Pau Gasol Should Hold The San Antonio Spurs Back In 2016-17

By Zamir Bueno
Oct. 09, 2016

Even though most NBA fans and media have praised the San Antonio Spurs for signing Pau Gasol, there is a reason to believe that he should hold them back. This is because Gasol has constantly made a decision throughout his career that he is not going to put much effort into playing defense to the  where he would standing near the edge of the paint and the who he is supposed to be guarding is about ten to fifteen away from him. As a result of this, the opposing team decides to pass the ball of the player and Gasol doesn't realize that until the player has started his shooting motion. Furthermore, when Gasol is in pick and roll defense he tends to stay with the perimeter player who asked for the screen for too long which leaves wide open.

(Pau Gasol's Defense)

Therefore, it was ill-advised for the Spurs to sign Pau Gasol because the Spurs already have a big man who is a below average defender on the roster in LaMarcus Aldridge. When LaMarcus Aldridge is playing defense, he tends to give minimal effort to the point where on certain plays he would stand near or inside the paint as a perimeter player was driving to the basket and he would go away from him and/or just stand there instead of moving one or two steps over. Which would make the perimeter player stop for a moment to decide whether he wants to go around LaMarcus, take a contested jumper or pass the ball back out to the perimeter to reset the offense. This would give the defense a couple of extra seconds to rotation over in case LaMarcus needs help but since he rarely decides to do this it gives the perimeter player a free path to the basket. Furthermore, there have been many occasions during his career where he has not given maximum effort in defensive rebounding situations because one would assume that he wants to preserve his energy for the offensive end, which gave the opposing team a better chance of getting the rebound.

( LaMarcus going away from the opposing player)

(around the 1:54 and 4:00-minute mark)

(around the 8:00-minute mark)

(LaMarcus not giving maximum effort in defensive rebounding situations)

(around the 0:50 mark)

 As a result of this, the perimeter defenders have to make a decision during every game on whether to focus on defending the three point line or the basket. This defensive strategy is essentially letting the other teams know that they are willing to give them open looks in order to lock down the strongest area of their offense. Which is different from previous seasons because Tim Duncan was able to use his lateral quickness and agility to make sure he was always in a position to challenge a shot below the three point line thus allowing the perimeter defenders to close out on the three-point line. Due to the fact that, the Spurs will most likely only be able to shut down one aspect of the opposing offense, it will increase the likelihood of them giving up more points and games.