Pau Gasol’s Perfect Recipe For NBA Success? A Dash of Kobe Bryant

Pau Gasol was an exceptional player during his time as a member of the Memphis Grizzlies, but a trade to the Los Angeles Lakers in 2008 changed Gasol's fortunes and his destiny.

Gasol never received much credit for leading the Grizzlies to the playoffs in three consecutive seasons, and his Rookie of the Year award in 2004 went largely unnoticed, but a desperation move by the Lakers would change all of that.

Andrew Bynum's knee injury in 2007 threatened to ruin the fragile chemistry Los Angeles was just beginning to establish, and what had been a promising season seemed to evaporate when the center went down.

Kobe Bryant's trade demands of the previous summer which had been quieted by Bynum's emergence threatened to re-surface, and the tenuous grip the Lakers had on first place in the West was threatened.

Lakers' general manager Mitch Kupchak clearly understood the urgency of the moment, and his move to bring Gasol into the fold changed the course of the Los Angeles franchise.

Most of the people around the NBA were enraged by the deal, and considering the primary piece from the Lakers was Kwame Brown, they had every right to be.

But some of the outrage could have stemmed from the fact that Gasol seemed to fit perfectly with the Lakers, and he was just the type of player that Bryant had been seeking as a side-kick.

Bryant was still the most feared player in the NBA after Shaquille O'Neal departed Los Angeles, but without a dominant figure in the paint the Lakers held no real menace as a team.

Enter Gasol, who was just as skilled, if not more than O'Neal in the paint, and he had none of the personality or ego issues which had strained Bryant and O'Neal's relationship.

More importantly, where O'Neal prospered based on his size and brute strength, Gasol was more of a cerebral player which made him a natural complement to a heady player like Bryant.


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