Title: Yes, Marc Gasol needs to be more assertive on offence, but there’s still plenty to like about his game
Date: November 12, 2019
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about Marc Gasol’s passive start for the Raptors, and how a few tweaks to his role can help amplify what’s already a strong impact on team performance.
The middle ground was supposed to offer as much space as playoff defences offered Marc Gasol beyond the arc: A lot.
Arriving in Toronto from a declining, yet higher-usage, role in a poor offence on a middling Memphis Grizzlies team, Gasol had no choice but to change his game last February. He’d been thrust into a far superior offence with an established hierarchy on a team with title aspirations. He suddenly shifted into a much lower-usage, more playmaking-oriented role that nudged him even further away from the post than his declining back-to-the-basket game and the increasingly space-reliant NBA game already had. It was a selfless assignment that suited Gasol the teammate and Gasol the 34-year-old veteran.
And it worked. Gasol won his first NBA Championship and then shifted back to a much larger offensive role this past summer to help lead Spain to the World Cup. With the loss of Kawhi Leonard, it looked like Gasol’s task for 2019-20 would be to strike a balance between the load he shouldered in Memphis and China and the one he accepted down the stretch in Toronto.
Things have not gone according to plan quite yet.