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Can Marc Gasol Change?

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Some players are born with this competitive trait that drives them. Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and Kobe Bryant come to mind as the three most competitive sports figures of the last 20 years. They had this thing that drove them to want to win no matter what. This can have many manifestations in NBA players. Ron Artest (I refuse to call him anything else) had a trait where he felt like he needed to do things like this. Dwight Howard and Shaquille O'neal don't have a serious bone in their hulking bodies. This becomes what we know these guys by, be they winners, crazy, or clowns.

And this is where we get to Marc Gasol. Much like Lebron James, Gasol is incredibly unselfish. No matter what, these two guys are going to make the best basketball play instead of trying to take over when some feel they should. Yes, Lebron and Marc are completely different, but they share this one trait that defines the way they play.The first option when he gets the ball will always be to pass and it helps that he is the best passing center in the NBA. It's not that he doesn't care about winning; he is just unselfish to a tee...

...and it's driving Grizzlies fans CRAZY.

There is a contingent of fans that feel Marc was responsible for the Grizzlies losing in the first round of the playoffs. They feel like Marc hasn't been intense enough, ready enough, or good enough, all because he dunked on the European equivalent of me in a FIBA game. I will defend Marc Gasol's efforts last year until I die, and the fact I have to is ridiculous. Being the anchor of a defense for half a season on one knee? Oh that's just not intense enough.  Let's not forget the fact he was supposed to get the knee brace off after four weeks, but ended up wearing it through the playoffs. Let's not forget that, without Marc, that there would have been no playoffs in Memphis. Let's not forget that the Grizzlies wouldn't have had one of the best records in the West had it not been for Marc Gasol. Let's not forget that Zach Randolph had an offensive rating of 96 in the playoffs, BUT KEPT DEMANDING THE BALL EVEN THOUGH MARC GASOL OWNS KENDRICK PERKINS' LIFE.



I understand that people want Marc Gasol to change into a number one option; I would love for him to start shooting twenty times a game and averaging twenty points. He absolutely has the talent to do it, but it's not going to happen. Gasol is not going to become the number one option with Zach Randolph around. It doesn't matter that ZBo is 33 and struggles against athleticism these days - he is going to get his 20 shots and countless postups. This is what has worked for the Grizzlies for the last four seasons, but Gasol is the future, and the Grizzlies have to transition into his hands at some point. This is where his unselfishness comes in. He is not going to prevent ZBo from getting his while he can still do what he can do.

I expect Marc to be somewhat different this year, but not in the way people want him to be. His unselfishness combined with the presence of Zach Randolph are going to make him look like a slimmed down version of 2013 Marc Gasol, but that's what this team needs right now. We will get the Marc Gasol we want when it's the right time.