Los Angeles Lakers: Lacking a Boom-Boom Pau

Ever since the Los Angeles Lakers acquired Pau Gasol from the Memphis Grizzlies in a 2008 trade that was more like charity, NBA success has been painted in purple and gold.

Another NBA championship. Two Finals appearances in as many seasons. A winning percentage well over 75 percent when the Spaniard is in the starting lineup.

And those are just the tangibles.

If not for that deal, would Kobe Bryant likely be a lifelong Laker? Would Phil Jackson have established himself as the greatest NBA coach by winning his 10th title? Would L.A. have begun its transformation from Lakerland to a Clippers town?

You could argue that Gasol is more valuable to the Lakers than Kobe. You could debate that, without the former, the latter would have never achieved both individual (an MVP) and team glory (another ring).

You could contend that the Black Mamba's impact on the NBA would be more like that of a garden snake.

But amid all the appreciation and admiration that Gasol has garnered during his short stint with the Lakers, he is far from being the Luigi to Kobe's Mario, jelly to Bryant's peanut butter, ink to his printer.

Through four games, his 2010 playoff numbers—18.5 points and 11 rebounds per game—show that Pau is performing with prowess, that he is doing more than his part to propel the purple-and-gold deeper into the postseason.

But numbers only go so far, especially when the one-seeded Lakers are having a terrible time taming the eighth-slotted Thunder.

Outside of the box score, Gasol has gravitated to a less pivotal role, usually when his services are most needed.

Where was he when Kobe was laboring in the final frame of Game 3?

Or in Game 4, when Oklahoma City was riding the merry-go-round of momentum and the Lakers were in need of an easy basket, something Gasol can seemingly get whenever he wants?

Or when the triangle...

About the Author