this blog started when the lakers traded for pau gasol…i simply could not believe – same as almost everyone else – that they got an all-star like gasol for exactly zero players in their top eight, no nine, no…
i heard about the trade first from an email from the lakers inviting me to buy tickets, and featuring a picture of a gasol jersey. oh sh#t i thought…i didn’t want to know who they gave up…figured it would have to be, in addition to the obvious kwame, one or more of jordan farmar, ronnie turiaf, vlad radmanovic, maybe even lamar odom. a few anxious clicks later, lo and behold, none of them. thank goodness…each one of those guys listed above is there for a key reason, and the lakers need them. farmar in particular, is the one guy on the roster who can d up on the quick (and even not so quick) guards who’ve been feasting on the lakers in recent years: parker, d. williams, nash, devin harris. plus, the guy has developed his 3-ball to the point where he’s a real threat. as for turiaf, i’ve been really impressed with his interior passing, good short-range shooting, and spot-up fifteen-seventeen footers, not to mention the surprising number of blocks for a guy built like a barrel (who knew he had hops and timing like that?). he’s been showing that he’s not just a one-d role player or energy guy…he’s got a complete game. ditto radmanovic…once thought of as a three point specialist with not much D in him, he’s now playing great D (relatively speaking), featuring a sophisticated passing game, and showing moves off the dribble.
all told, i’m becoming much more a phil jackson believer than i’ve ever been…the variety of skills all of the guys on the team are showing, again particularly the quality of the passing, really surpasses any team of his i think i’ve ever seen, and that includes the 72 win bulls.
anyhow, coming back to pau, as great an acquisition as it was, and it has got to rank up there as one of the great laker trades ever, though not quite at the level of the kareem trade nor the trades that got them shaq and kobe, there’s still a hole there. yeah, pau averages a lot of boards, but if you watch him play, there are a whole lot of times that the ball goes up and he’s just watching. that said, i do expect that to change, because these lakers all show a commitment to consistent pressing effort on d, and i don’t think pau will want to lose the respect of his new mates by not matching that effort. besides, in memphis he had to save himself, because they needed his o so much…but here in laker land, the team can’t afford to have anyone out there not working all the time on d and on the o boards.
so, it will be interesting to watch pau’s development in d and on the boards…it says here that if he doesn’t improve, dramatically, the lakers won’t get out of the west…if he does though, and assuming bynum returns, sky’s the limit…should be a fun season