clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Three Ways Marc Gasol Can Become More Aggressive

A quote during Grizzlies Media Day from Big Spain himself made me ponder some ways that Marc Gasol can step into a more authoritative role this season.

Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Spo

Grizzlies media day has come and gone, and Grizzlies training camp is almost to its end. But questions and possibilities remain with a new season on the near horizon. One of these is Marc Gasol's role on the team this year. During media day this past Monday, Marc Gasol said the following:

This is what I want to hear!

And this statement made me think: specifically, how can Marc Gasol fulfill this "more aggressive" role he's talking about? Well, I came up with three ways he could do this.

1. Pull the Trigger

Perhaps the most paramount of these three points is that Marc Gasol needs to take more shots. The above quote suggests he will do that. In the 2012-13 season, he shot a total of 869 attempts. On the other hand, he shot 711 attempts in the 2013-14 season (keep in mind the smaller sample size). To contrast, Randolph took 1198 field goal attempts this season in 79 games. If Marc Gasol truly wants to be less of a copilot and take charge, he's got to shoot more. Plain and simple. And an increase in shot attempts should equal a leap of his confidence in himself, which can totally affect his entire game. I truly think the game of basketball is largely reliant on a player's confidence in himself and in his teammates. Gasol can't be afraid to take more shots, because he can clearly make them. Let me use a specific example. During Game 5(?) of the OKC series this past playoff run, there were just over 3 seconds left on the clock. The Grizzlies had the ball. The game was tied. Marc was open for a shot, but instead he passed it down to a wide open Randolph, who made a bunny. The problem here? The clock expired. In this situation, Marc should've just taken the shot. And while I love his selflessness, he must learn that he can take these game-winning shots, too.

Check out the play I'm referring to below (skip to 2:17)


2. Wear the Hat

Gasol needs to become a more prominent leader by being more vocal on the court and off the court. This will help him move out of that copilot role he's talking about. In the past, he's been known as a quiet, almost silent sort of leader. And I'm not suggesting Gasol should nor would go from that personality to the kind of player who yells guys' heads off. All I'm saying is that I want Gasol to show everyone he's in charge behind the coaches, whether it be on the bench, in a game, or in the locker room, by being more vocally commanding. For instance, Tony makes his presence known with his words and charismatic actions. I do see Gasol already as a head of this team, but I want him to display his prominence to a greater degree this season by being more vocal, for the better of himself and his team. He and Conley have always been seen as a duo, but Marc needs to step into his own as a more obvious leader by showing us his role in the huddle. He's definitely got the character to be one. With the addition of Vince Carter, he might fulfill much of that sort of vocal leader, but Gasol has got to step up his leader role by becoming more vocal. This includes demanding the ball more on offense, being vocal in the huddle, and instructing in the locker room.

3. Utilize the Size

Lastly, I want Gasol's numbers to go up in the rebounding department. While he's always been a monsterous threat in the paint, for such a guy of his gigantic size, I'd expect more rebounding. He averaged 7.2 boards last year, and his peak was 9.3 during the 2009-10 season. This is a decent stat, however, for Gasol to reach his full potential, he'll definitely need to grab more boards this season. A good goal would be to average around 8.5 this season. The main thing that is holding him back here is that he doesn't properly box his man out. I watched him during FIBA this offseason, and when up against other big men, Gasol seems to want to reach for the rebound rather than box out for it. You could attribute this to laziness, lack of "want to," or whatever else you want, but in the end he just needs to box out his man. The reason Zach Randolph is so good at rebounding is that he claws for them. He'll do anything to get that rebound. Oftentimes, we Grizzlies fans wonder how he gets some of the boards that he does. And while I don't expect Marc to turn into a massive "double double" machine, he just needs to fight for the rebounds with his size advantage, and this number will go up.

With his new physique and new mentality, Marc can expand his game in more ways than one. It's a very good possibility Gasol can make his way to being a 2015 All Star. Honestly, this year (barring injury) we should see how great Marc can really be. The question is, will he prove it with actions?