Pau Gasol is in trouble. His performance so far against Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Playoffs has drawn the ire of Lakers fans and NBA fans in general. But here’s why fans should lay off Gasol, at least a little bit, in list form.
1. Anyone would struggle with Dirk-
The way Nowitzki is playing right now there is almost no chance of stopping him. The league doesn’t have a whole lot of guys who are big and athletic enough to stop a nearly-7 foot man from raining jumpers from all over the court, from off-balance turnarounds to fadeaways.
Remember that Joe Dumars got a ton of credit for guarding Michael Jordan in the Pistons’ title runs in the late 80’s-earlly 90’s and still gave up 25-30 points on many nights. Gasol is a bad matchup and Jackson should use Lamar Odom on Dirk more often whenever the matchups allow for it.
2. He led them to titles-
Gasol has been praised by Kobe Bryant in the past as one of the best big men in the league and he helped lead them to two titles in the past two playoff seasons.
If Shaquille O’Neal had still been a Laker then they would never have made it to where Gasol took them. Gasol is maybe more of a finesse player than others but to suddenly turn on him and call him soft and berate him is not fair to the Spanish star.
3. He needs a confidence boost-
As poorly as Gasol is playing, questioning his every move won’t help. He plays well with confidence and he’s done it in the past before. The fans need to get behind him and give him the benefit of the doubt as they do with Bryant when he’s not playing well.
While Gasol has had a bad series and shown a lack of heart at times, Lakers fans are only making the problem worse right now. Gasol needs support because he’s a key piece of the Lakers’ present and future as well and calling him “soft” and other worse names on message boards will not change things, especially after he helped deliver two titles post-Shaq after great NBA playoff runs.