While Gasol didn’t have a monster scoring night like Talen Horton-Tucker, who scored 33 points against the Clippers on Sunday, he was able to elevate his teammates’ play with his passing.
Gasol, who’s ranked ninth among centers in all-time assists, recorded five assists against the Clippers, and a few of them were absolute dimes.
Marc Gasol put on a passing clinc tonight pic.twitter.com/9EuKuT3oPr— pickuphoop (@pickuphoop) December 14, 2020
Between Gasol and LeBron James, the Lakers shouldn’t have a problem moving the ball this season, and head coach Frank Vogel thinks their versatile playmaking is going to make them even harder to defend this year.
“I think NBA players and basketball players in general, when they know that they have a guy that’s going to throw them the ball, the cutting and aggressiveness just picks up, and we came into this game knowing we were going to play through Marc a lot at the top of the key,” Vogel said.
“Our guys had a great mindset to really move aggressively without the basketball and then Marc would find you, especially in the paint. We got a lot of paint catches. Some led to layups, some led to paint-to-great situations. Marc gives us that dynamic. It’s just going to make us that much more difficult to guard.”
The Lakers had an elite playmaker in Rajon Rondo on their bench last season, but the types of passes Rondo makes are different than the ones Gasol makes because of their different sizes and positions. As a result, the Lakers are going to be getting looks that they weren’t getting last year, and players that like to cut to the basket like Kyle Kuzma and Horton-Tucker could benefit from that.
Gasol’s numbers might not always jump out on the box score, but make no mistake: He’s always going to raise the floor of the Lakers whenever he’s on the floor because of his passing and defense. It’s hard to blame Vogel for being a bit giddy about that.