The Los Angeles Lakers made headlines over the weekend when they not only re-signed Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, but they also signed former Los Angeles Clipper Montrezl Harrell and former Toronto Raptors big man Marc Gasol.
Appearing on the Heavy Live With Scoop B Show, Brevin Knight, a teammate of Marc Gasol’s brother, Paul Gasol, during their days with the Memphis Grizzlies broke down the significance of Pau and Marc in today’s NBA. “Pau came into the league and was drafted, we all went to Memphis together,” said Knight.
“So it was myself, Pau, Lorenzen Wright all when Atlanta Hawks drafted Pau, the trade that when we all went to Memphis from there. And the one thing I will say for Grizzlies fans, is they never appreciated Pau Gasol and his greatness because he was not what Memphis fans deemed basketball was. Lorenzen Wright was what Memphis fans to basketball was; dirty, down low, physical, yelling in your face; Pau was slithery, smooth as a big guy… shot the basketball. He wasn’t going to overpower you, he wasn’t going to talk junk, he was going to help his opponent up; he just did not fit the Memphis mentality. But in terms of basketball, he changed basketball in Memphis because he enabled them to have a star player that was willing to take shots at crucial points and could win games for you. And during that time, that’s when I had a time to meet Marc [Gasol].”
Ironically Marc Gasol was the Lakers’ 47th pick in the 2007 NBA Draft. Gasol’s draft rights were traded by the Lakers to the Grizzlies as part of a trade package that included his older brother, Pau, who was sent from the Grizzlies to the Lakers. Brevin Knight says that Marc Gasol had an advantage by watching his brother, Pau play basketball in the NBA. “Marc came over with his entire family to Memphis and so we got a chance to meet Marc – a young Marc Gasol,” recounted Knight.
“Not knowing at all the kid that we saw we did not think would turn into the player that we see today; because you just didn’t think that he was interested in basketball as he was at a young age. He was just bigger than everybody else and so he was playing but he changed his body and changed his game as things went along and so, then Mac becomes very similar to Pau’s game but just not as athletic as Pau. Same mindset in that you can play them with the ball out on the floor, they’re going to be creators, they can shoot the ball from the perimeter; they’re like most international basketball players… they play the game the right way and they stay and they do those good things. And so for Marc, he can now take those things to the Lakers and hopefully they’re hoping that he can do somewhat what Pau did when Pau was with the Lakers in terms of being a solidifying force down the middle of the floor, again he’ll be a playmaker at the top of the key and it’ll allow LeBron James the opportunity to get back in the mid post again as he just did last season when they had Rondo running the point. Rondo ran the point and LeBron would run the floor. Now LeBron can throw the ball to Gasol at the top and now he can get involved in the play and not have to have himself without the basketball at the top of the key so it gives them that on the offensive end, but defensively, what it gives you is it gives you a voice. And the one thing I give Marc credit for is that he’s going to be the most astute player on the floor at all times. He is going to know at all times what is going on with the opponent and will be able to articulate it to his teammate from a backline position. So if he can give him that, then you mix – and you’re not asking him to be the guy or play heavy minutes that he will play, it will be a difference than what they saw with JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard having Gasol. They’re going to lose athleticism, lose rim runs, you’ll lose the lob opportunities, you’ll lose the blocked shots; but what you’ll get is position defense. So what you miss in blocked shots, you’ll get in charges. You get guys making the extra pass because he’s there and so I think it’ll be a positive for a veteran team, he’s going to the right situation. Veteran guys that know how to play and appreciate what he does.”