Los Angeles Lakers: Vanessa Bryant

2010-2011 Lakers Report Card: Pau Gasol

May, 19, 2011
Kamenetzky By Andy Kamenetzky
Pau Gasol's disastrous postseason has already been dissected like a biology class frog, so we'll skip the rehash. The dirty little secret of this wipe out, however, is that his regular season actually signaled what laid ahead, albeit in more subtle fashion. Gasol's 2011 campaign was, by his high standards, spotty. That's not to say Pau played badly, because he didn't. Plenty of big men would be plenty satisfied with his numbers -- 18.8 points, 10.2 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.6 blocks -- in line with the best of his career, much less as a Laker. But one of El Spaniard's greatest strengths is his consistency, and he wasn't nearly as reliable game to game this season.

Gary A. Vasquez/US Presswire
Even games against a front line like Phoenix's sometimes provided a challenge for Pau.

The inconsistencies are revealed in his splits: December and January scoring averages below 17 points, including a December in which he shot below 50 percent from the field, which is basically unheard of for Pau. The inconsistencies are also revealed in his game log. Seven games with 16+ rebounds, but also pockets of multiple-game streaks with single digit grabs. Even during the Lakers' post All-Star break dominance, there were four consecutive games with just five rebounds. That's a modest haul by Kobe Bryant's standard, much less a seven-footer's.

But beyond the numbers, there was Gasol's general presence, or frequent lack thereof. Too many games where he wasn't effective facilitating in the triangle or displaying his versatility. Too many games with wayward body language or defensive intensity. And too few games imposing his will. Throughout the season, something felt intermittently off. As I noted in a post questioning his All-Star inclusion, there were an awful lot of "what's wrong with Pau Gasol?" questions being tossed around.

Cut to the playoffs, then to the decidedly melancholy exit interview.

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Kobe Bryant
22.3 5.6 1.3 34.5
ReboundsJ. Hill 8.0
AssistsK. Bryant 5.6
StealsR. Price 1.6
BlocksE. Davis 1.3