Marc Gasol goes off versus Warriors

November, 4, 2008
11/04/08
2:25
PM ET
The top story of the past 24 hours should be obvious to any hardcore NBA observer.

As certain writers may have predicted, Marc Gasol skipped the competitive formalities and proceeded directly to the tercio de muerte -- abusing Golden State's miniaturized frontcourt in a way few Spaniards could have dreamed -- on his way to 27 points, 16 rebounds, 3 blocks and a steal. In doing so, Gasol firmly staked his claim to "second best Gasol to ever play for Marc Iavaroni."

Rare occurrence

Since 2000, only five times has a player had at least 25 points, 15 boards, 3 blocks and shot 80 percent from the field in a game.

Marc Gasol, Grizzlies (11/3/08)
Kevin Garnett, Wolves (2/3/06)
Shaquille O'Neal, Lakers (3/21/04)
Kevin Garnett, Wolves (3/21/01)
Alonzo Mourning, Heat (2/23/00)
-- ESPN Research
A few more games like this and he'll finally be able to put that "Gasol is soft as a doily" label to bed through sheer osmosis. Shhh … if you close your eyes and listen intently, you can hear the sound of Chris Wallace reclaiming a portion of dignity.

With the "other" Gasol, I would tell you two things: go check your waiver wire and temper your future expectations before trying to buy low in a trade. If Gasol ends up averaging a double-double with a couple of blocks, he'll still be well worth the endgame pick savvy owners spent for his services. He'll be like Luis Scola without the massive disappointment.

What makes Gasol so intrguing? One, the irony that he could end up upgrading the Gasol trade from Dr J.-for-cash status to Caron Butler-for-Kwame Brown status. Two, by playing in Memphis, he's in an ideal situation to capitalize on his ample upside. He has no real competition at center. Thanks to his European experience, he's actually more battle tested than many of his teammates. And he should grab an extra 5-7 rebounds a night off of O.J. Mayo's misses alone.

The larger lesson here is that you can't underestimate the fantasy value of rebuilding small-market teams. To those of you panning the waiver wire for fantasy gold, you're far more likely to find an available Grizzly than a Celtic, Laker, or any other team that looms larger on the NBA radar. These are also the teams that tend to have more young players with upside (via higher draft choices) and more of a willingness to give said players meaningful playing time. It's exactly why Rudy Gay was able to take such a quantum leap in his development last season.

Under the Boards

MONDAY, NOV. 3
HIGHLIGHTS
Andrei Kirilenko, Jazz: 15 points (7-7 FT), 11 rebounds and 4 steals at the Clippers.
Andres Nocioni, Bulls: 20 points, 7 rebounds and 3-for-4 on 3-pointers in 26 minutes at Orlando.
Jason Thompson, Kings: 17 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists in 30 minutes against the 76ers.
LOWLIGHTS
Luol Deng, Bulls: 1 point on 0-for-8 shooting versus the Clippers.
Corey Maggette, Warriors: 13 points on 4-of-16 shooting, one rebound and two assists; he also reaggravated a previous hamstring injury.
Dirk Nowitzki, Mavericks: 8 points on 3-of-11 shooting and 6 rebounds against Cleveland.

Oh, apparently there was also some sort of trade yesterday. Guy Lake broke down the roto ramifications in more detail in his trade spin on Monday. But I think those of you looking for a breakout Piston in the aftermath should take a look at last night's game (and no one taking advantage of Billups' absence) as a rather cautionary set of tea leaves. … Looking for a player with the ability to take over a game and put his entire squad on his back? How about Paul Millsap (15 straight points on his way to 24 points, 9 rebounds, 2 steals and a block against the Clippers). Very impressive, but before you pounce, just remember he's going to struggle for playing time in an overstocked frontcourt which will see its statistical wealth radically redistributed when Deron Williams returns. … I wouldn't cut bait on Tyrus Thomas just yet. Wait to see if Vinny Del Negro pulls him from the starting lineup before waving sayonara to all that upside. … We finally got to see a preview of the the tag-team combo that is Marcus Camby and Chris Kaman -- albeit all too briefly -- and Kaman still managed to post 19 points and 10 boards. Long term, I wouldn't worry about Camby eating away too much of Kaman's value. It's looking like Camby is returning to his roots, which are firmly entrenched in and around the injury report. Baron Davis' presence should also mean Kaman receives more quality touches. … If Don Nelson allows Andris Biedrins (16 points, 22 rebounds) to average 33-35 minutes a night, Biedrins could be a top-5 center. … If you can make the switch from Darrell Arthur to Hakim Warrick via the waiver wire, go ahead and do it. Warrick has played at least 30 minutes in three straight games off the bench, while Arthur has played 29 minutes total in the past two games (as a starter). … Hedo Turkoglu has been nothing less than solid so far (10 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists), but I'm detecting a slight statistical shift in power back to Rashard Lewis (21 points, 11 rebounds). It's subtle, but it's happening. … And if you appreciate subtle, well-crafted performances, don't miss Matthew Berry's star turn as Neil the Appraiser on Wednesday's "One Life to Live."

John Cregan is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.

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