An open letter to Pau Gasol,
I wrote this after I heard about Pau’s desire to have a banner put up for his upcoming free agency.
You’re too soft, you’re being traded, you can’t defend anyone, you’ve lost your ability to post up.
These are just a few of the bevy of complaints lobbied at Pau these last four years. If anything ever went wrong, Pau would instantaneously become the scape goat. I’m here to say that there is no way in hell we should be treating this man the way we do.
He stood up to the dirty 2010 Boston Celtics and helped the Lakers to prevail. He made no complaints when he was constantly on the trade block, or even when he was actually traded, no he kept conducting himself like a professional. Some others that were in the same situation ended up sulking, demanding a trade and then played themselves out of the NBA, but not Pau, he kept coming back to work, every day. He may not be the defender that he once was, but Pau is one of the most intelligent special defenders in the league, and need I remind you, he slowed one of the most dominant centers of our generation in the form of a 2009 Dwight Howard (who stormed through the eastern conference finals averaging 25.8 ppg on 65% shooting, only to meet Pau and see his numbers drop to 15.4 ppg on 48% shooting (and to those who credit Andrew Bynum for this drop, I say, go back and watch some of those games, Dwight absolutely dominated Andrew in his limited minutes, Pau is the one who did most of the defensive damage). Pau did not lose his post game, although it has declined with his age, he is still a force to be reckoned with. Even with 2013 being the worst year of his career Pau still managed to post a better points per post up average than other players that are heralded for their post abilities such as Demarcus Cousins, Al Horford, and our very own Dwigh Howard (who by the way also wanted more post touches). He endured all this while constantly having his role changed and being put down in the media. Tell me how do you think Dwight, or even Kobe would react if there role had been shifted around as much as Pau? The man is a consummate professional, he hardly complained, and when he did, it was for the betterment of the team (he wanted more touches in the post, well, he was right, the lakers performed much better when he got those looks).
Pau may not be perfect, in fact he is far from it, but in reality, who is? CP3? Kobe? KD? Not even Lebron James is perfect. Yet we (his own fans) treat him like dirt, willing to cast him aside at the slightest notion (oh Pau had a bad game, AMNESTY HIM! Or we could trade Pau for Andrea Bargnani expiring contract? Sold!). Let’s show the man a little respect. We once treated him as our savior when he arrived, he brought us two championships, he is one of the greatest international players of all time, and he is a sure fire hall of famer. LA loves you Pau Gasol, even though we don’t always show it, we do. You deserve a banner every bit as much as Dwight does. So let’s hop off the hating Pau train, and give credit where it’s do. If we won't give him a banner, at least show him a little love on twitter #ThanksPau