The Chicago Bulls‘ biggest offseason acquisition came when they signed former Los Angeles Lakers‘ forward Pau Gasol. At 34 years old, Gasol still has plenty left in the tank heading into his 14th NBA season and has his eyes set on him winning a third NBA Championship.
In his seventh and final season with the Lakers, Gasol averaged 17.4 points, 9.7 rebounds and 3.4 assists while shooting 48 percent. Gasol did most of his work in the post — shooting 55 percent from shots 8-feet and in. He also had a highly effective mid-range jumper shooting 44 percent from 8-16 feet.
Gasol is the only player on the Bulls roster to reach the NBA Finals and provides valuable knowledge and experience to a team with championship aspirations.
One facet of Gasol’s game that will fit in well with the Bulls is his superb passing ability. Combined with Joakim Noah, the Bulls should have the best passing big-man tandem in the game. Last season, the offense often ran through Noah where he enjoyed his role as a facilitator — averaging 5.4 assists per game. Their passing ability should allow the Bulls to space the floor, allow Derrick Rose and other point guards to penetrate the paint and create easy baskets on drive and kick opportunities.
Gasol will also be utilized in pick-and-roll offense. Defenses will collapse on Rose — refusing to let him beat them off the dribble, which will allow Gasol and Noah to make decisions with the basketball. The possibilities will be endless when it comes to the Bulls playing unselfish basketball and passing up good shots for great shots.
Gasol will certainly be an upgrade over Carlos Boozer, who often disappeared for stretches of the game and rarely saw minutes in the fourth quarter due to his defensive inefficiencies.
Not to be forgotten is Taj Gibson, who will split time with Gasol at power forward. Gibson is a far superior defender than Gasol and a capable scorer and it will be interesting to see how Tom Thibodeau handles their respective minutes, especially down the stretch in the fourth quarter.