Over the last few seasons, Marc Gasol has developed into a model of excellence on and off the court for the Grizzlies. Throughout most of September, Gasol suited up in a different jersey than the Grizzlies midnight blue, that of his native Spain. He dealt with a lot during the FIBA EuroBasket tournament: new teammates, a different ball, different opponents, and, of course, different jerseys. However, one thing stayed the same: Gasol's play.
Gasol carried a Spanish team that featured the likes of Ricky Rubio, José Calderón, and Rudy Fernandez. He easily led the team in scoring and rebounding, averaging 13.9 PPG and 7.8 RPG during the tournament. Throw in 2.2 APG, and it becomes obvious that Gasol was playing a bit of a "man among boys" role at times in the tournament. At 6.5 DRPG, Gasol led the tournament in defensive rebounding. Gasol's total average of 7.8 RPG was good enough for second in the tournament, only behind Axel Hervelle of Belgium.
If there was one area where Gasol faltered, it was in the turnover department. He turned the ball over 29 times in 11 games, or 2.6 times per game. This number was bad enough for him to have the third most giveaways of any player in the tournament. That many turnovers is not typical of Gasol, but there are a couple of factors at play here. First, Gasol was Spain's clear number one option, and he received more defensive attention than he typically would when playing in an NBA game. Secondly, he played the fifth most minutes of any player during the tournament, and fatigue could have factored into the high number of turnovers. Despite an abysmal assist to turnover ratio of 0.82, Grizzlies fans shouldn't be worried. Turnovers are not typically a big part of Gasol's game, and he will make many more plays that result in baskets than turnovers throughout the course of any given game.
Despite Wendigo's best efforts, Spain fell just short of the championship game after losing to a Tony Parker-led France team, 72-75 in the semifinals. Hearing the crafty point guard's name will always conjure up bad memories for Grizzlies fans, and even if it wasn't in a Grizzlies uniform, it is a bit disappointing that Gasol's team fell to Parker's.
Gasol's best performance came in a second round overtime loss to Italy. He put up 32 points, a joint-tournament-high shared with Parker, on 11/19 shooting, and he also pulled down ten rebounds for his second and last double-double of the tournament. In the quarterfinals against Serbia, Gasol didn't do much scoring, but he more than compensated for that with his passing ability. He had his tournament high six assists against the Serbs. Check out this incredible pass he made after a defensive rebound. Not many big men have the coordination and the awareness to make this pass.
After the tournament's conclusion, Gasol was named to the FIBA EuroBasket 2013 All Tournament Team along with Parker, Goran Dragic, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Linas Kleiza. Spain finished third in the tournament and won the bronze medal. With the NBA season a little over a month away, it's nice to see Gasol in mid-season form already. Given his stellar performance at EuroBasket 2013, Grizzlies fans should expect more of the same when the NBA season gets underway as Gasol further cements himself in the top tier of centers.