IT’S not news to anyone that Marc Gasol is a good basketball player. The seven foot Spaniard has been a star for the Memphis Grizzlies since he was drafted 48th overall in 2007. Since that night he has become one of the greatest players in Grizz history, yet he is consistently overlooked for what he produces night in, night out.
THE NBA is a performance-based business, where you are judged every year based on your performance. While Memphis has experienced a portion of playoff success with Gasol they have ultimately failed to reach the heights they have been capable of due to injuries, and this season appear destined to share a similar fate to years past. This isn’t a knock on Gasol though, it is a tribute. Playing with an injury-ravaged roster and little-known replacement guys, Gasol has been the glue that has held Memphis together and helped give them their tough, gritty identity.
AT the present time Gasol is one of only seven players putting up 20 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists The others are LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Jimmy Butler, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Blake Griffin and James Harden. Of those seven he is the only one shooting over 40% from three, and he joins Giannis and Durant as the only ones who add a block and a steal on average to their stat line. The other players in that group are virtually all looked at as superstars of the competition and MVP contenders surrounded by a decent supporting cast. Yet Gasol is often thought of as just Mike Conley’s sidekick. Even though Memphis has some veteran basketball players on their roster, Gasol has nowhere near the amount of help the aforementioned players have on his team.
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WHEN defining the MVP the award is clearly labelled the mot valuable player, and it’s hard to say that Gasol doesn’t qualify in that context. While I’m not saying Gasol should be handed the trophy, he definitely deserves to be mentioned as a candidate. Currently Derrick Rose, Bradley Beal, Dwight Howard and Brandon Ingram have better MVP odds. Are you f#*&ing kidding me?! When confronted with another slate of injuries the Grizzlies seemed as if they would crumble without Conley, Parsons and Randolph in uniform. But Gasol got to work, leading the team to wins against both the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers, last years NBA finalists. No other team has beat both teams so far this year. He doesn’t jump off the stat sheet with triple-doubles or 40 point games, but there may be no player in the league who is more valuable to their team.
THE multi-dimensional big man has been a large reason that the Memphis Grizzlies remain in the hunt for a playoff spot, sitting at 20-12 and 5th in the loaded Western Conference at the moment. He is one of the best passing bigs in the the history of the league, but doesn’t get the recognition he deserves. He has added a three-point shot to his arsenal this year (shooting the 13th best % in the league), as he continues to adapt his game to suit today’s NBA style and to best suit his teams needs at any given time. They need him to put up points, you got it. You need him to get you a stop defensively, say no more. We are lucky enough to be living in a very talent rich era in the NBA and unfortunately because of this Marc Gasol continues to be undervalued and under appreciated.
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