Everyone on the Los Angeles Lakers seems on board with the idea of running it back, and why wouldn’t they be? Last offseason, Rob Pelinka used the resources that he had available to him to build one of the deepest rosters in the NBA.
That depth never looked as good on the court as it did on paper, but Marc Gasol doesn’t think that should discourage the Lakers from giving last year’s roster another look. However, Gasol doesn’t think that his teammates can get to where they want to be with just their talent either.
“If you look at the roster, even the roster yesterday — with or without AD — you understand the possibilities and the capabilities of that team,” Gasol said during his exit interview. “It’s: how much are you willing to sacrifice for the team? How much of your own game are you willing to put in? How much are you going to invest mentally on sacrificing defensively to protecting your teammates and communicating?
“It might not be flashy, but it’s not as easy as it seems, because you normally don’t get much report when you sacrifice and you talk and you do all the stuff, but that’s what it takes when you have two guys like AD and LeBron on the team; the rest of the pieces need to help and help build and give that consistency to the group. Not everyone is going to be able to shine; not everyone is going to be able to develop their game. You just need to fit in and see what you can bring to the table because they’re going to bring a lot, but you need to help them as well, on both ends of the floor.
“That takes a different kind of mindset on a daily basis. So, I think for sure the team has plenty of quality looking at the roster next year. There’s no doubt the talent is there, it’s just sacrificing. Especially when you come off a year after winning the championship, you’ve already established a culture; everybody needs to buy into that culture and understand what they need to do to make it even better.”
If there was anyone that embodied the meaning of sacrifice for the Lakers last season, it was Gasol. After starting all but one game for the Toronto Raptors last season, Gasol was relegated to a reserve role due to the Lakers’ decision to bring in Andre Drummond midway through the season and promise him a starting role.
Gasol definitely didn’t hide his feelings about his sudden role change, but that didn’t seem to have an effect on how he performed on the court. In fact, from the outside looking in, it inspired him to play some of his best basketball in a Lakers uniform.
Gasol may not be back with the Lakers next season, but his attitude and actions towards buying into a supporting role for the team is something everyone can and should adopt, whether they run it back or not.