Marc Gasol may not look like your prototypical superstar, but he is the definition of an impact player.
With a 100-92 win tonight over the Denver Nuggets, the Memphis Grizzlies are in a good spot to be able to capture the last playoff seed in the Western Conference. The win tonight was no small thanks to Gasol’s contributions.
Gasol had 24 points on 8-16 shooting from the field and 8-10 shooting from the free throw line. Gasol did a lot of his damage from the midrange tonight, nailing jump shot after jump shot from that distance.
That area is where Gasol is the most dangerous.
Gasol has taken the time to master the 15-to-18-foot jumper, and it has paid big returns for the Grizzlies, who need more floor spacing opportunities for Zach Randolph to do his thing in the post.
Not many centers are as good playing at the high post as Gasol. Joakim Noah of the Chicago Bulls has made a name for himself at the high post, but not for the same reasons as Gasol. Like Gasol, Noah is a gifted and willing passer; that quality is rare for big men of their size, but they both excel at such a necessary skill to run a smooth and efficient offense. Unlike Noah, however, Gasol is able to take advantage of the defense and knock down that free throw line jumper whenever he can catch his man or opposing zone off guard.
Gasol had three assists tonight, which also speaks to his passing ability that is on par (if not better) than Noah’s. Gasol has great size, and that allows him to see over the defense and find his teammates who are either cutting to the basket or are spotting up for a deep shot.
Besides Gasol’s offensive abilities, he is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year in the NBA.
Gasol has a very wide and big body. This allows him to be a terror in the post either using his length to block shots or his sheer size to stuff the lane and contest and change shots that players are throwing up.
Gasol has Randolph down low to do a lot of the dirty work on the glass. Gasol has different but arguably more important responsibilities such as helping Mike Conley facilitate the ball and spread the floor, and to be the Grizzlies’ main defensive anchor down low. Without Gasol, the Grizzlies would not be where they are right now in the NBA.
Gasol can do so many things well, from scoring inside the arc and rebounding on both ends to facilitating and playing defense.
Gasol is a well-rounded big man — something that is very rare in today’s NBA.