Pau Gasol

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Pau Gasol 

Post#1 » by Texas Chuck » Tue Sep 14, 2021 5:13 pm

So I've found myself in hot water the past couple of days for suggesting that Pau Gasol was a top ten player in multiple seasons--something I would have never thought remotely controversial and still am not sure it actually is.

But then in the AD thread I made what I thought was not that outrageous a statement that AD is closer at this point to Pau Gasol than he is guys like Barkley and Malone who are top 20 all-time guys with enormous resumes. That brought down a bunch of heat on me. But I hope that's more about me undervaluing AD in everyone's opinion than it is Pau not being appreciated--and several posters seemed to indicate that at least.

So what I'm hoping for here is to get some honest opinions about what kind of player Pau Gasol was and how good he was and maybe a range of guys you would find comparable. This has nothing to do whatsoever with Kobe Bryant who is an all-time great player. So I beg that we don't make it about him. I really just want some more opinions on Pau to see if I am really as guilty of overrating him as it appears I might be.
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Re: Pau Gasol 

Post#2 » by jamaalstar21 » Tue Sep 14, 2021 5:38 pm

There are lots of numbers and plenty of accolades that indicate Pau was a top 10 player in at least 3 seasons.
- 4x All-NBA (2x 2nd-team)
- 5x seasons top 10 in BPM, Win Shares, VORP
- Led the NBA in offensive rating in 2009

To me there's no question he was a top 10 player during the Lakers 2 titles, I think in other seasons you can make arguments for and against him. He was excellent in the 2011 season but had a strange meltdown in the playoffs (and was basically never an elite playoff performer after that). I don't really know how to rank his years in Memphis, but I do feel like Pau is a bit underappreciated as a floor raiser. It seemed pretty easy to build offense or defense around Pau (those Memphis teams weren't total trash every year, but making the playoffs in that era of the West is pretty impressive).
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Re: Pau Gasol 

Post#3 » by Stalwart » Tue Sep 14, 2021 5:39 pm

Pau was an excellent #2 guy. He knew how to be effective within the flow of the game. But as a #1 he is limited. He maxed out at 20/10 as the team leader for the Grizzlies. Thats just not top 10 level production. You can't compare those numbers to guys like DWade, Kobe, Lebron, Tim, McGrady, Garnett, Dirk, Webber, Nash, and so many others.
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Re: Pau Gasol 

Post#4 » by sansterre » Tue Sep 14, 2021 5:43 pm

I mean . . . you can absolutely find metrics that he was in the top ten of at least a few times. In fact, most box score driven metrics see him as a Top Ten player fairly consistently during the '08-11 stretch. So if your standard for "Top Ten Player" is "I can find respectable metrics that have this player in the top ten several times", then yeah, he totally was.

The knocks on him are that pretty much no impact metrics have him as a Top Ten player at any time, which suggests that box score metrics overrate him somewhat. And furthermore, Pau's postseason resilience seemed fairly dependent on playing next to peak Kobe, even with box score metrics.

If I were to arbitrarily label him I'd probably go with something half-buttocked like "a borderline Top Ten player" or simply "All-Star".

I don't think your position was per se wrong, but it may have been a small overreach.

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Re: Pau Gasol 

Post#5 » by Statlanta » Tue Sep 14, 2021 5:57 pm

Better than Chris Webber
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Re: Pau Gasol 

Post#6 » by No-more-rings » Tue Sep 14, 2021 6:29 pm

I don't consider it crazy to call him top 10 in a few of his best seasons, but i do find it crazy to think he's comparable to Anthony Davis in their primes.
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Re: Pau Gasol 

Post#7 » by Fadeaway_J » Tue Sep 14, 2021 6:32 pm

No-more-rings wrote:I don't consider it crazy to call him top 10 in a few of his best seasons, but i do find it crazy to think he's comparable to Anthony Davis in their primes.

Same, and I love Pau.
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Re: Pau Gasol 

Post#8 » by Matt15 » Tue Sep 14, 2021 7:17 pm

Very good 2nd option and borderline Top 10 player in his best seasons but Davis is a different level player.
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Re: Pau Gasol 

Post#9 » by pillwenney » Wed Sep 15, 2021 5:02 am

Davis is certainly different purely because he's quite far ahead of Pau defensively. With that said, I think Pau's defense was underrated at the time (with Odom and Bynum, made for great rim protection), and I'd take his offense over AD's pretty easily.
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Re: Pau Gasol 

Post#10 » by HeartBreakKid » Wed Sep 15, 2021 5:10 am

Pau Gasol absolutely was a top tenish player in 2010. His size made him incredibly difficult to deal with in that era.

But no he is not as good as Anthony Davis. Davis is in another tier of defender and offensively they are close but as scorers Davis is ahead by a lot.

Karl Malone and Charles Barkley are not consensus top 20 players either. A major reason why Karl Malone would be ranked higher than Anthony Davis is because he is much more durable, not because he was significantly a better player on the court.
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Re: Pau Gasol 

Post#11 » by feyki » Wed Sep 15, 2021 9:21 am

He was a top 10 player at least in the two years the 2010 and the 2011. And a few more all-nba years. Also, was an all-star a decade long stretch.
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Re: Pau Gasol 

Post#12 » by Laimbeer » Wed Sep 15, 2021 10:51 am

There's a lot of space between being a top ten player and an MVP-ish player. Your takes are normally pretty reasonable, but putting AD and Pau on the same teir is pretty out there.
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Re: Pau Gasol 

Post#13 » by trex_8063 » Wed Sep 15, 2021 11:55 pm

I don't know the context of the conversation in the Anthony Davis thread.
If you were saying that AD right now is closer to a Pau Gasol level player [than to prime Barkley/Malone], and by "right now" we're using '21 AD as the measure......then sure, I don't think that's outrageous at all. It was a down year for AD.
I guess we have to ask ourselves if that was really AD "right now" [and moving forward], or if it was a fluky injury-decimated season. It was certainly a clear large step down from anything he'd been in any of the SIX prior seasons.
If, otoh, people are assuming AD will return to '20 form as soon as he's healthy, then I could see where those people might think Pau is an insulting comparison. It all depends who which version we can expect from AD "right now" (and I don't know the right answer; I do worry about his durability, though).

If the context was all-time ranking, then certainly he's yet to even remotely approach guys like Barkley or Malone for me (he's still comfortably behind Pau Gasol for me [recall my criteria hinges on total career value]).


As far as saying Pau was a top 10 player in the league multiple years, that's a statement that surely will require some qualifying, but it's not outrageous. Pau was awfully damn good, especially from '09-'11.

From '09-'11.....
*He was 5th, 5th, and 3rd [respectively] in the league in WS/48.
**He was 10th, 9th, and 10th [respectively] in BPM.
***He was also 10th in the league in PER in '10.

As another poster mentioned, his impact metrics do seem to lag behind his impact metrics somewhat. Nonetheless in RAPM he was still tied for 25th in '09, and was 26th in '11 [somewhat solid positive in '10].
Though bear in mind that RAPM is a rate metric, so with Gasol averaging 37 mpg in each of those years [while missing relatively few games], his per game imprint on the pt-differential was likely bigger than some of these players who had a higher per 100 possession imprint.

Same goes for the above metrics, too. Note, for instance, that his league rank in total WS in these seasons was 4th, 7th, and 2nd; in VORP he ranked 6th in '09 and 7th in '11.

RAPM is further heavily dependent upon role and fit......and some of the players ahead of him were limited-minute role players with very specific duties that fit nicely next to more talented teammates [compared to Gasol's relatively wider responsibilities].
For both of these considerations, I'm looking at guys like Nick Collison, Amir Johnson, or Jeff Foster [who all ranked ahead of Gasol in RAPM at least once in that span]. I also wonder about some roster noise when I see Lamar Odom near the top of the league in two separate years.

Overall, the balance of evidence certainly suggests that Pau might have been a top-10 player in one or more years........so I don't see how suggesting it could be seen as some kind of hot-take.


As to eye-test, I distinctly remember [circa-2010] commenting to myself that Pau Gasol had a case as the most offensively skilled big-man in the league at that time: not as good a pure scorer as Amar'e [and perhaps not Yao Ming in '09, either], but a far better passer than either (and with a better turnover economy than either [FAR better than Yao]).
The combination of scoring threat, passing, turnover economy, shooting range, offensive rebounding, and reliability at the FT-line gives him a solid case against ANY big in the league at that time [on offense].

Defensively, I never really thought he was any better than passable (except maybe on the defensive glass, where he was very solid).

So it's a pretty nice player we're looking at there.


In an all-time sense, I'm fairly high on Pau (his longevity helps: the guy played 18 mostly healthy seasons, came into the league an ABOVE average player, and remained [at least] that much all the way thru his 17th season). I have him in the 39-44 range on my ATL, though I'm ahead of the pitch relative to the rest of the forum: I had him as my 1st ballot choice in the 2020 Project beginning with the #41 spot, and had to keep beating that drum until he finally got in at #49; he came in #48 in the 2017 Project.
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Re: Pau Gasol 

Post#14 » by Texas Chuck » Thu Sep 16, 2021 12:18 am

trex_8063 wrote:
If the context was all-time ranking, then certainly he's yet to even remotely approach guys like Barkley or Malone for me (he's still comfortably behind Pau Gasol for me [recall my criteria hinges on total career value]).


As far as saying Pau was a top 10 player in the league multiple years, that's a statement that surely will require some qualifying, but it's not outrageous. Pau was awfully damn good, especially from '09-'11.



It was 2 different conversations actually. One was about AD's career and I argued that he was closer in comparison with Pau than with Barkley/Mailman(these names provided by a previous poster). Of course AD peaked higher, but yeah in terms of career I didn't think Pau was insulting at all, but let's just say I was met with a chorus of boos for this position. :D

The other one was a Kobe conversation where multiple posters were trying to suggest the Lakers' run from 08-10 was all Kobe because Pau wasn't even a top 25 player. I wasn't really involved except to stop by and say I thought Pau was clearly a top 10 player over that period and in individual years. Reactions there were more mixed.


So I decided maybe I needed just a clearer picture on Pau because clearly I was viewing his career much more favorably than everyone else was. Hence the rare Chuck OP.
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Re: Pau Gasol 

Post#15 » by feyki » Thu Sep 16, 2021 9:20 am

Ad's career closer to Pau than Malone, for sure. But your statement was Giannis is up there but AD isn't and thought you was talking about the peak/prime.
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Re: Pau Gasol 

Post#16 » by HeartBreakKid » Thu Sep 16, 2021 9:33 am

Texas Chuck wrote:
trex_8063 wrote:
If the context was all-time ranking, then certainly he's yet to even remotely approach guys like Barkley or Malone for me (he's still comfortably behind Pau Gasol for me [recall my criteria hinges on total career value]).


As far as saying Pau was a top 10 player in the league multiple years, that's a statement that surely will require some qualifying, but it's not outrageous. Pau was awfully damn good, especially from '09-'11.



It was 2 different conversations actually. One was about AD's career and I argued that he was closer in comparison with Pau than with Barkley/Mailman(these names provided by a previous poster). Of course AD peaked higher, but yeah in terms of career I didn't think Pau was insulting at all, but let's just say I was met with a chorus of boos for this position. :D

The other one was a Kobe conversation where multiple posters were trying to suggest the Lakers' run from 08-10 was all Kobe because Pau wasn't even a top 25 player. I wasn't really involved except to stop by and say I thought Pau was clearly a top 10 player over that period and in individual years. Reactions there were more mixed.


So I decided maybe I needed just a clearer picture on Pau because clearly I was viewing his career much more favorably than everyone else was. Hence the rare Chuck OP.


You said Davis was "not as good at basketball" as Karl Malone and Barkley when as why you felt he was closer to Pau and not Karl/Chuck, which would imply you're talking about their actual on court abilities not accomplishments or longevity.
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Re: Pau Gasol 

Post#17 » by Stalwart » Thu Sep 16, 2021 10:25 am

Best Players in 2008:

Kobe
Dirk
Lebron
Wade
Carmelo
Nash
Duncan
Howard
Paul
KG
Pierce
D. Williams
Yao
Iverson
Parker

2009

Kobe
Dirk
Lebron
Wade
Carmelo
Howard
Duncan
Paul
KG
Pierce
Durant
Nash
D. Williams

2010

Kobe
Wade
Lebron
Dirk
Howard
Durant
Bosh
Rose
Nash
KG
Duncan
Chauncey
Paul

I could do this every year of Pau's career. In what universe was he ever a top 10 player? Top 15, arguable. Top 10? Absolutely not ever. Im not sure when he took on this mythical status but its revisionist history. I love Pau btw so no hate or shade to him. But facts are facts.
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Re: Pau Gasol 

Post#18 » by HeartBreakKid » Thu Sep 16, 2021 10:45 am

Stalwart wrote:Best Players in 2008:

Kobe
Dirk
Lebron
Wade
Carmelo
Nash
Duncan
Howard
Paul
KG
Pierce
D. Williams
Yao
Iverson
Parker

2009

Kobe
Dirk
Lebron
Wade
Carmelo
Howard
Duncan
Paul
KG
Pierce
Durant
Nash
D. Williams

2010

Kobe
Wade
Lebron
Dirk
Howard
Durant
Bosh
Rose
Nash
KG
Duncan
Chauncey
Paul

I could do this every year of Pau's career. In what universe was he ever a top 10 player? Top 15, arguable. Top 10? Absolutely not ever. Im not sure when he took on this mythical status but its revisionist history. I love Pau btw so no hate or shade to him. But facts are facts.

I don't think you know what revisionist history means. And you're not listing facts, you're just listing names. There isn't any thing "factual" about thinking 2nd year Derrick Rose was better than Pau Gasol (or even thinking 2nd year Derrick Rose is a top ten player in any capacity). Or even thinking someone like Carmelo Anthony is better. It's really obvious you're just going with who scores the more points and who is more likely to have a Sports Illustrated article.

I mean how can someone think Chris Bosh is clearly a top ten player, but someone think another person is an idiot for having Pau Gasol in the top ten. Makes zero sense, and you use the phrase as revisionist history when many people thought Pau was better than Bosh in 2010?
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Re: Pau Gasol 

Post#19 » by obispo » Thu Sep 16, 2021 10:47 am

HeartBreakKid wrote:
Stalwart wrote:Best Players in 2008:

Kobe
Dirk
Lebron
Wade
Carmelo
Nash
Duncan
Howard
Paul
KG
Pierce
D. Williams
Yao
Iverson
Parker

2009

Kobe
Dirk
Lebron
Wade
Carmelo
Howard
Duncan
Paul
KG
Pierce
Durant
Nash
D. Williams

2010

Kobe
Wade
Lebron
Dirk
Howard
Durant
Bosh
Rose
Nash
KG
Duncan
Chauncey
Paul

I could do this every year of Pau's career. In what universe was he ever a top 10 player? Top 15, arguable. Top 10? Absolutely not ever. Im not sure when he took on this mythical status but its revisionist history. I love Pau btw so no hate or shade to him. But facts are facts.

I don't think you know what revisionist history means. And you're not listing facts, you're just listing names. There isn't any thing "factual" about thinking 2nd year Derrick Rose was better than Pau Gasol (or even thinking 2nd year Derrick Rose is a top ten player in any capacity). Or even thinking someone like Carmelo Anthony is better. It's really obvious you're just going with who scores the more points and who is more likely to have a Sports Illustrated article.
Also Chris Bosh, Deron Williams and Paul Pierce was never better than Gasol.

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Re: Pau Gasol 

Post#20 » by HeartBreakKid » Thu Sep 16, 2021 10:50 am

obispo wrote:
HeartBreakKid wrote:
Stalwart wrote:Best Players in 2008:

Kobe
Dirk
Lebron
Wade
Carmelo
Nash
Duncan
Howard
Paul
KG
Pierce
D. Williams
Yao
Iverson
Parker

2009

Kobe
Dirk
Lebron
Wade
Carmelo
Howard
Duncan
Paul
KG
Pierce
Durant
Nash
D. Williams

2010

Kobe
Wade
Lebron
Dirk
Howard
Durant
Bosh
Rose
Nash
KG
Duncan
Chauncey
Paul

I could do this every year of Pau's career. In what universe was he ever a top 10 player? Top 15, arguable. Top 10? Absolutely not ever. Im not sure when he took on this mythical status but its revisionist history. I love Pau btw so no hate or shade to him. But facts are facts.

I don't think you know what revisionist history means. And you're not listing facts, you're just listing names. There isn't any thing "factual" about thinking 2nd year Derrick Rose was better than Pau Gasol (or even thinking 2nd year Derrick Rose is a top ten player in any capacity). Or even thinking someone like Carmelo Anthony is better. It's really obvious you're just going with who scores the more points and who is more likely to have a Sports Illustrated article.
Also Chris Bosh, Deron Williams and Paul Pierce was never better than Gasol.

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I already know where the arguments with Williams (who was grossly overrated back then, talk about a boxscore darling) and Pierce (winning bias and exaggerated clutch narrative) will go. Paul Pierce is the reason why I even became a Celtic fan and he certainly was not a top ten player in 2009 lol.

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