Pau Gasol’s long beard and funny hair seem to be his most distinctive feature in the open court. Aside from being lanky and soft, Pau looks off in the Lakers offense since the start in the season. It must have been the Princeton offense or Mike D’ Antonni’s insistence to follow his system, instead of adjusting to his player’s strengths.
Pau is unhappy and undervalued. But he knows this is not the time to quit. Even if he constantly hears his name on trade rumors, or even if he had to battle his minutes with Earl Clark. He understands his role, and he will do anything just to save the Lakers season.
Way back five years ago the Lakers made a trade that got them Pau in exchange for Kwame Brown, Javaris Critenton, Aaron Mckie and Pau’s brother Marc Gasol. Back then Pau was the perfect fit for Phil Jackson’s triangle offense. The triangle requires a thinking big man, because in the post, he has countless of options to choose from. That is why Luke Longley, Scott Williams and Bill Cartwright strive more in the triangle because they can shoot, pass and make crucial moves. Pau can make crisps passes on a cutting Kobe Bryant or a lob pass to Andrew Bynum or a turn-around jumper easily. He needs the challenge and the constant thinking more like a surgeon doing his rounds.
This was more about the mind more than the body; you have to play the triangle with a rhythm like poetry. That explains why Gasol picked up the triangle faster than anybody else since Scot Williams.
Pau was always the cerebral player but not everybody knows that at 13, he was already playing classical music in the piano. And at 18 he enrolled in a medical school, where he dreamed of being a doctor. He talks French and Italian, and if he has the time, he goes to operas and classical concerts.
After the Lakers loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, the team talked about accountability. Pau understands now what he will do to fit. Mike D’ Antoni was never a fan of the low post, when he was in the Knicks he insisted in signing Tyson Chandler rather than Dwight Howard because he sees superstar centers as cloggers in the lane. And Pau had to adapt to that.
Three straight wins, including against the powerhouse Oklahoma City Thunders and the Los Angeles Lakers are on a roll; Pau got the chunked of that responsibility while accepting his role and giving his teammates good passes.
Beyond Pau’s funny hair and long beard, and on his lanky frame, the Lakers got a constant reminder from him…
He is distinct…