES - epa02186353 Los Angeles Lakers' Pau Gasol of Spain reacts after scoring against the Boston Celtics during the second half of game one of the NBA Finals at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, USA 03 June 2010. This is the 12th time that the 17 time champion Boston Celtics and the 15 time champion Los Angeles Lakers have met in the 64 year history of the NBA Finals with Boston taking nine of those series.

I believe Pau Gasol to be the best big man in the game today. He plays in Kobe’s shadow, is known as soft because he plays a European style of ball, but really, is there a more complete big man in the game today? If Pau Gasol can rise up and vanquish Garnett, a year after out-playing the more physically gifted Dwight Howard, how can you not say that Pau isn’t the best big man game in the game today? If he’s not, who’s better?

However, as LeBron James learned with Kobe this year, the King wears the crown until he is defeated in open battle. And The “Big 3”, when healthy, have yet to lose a play-off series. While Gasol has out-played Garnett this year and one game in the NBA Finals, Gasol must finish the job. He must leave no question at the end of this series that Garnett has been bested.

Then, and only then, will he truly shed his “Ga-soft” label and move into where he truly belongs: into the fraternity of the world’s best players.

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