Pau Gasol’s Descent from Laker Hero to Zero, in Pictures and Quotes

It's hard to pinpoint the exact moment at which things went so terribly wrong for L.A. Lakers star Pau Gasol, because his trip from "hero" to "zero" has been a lot like a switchback trail down a mountainside. There have been occasional ascents and even some breathtaking views, but ultimately, the path has led inexorably downward.

Gasol's slip from the top didn't just start this season, either.

After coming over in a trade from the Memphis Grizzlies (more of a hijacking, really), Gasol anchored a pair of championship teams in L.A. His mix of size and skill put him in an elite group of truly game-changing bigs. But after a couple of disappointing seasons for his team and signs of individual decline, it became clear that Gasol's very best days were behind him.

And that was before this year.

Now firmly rooted to the bench and still lacking a clear role, Gasol may be at his lowest point of the season. But how did he get here? Let's review the surprisingly accelerating descent that has been going on this season.


Hope Springs Eternal

Technically, the Lakers' fortunes looked most promising over the summer, when the team added Steve Nash and Dwight Howard to form a terrifyingly potent (on paper) Big Four. So we're fudging the whole "spring" thing, but you get the idea.

Anyway, Gasol was stoked.

And why wouldn't he be? His team had hauled in Nash and Howard within about a month of one another and he figured to be a major beneficiary. Logically, Gasol and Nash should have teamed nicely to form a pick-pop duo, and Howard would take virtually all of the defensive pressure off of him. It seemed like a win-win situation.

And at first, everyone was all smiles. Gasol opened the season with a 23-point, 13-rebound performance against the Dallas Mavericks and despite a 99-91 defeat, L.A.'s power forward looked primed for a big season in the Princeton...

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