On Tuesday, Marc Gasol will play against the Toronto Raptors for the first time since he was traded to Toronto in 2019. During his two years with the Raptors, Gasol started at center for all but eight regular season games. In the postseason, he started every game at center.
Gasol has been the starting center in his first year with with the Los Angeles Lakers too, but that will change when Andre Drummond is back with the team. Gasol has only came off of the bench in one game this season, and it was in Drummond’s debut — and if it weren’t for the fact that Drummond suffered a toe injury midway through his debut, Gasol likely wouldn’t have even seen the floor.
The future is uncertain for Gasol, to say the least, but if there’s one thing Frank Vogel has made clear — at least with his words — since Drummond’s arrival in March, it’s that Gasol still has a spot on this team.
“That’s still going to be the mindset every night is for him to be available and ready,” Vogel said on Friday. “He’s one of our better players, so we’re not going to have a mindset that he’s definitely not going to get in there; if we need him to play we’re going to throw him in there, and we certainly needed that with the Drummond injury the other night.
“If he’s got the skillset, whether it’s pulling a Rudy Gobert away from the basket or needing more size at the rim defensively, we’ll use him.”
Vogel also reiterated that he plans to play Gasol alongside Montrezl Harrell in certain matchups.
“I don’t really see this as a situation where he’s going to fall out of the rotation long-term, and he knows that,” Vogel said. “Even if there’s nights where he may not play, he’s going to stay ready like he did the other night. He came in, and that’s hard to do is sit over there for three quarters without getting in, and then take your warm-ups off, get loose and go in and play as well as he did. That’s extremely hard to do, and it’s just a credit to his professionalism and what kind of player he is.”
Gasol has been open about how difficult it’s been for him to transition into a bench role after starting nearly his entire career, but it seems that he’s going to try and stick it out for the team’s sake. So, for now, the Lakers have things under control. We’ll see if that holds up until the end of the season.