The playoffs are exactly where Gasol’s unique set of fundamental skills such as shooting, posting up, passing, and overall basketball IQ come into play; during a half-court, grind it out type of game.
Gasol’s unselfishness and ability to make the correct play have proved to be invaluable throughout two championship runs in 2009 and 2010.
Additionally, his interior passing when at the high-post or low-post was an asset for Andrew Bynum over the years, and continues to be so for Dwight Howard.
Gasol and Smith have a similar frequency of shots taken at the rim (300 last season for Pau compared with 363 for Josh), and have a similar field goal percentage from that area (.687 for Pau compared with .686 for Josh).
Smith takes most of his shots from the 16 foot to three-point range (430 in 2012), which could be one reason the Lakers are pursuing him. His ability to space the floor would help open up avenues for Dwight Howard.
However, whereas Smith takes long jumpers most frequently and gets to the rim as well, Gasol mixes it up, taking a relatively evenly allocated amount of shots from all distances (300 at the rim, 290 between three to nine feet, 178 between 10 to 15 feet, and 259 between 15 feet to the three-point line).
The major factor here is that Gasol shoots a considerably higher percentage from every single range compared with Smith, as of last season. Therefore, Gasol can actually space the floor better than Smith, as long as he’s taking the shots.
Additionally, no big man in the league other than Tim Duncan possesses the kinds of abilities Gasol does in terms of being able to shoot, face up, post up, utilize both hands, and pass the ball.
Next Page: The Half-Court Abilities