The Memphis Grizzlies have the proper foundation in place to contend for a championship this year and moving forward. The dynamic duo of point guard Mike Conley and center Marc Gasol along with the veteran presence of Zach Randolph has allowed the Grizzlies to maintain status in a loaded Western Conference, and the core has even taken the team as far as the Western Conference Finals. Along the way, Gasol has become one of the best big men in the entire NBA, and after this season he will be an unrestricted free agent free to sign wherever he chooses.
Gasol could opt to leave Memphis for a larger market if he so chooses, or he could stay with the team that traded for him and has believed in him the whole way through. Gasol has given all indications that he would love to stay with the team, provided the Grizzlies take care of him financially. The question is, should the Grizzlies offer Gasol a max contract to be the centerpiece of the team? Gasol is a proven big man in the league, but he is not exactly the flashiest player out there. Gasol’s numbers are not overwhelming, but they are solid. For his career, Gasol has averaged 13.5 points per game to go along with 7.9 rebounds per game and 2.9 assists per game, as well as 1.3 blocks per game and one steal per game.
Gasol is an all-around contributor on both ends of the floor, and even though his numbers do not scream superstar, Gasol has earned the right to be respected around the league. Offensively, Gasol does a number of things well for his team. For starters, Gasol is a gifted passer. The Grizzlies can put Gasol at the high post in order to facilitate and move the ball around on offense. If the pass is not there, Gasol has improved his mid-range shot and can hit it with consistency. Even though Gasol does not shoot three point shots, he still spreads the floor for the Grizzlies and gives space down low to Randolph who is the enforcer and inside scoring presence for the team. Gasol is one of the best passing big men in the NBA, and his skills on that end of the floor help the offense operate, and if it was not for Gasol, the Grizzlies would truly have one of the worst offenses in the league due to their inability to shoot the ball efficiently from deep.
On the defensive side of the ball, Gasol is an enforcer down low. Not only is he a big body that clogs the lane, but he is also a great shot blocker and has active hands that get into the passing lanes and create deflections and steal opportunities. Gasol is not the most mobile big man, but he has great defensive instincts that allow him to be a true menace on that end of the floor. Gasol is not a flashy player, but he does everything and then some to help his team win. Gasol is the most important player on the floor every night for the Grizzlies, and that alone should warrant a max contract offer from the team that truly realizes the impact he has night in and night out on the court. Memphis, Do yourself a favor and pay this man. He deserves every penny.