Apr 28, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers power forward Pau Gasol (16) is surrounded by San Antonio Spurs shooting guard Danny Green (4) center Tim Duncan (21) forward Matt Bonner (15) and forward Kawhi Leonard (2) during 3rd quarter action of game four of the first round of the 2013 NBA playoffs at the Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers: Pau Gasol is More Valuable Than You Know

Pau Gasol can be somewhat of a mystery. His skills seem very obvious on the floor, yet his value is constantly questioned. The simple question is would the Lakers be better without Pau Gasol?

Pau adds versatility. He can play 2 positions, and does many things very well. He is a phenomenal passer from the high and low post. He can be a good shooter. He plays facing the hoop, and can play with his back to the basket. And at 7 feet he still alters some shots.

The biggest criticism with Pau is that he is soft. He also has lost more than a few steps, and is less effective in the post, but he also was asked to be in the post less. But his toughness is consistently questioned.

There is not a long list of valuable power forwards in the NBA. But everyone of them who is better than Pau is not going anywhere soon. Tim Duncan, Lamarcus Aldridge, Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Love, and Blake Griffin are not wearing Purple and Gold any time soon.

Pau runs the Lakes offense. Every position with at least one pass runs through him above the key, or dishing it down low. He is the only Laker who is adept at entry passes.

His player efficiency rating isn’t off the charts. He ranks 40th in the league in 2013. But just 2 years ago he was ranked 5th in the league. Pau is like many of the Lakers. If he was healthy all year, he could still be the same player.

And even if he isn’t the same player, he has an uncommon asset, which is his ability to not bring his ego into it. It’s frustrating to not see him assert himself more often, but he facilitates not just the play on the floor, but in the locker room with his unselfishness. It’s interpreted as weakness, but his team first attitude is a very undervalued asset.

Tags: Los Angeles Lakers Pau Gasol

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