Ask any number of diehard NBA fans, and they will tell you that Marc Gasol is one of the better players in basketball. Ask any casual fan, and the Memphis Grizzlies center will barely draw a reaction. I think it is time that everyone recognizes Gasol for the player that he really is.
Gasol was one of the biggest snubs for the All-Star game this year. His point and rebound numbers may not be overwhelming, but you need to watch a Memphis game to truly appreciate him. His numbers don’t show how great on defense that he is. He is the lynchpin that makes the Grizzlies such a bear to play against. Without him, the team would not be nearly as successful.
With Gasol on the court, the Grizzlies are the best defensive team in basketball. Their defensive rating is a tick below 96, which is simply incredible. A guy like Gasol does a perfect job of protecting the rim and making the defense flow perfectly for the team.
As for his individual numbers, nothing will jump off the page at you, but 13 points and a shade over seven rebound and three assists are quite impressive for a center. You are not going to find many players in the league who are capable of doing that while playing some great defense.
If the Grizzlies make a deep run into the playoffs this year, Gasol is going to be the key piece. Without him, this team would sorely lack the identity that makes it a fun team to watch.