Davis: "Marc Gasol's defense? He won't stop talking to me"

The pivot fits like a glove in some Lakers who are the best team in the NBA starter. "In attack it opens the court a lot," says Vogel.


All is happiness, for now, in the Lakers. The champion has started the defense of the title in perfect magazine condition. After five straight victories and nine in ten games, after the initial 2-2, he is 11-3, the best record in the NBA. And that's without forcing the machine, taking many stretches of the games in stride and dosing the minutes of Anthony Davis and LeBron James. A priori, everything is perfect.

The Lakers have the best defense (even with the feeling that they can go up a couple of gears when they need it) in the league: 104 rating and fourth best attack (114.9). Of those ahead on offense, only the Bucks (eighth) are also in the top 10 in defensive rating. The Lakers have, therefore, the best rating difference with a brilliant +11 that only the Bucks themselves follow (+10.4). Third, but already far away, are the Pacers (+6.5) .

Marc Gasol enjoys an ideal role for him at this point in his career. It is not squeezed, it measures its minutes and it is not essential in each game but, let's say, a perfect icing for a team even better than last season with the arrival of Schröder, Harrell, Matthews and the Spanish center, and the definitive stabilization of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope as a first-rate escort.

Marc's significance has already been outlined by his coach, Frank Vogel, and his colleagues. At 35, Big Spain has lost physical strength but is still able to contribute in defense, especially against certain rivals who load the area more. And, of course, he contributes a lot in attack (beyond the statistics) with his intelligence, his game reading and his exceptional quality as a passer.

There, in attack, his influence was felt from the beginning. But now he is also fitting into a defense that grows as the games go by. Anthony Davis, surely the best defender in the NBA, has recognized the value of the Catalan pivot in that section: “He's tremendous. He was Defender of the Year. He protects the rim and we are there when he gets smaller attackers. He does a very good job of communication in matchmaking. He talks to me all the time when he's on the bench, about the defensive schemes, what he sees on the court ... his mentality and his reading when it comes to defense is very important to us. It makes us better defensively, and the more we rely on him as an anchor behind us, the more he helps us. ”

On offense, Marc enjoys spreading the game on a team with plenty of scoring options and two of the best players in the NBA, LeBron James and Davis. He has an offensive rating of 120.8, the second best on the team behind only Caldwell-Pope. The Lakers are 12 points for every 100 possessions better with Marc on the court, a tremendous figure to which Frank Vogel makes sense: “We try to give importance to the quality of the shots. Not to force bad shots, not to stress ourselves in attack. Having Marc as an open shooter helps us, but above all the spaces he creates so that we can move better in the area. With five open players, those who handle the ball are much more efficient. ”

Photos from as.com
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