Pau Gasol. Personally, he epitomizes the notion of a love/hate relationship. However, just to set the record straight, there is absolutely no question whether or not the Lakers could have returned to championship prominence without him.
Kobe would not be chasing his sixth chip if not for the acquisition of Pau back in 2007. You remember 2007, the season when all Laker fans were dealing with an uncomfortably similar situation that the Nuggets must reluctantly embrace right now.
But isn’t a Melo for Boom Boom swap so intriguing, albeit with a dab of guilt on the side?
Imagine a starting five that features Bynum, Odom, Anthony, Bryant and Fisher (assuming Lamar nor Drew are included in the deal). The Los Angeles trio could easily be Kobe, Carmelo and Lamar or even switch out LO for Drew. Well, a healthy and nasty Bynum that is.
I know, I know, another trio.
What the Lakers would lose in experience, length and perhaps interior defense, the already championship-caliber franchise would be gaining a superstar who is arguably the best pure scorer in the Association and one of Mamba’s closest friends.
You don’t think those two would make it work?
Before I get carried away, I will say that Pau Gasol is in my opinion, the most skilled big man in the NBA and with Odom playing the best basketball of his career, the case could most certainly be made that we already have a fearsome threesome in L.A. That’s the love part.
The hate part comes from the fact that aside from his length against smaller players against whom he can provide the wall effect, Pau is often the most infuriating player to watch on defense. It is the too common instances when he just stands flat-footed in the paint and lets guards drop in layups with about as much difficulty as reciting the English alphabet.
Clearly though, the other side of the coin has plenty of images of the Spaniard getting huge blocks inside and on the perimeter in must-win situations, not to mention clutch baskets as well. Look, I’m not saying Pau hasn’t continued to be the force we need him to be as he’s averaged a solid 18 and 10 this season, even carrying the Lakers early on while Kobe regained his form, but the fact of the matter is, teams have now learned how to defend him, push him around and neutralize some of his game.
How do you think the triangle offense would operate with Melo able to work both in the post and on the perimeter instead of Pau being limited to 15-feet and in?
Just a reminder, this discussion is all in good fun. Sort of.
NEXT: Melo in Purple and Gold