In Friday night’s 89-86 loss to the Memphis Grizzles, Pau Gasol once again struggled offensively as he scored just two of his 10 points in the second half on 1-of-4 shooting in 16 minutes on the floor.
With the absence of Kobe Bryant and now Steve Nash, who is out at least another week and a half due to a nerve root damage in his back, Gasol has struggled to become an effective scorer for the Lakers with him as the focal point of the offense.
Through 11 games this season it has arguably been the 33-year-old’s worst start to a year as he is averaging a career-low in points (13.4), field goal percentage (.394) and minutes (28.3) per game. His struggles have also been evident in the fact that he has also only had two games where he has shot over 50 percent from the field.
Granted Gasol has been dealing with respiratory issues and a strained muscle in his left foot, but it does not take away from the fact that he has struggled to play effectively on the court up to this point in the season.
Coming into the year, he was expect to have great season statistically with an offense more oriented around him with the departure of Dwight Howard and the surgery to he had last May to treat the tendonitis in both of his knees.
Gasol had also pumped up optimism as throughout the preseason and training camp, he repeatedly stated that his body felt “refreshed. This was encouraging news knowing for the past several season he had not allowed for his body to rest as he participated with the Spanish team in FIBA and international games.
So with that said, it is possible that Gasol’s knees and body have yet to be in basketball shape as he was only able to start running a few weeks before the start of training camp. It also may be that his body has not allowed for him to perform at the high level that he had been accustomed to playing at up tot his point in his career.
Ultimately, the fact still remains that he is a 33-year-old with 12 years of professional basketball mileage on his body to go along with that he is being asked right now to carry the bulk of the offense of the team that is minus two of its best players in Bryant and Nash.
So as the season wears on expect Gasol to play more effective on the court as he is able to get his body in basketball shape and with the imminent return of Bryant, it will help him get back to being at least some sort of essence of the Pau Gasol that Lakers fans knew during the team’s back to back championship seasons from 2009-10.
Photo Credit: USATSI