Marc Gasol: "They keep putting me, I'll be doing something right"

The Spanish pivot takes stock of his first months in the Lakers, where he leads the NBA with LeBron James and Anthony Davis.


Marc Gasol has fallen on his feet in the Lakers. As soon as he arrived in Los Angeles, he received the most important approval, that of the king: "See the plays before they happen," LeBron declared at the time. Subsequently, and on more than one occasion, the team's second sword, Anthony Davis, also praised the Catalan player: "I am learning a lot from Marc Gasol," he went on to say. We had heard it from many mouths, but not yet from his. Now yes: "They have been a very good first two months. We are a great group with an appropriate mentality, leadership, good coaches ...", declared Marc after the victory of the Los Angeles franchise against the Chicago Bulls (90-101 ). The thirteenth of the season. The ninth, out of nine, away from Staples Center.

The team led by Frank Vogel has no brakes. At the very least, nobody knows how to find it. It is, by far, the set that provides the most reliability in their victories: they do not suffer and, if they do, it gives the feeling that they also have everything under control. If you fell into the false myth that there are teams, or players, who win when they want, this would be one of them. For Marc, working on his own court is the shuttle to victories: "We can only play with what the defense gives us and try to take advantage from there, create spaces for LeBron and Anthony Davis to create. No We know how we are going to finish the attacks. Sometimes it is with triples, but the main objective is to attack the paint. Once you get there you make decisions and see if someone is open, or someone is attacking the rim, posting or where the help comes from ", Explain.

At this point in the season, the Lakers are the team with the best defensive rating (103.7) in the league, the one that allows the fewest shot attempts, the one with the fewest rebounds and the one with the greatest margin in their wins. They are not just sensations. In all this, Marc contributes, and a lot. And not only in the qualitative analysis, which is evident and has been repeated ad nauseam. Because yes, he is one of the most intelligent players in the competition, the ones who need less to generate more and the ones who embrace the whole team with their core of action; but all of this is also reflected in the statistics, if you dig a little more than usual.

It is being his worst season in terms of points (4.1), assists (1.9) and rebounds (4.6). A burning nail for criticism, something superficial for the player himself, who takes it with humor: "They keep putting me on the field, so some things I'll do well," he comments gracefully. It is only necessary to demist the windows a bit to see what those things are. With 6.9 it is being his second best season in terms of plus-minus, the matches ending with the second are rare. Likewise, he is the second player in the franchise, with more than 100 minutes played, in terms of defensive rating (100), only behind Davis, with whom he fits as a puzzle for children. "I hope my game mode helps him a little," he commented after the same game against the Bulls, the one about the redemption of Anthony (37 + 6 + 3) after several games, in his own opinion, insufficient. "We have to continue giving him the ball where he needs it. Everything that is special in attack is in defense, that's what makes him one among many," explains Marc. Respect is reciprocal.

Continuing with the numbers, for the most visually reticent, Marc is the Lakers' fifth player with more defensive responsibility in victories (0.7 defensive win shares) and the seventh when we talk about offense (0.2); with him on the track, the team's offensive rating increases eleven points. Numbers and more individual numbers that, when put together, only get better: the Marc - LeBron pairing has stood out since the beginning of the season, when it already established itself as the most efficient in the league. "The team is very deep, it has a lot of bench, size. It is very easy to play basketball here," says Marc. "It is very easy to play basketball with you," the LeBron, Davis or Harrel would surely say. Like a glove.

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