The Half-Court Abilities
Speaking of Duncan, Gasol is the player I liken most to The Big Fundamental. No, he may not be on the Hall of Fame level that Duncan is on quite yet, but Gasol possesses most of the skills Duncan–who is widely considered the greatest power forward to ever play the game–does.
You don’t see the Spurs putting Tim Duncan on the trading block, do you?
I’m not saying they’re in the same league at all, but even throughout the Spurs’ evolution in which they transitioned from a defensive minded veteran team to a faster paced scoring team, Duncan has maintained his productivity.
Similarly, come playoff time, Duncan is relied upon to create offense in the half-court set when his team needs it, as well as provide solid defense in the half-court set. The same should be valued with Gasol.
Yes, the Lakers have Dwight Howard, but he is nowhere close to as skilled as Gasol is in the post. And even though Gasol won’t be playing much time at the Center position this season because of Howard, he’s still extremely talented at his natural position.
On top of that, if–knock on wood–Howard goes down with an injury, no other team has the luxury of sliding a skilled big man such as Gasol down to the Center position so seamlessly; as Gasol has done so many times in the past.
The Lakers are built to withstand an injury to the Center position with the likes of either Jordan Hill or Antawn Jamison moving into the Power Forward slot, while Gasol takes over duties at the Center position. Josh Smith would be severely undersized at that position, with less post abilities.
Next Page: The Size Factor