Why Pau Gasol’s Career Is Not in Serious Jeopardy

Pau Gasol’s NBA career has taken a turn for the worse during the 2012-13 season with the revamped Los Angeles Lakers. The Spaniard has struggled and received a huge amount of criticism for his play, but his career is far from being in jeopardy despite the recent slump.

The four-time All-Star and two-time NBA champion has posted a career low 12.7 points per game this season on a career low 42.9 percent shooting from the field. His comfort level—not only in the Princeton offense under Mike Brown, but also in Mike D’Antoni’s offensive system—has been at an all-time low.

The proverbial “rock bottom” for Gasol this season though came after a Dec. 2 loss to the Orlando Magic. Following the loss, Kobe Bryant infamously told reporters that Gasol needed to put his “big-boy pants on" (via NBA.com's Sekou Smith). Again, Gasol is no stranger to criticism, even from Bryant. However, as Chris Sheridan of SheridanHoops.com explains in this video, Gasol was unfairly blamed by Bryant following the loss.

“Pau sat on the bench for the final six minutes of that game,” Sheridan said. “The Lakers were up one when he went to the bench, and Orlando scored 31 points in the final six minutes.”

Bryant has been nothing short of stellar despite getting up there in age at 34 years old, so he should feel free to call out whomever he pleases. Despite that fact, Bryant took a shot at Gasol following the loss to Orlando even when Gasol didn’t get the chance to play in crunch time.

Following the loss and the Bryant quote, Gasol missed eight games due to knee tendinitis.

Gasol’s season thus far has been marred by negatives. He hasn’t been able to justify his $19 million salary, and the Lakers have a mediocre 15-15 record. However, Gasol has shown signs of returning to being the productive player he’s been throughout his illustrious care...

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