For the rest of the month, GBB will be breaking down every Grizzlies player that logged double-digit game appearances for Memphis this season and what their games need moving forward. Welcome to the 2018-2019 Memphis Grizzlies Player Review series!
By the Numbers:
53 games played (53 started), 44.4 % shooting, 34.4% from three, 106 offensive rating, 106 defensive rating, 16.9 PER, .104 win shares per 48 minutes
Season in Review:
Gasol and the Grizzlies looked to be headed back to the playoffs after a one year absence and the addition of Jaren Jackson Jr., jumping out to a quick 12-5 start on the season. Marc did indeed reach the playoffs, but only after he was traded at the deadline to the 2 seed Raptors in the East.
After receiving much of the blame for the firing of David Fizdale the previous season, Gasol seemed to be the scapegoat at times for the losing in Memphis this year due to his passive play most nights.
Marc has always said that he wants to play basketball the right way. He is against the one on one hero ball that someone like James Harden tends to play and wants constant fluid ball movement and communication to be what fuels his team.
The problem with being the second scoring option on the team, behind Mike Conley (duh), is that the team will seldom be successful with a passive second option. Gasol was headed to his lowest scoring season in Memphis (15.7 ppg) since 2013-2014 (14.6).
For an aging center in the NBA, he is at a point in his career that winning is the priority. For whatever reason, winning was slipping away from the Grizzlies during his final years. The Grizz could ill-afford a Tyreke Evans situation where they got nothing for Gasol were he to decline his player option to pursue an opportunity to win elsewhere.
While our front office never seems to handle things very well in the public eye, Gasol remained professional through it all. Instead of quitting on this season when it was spiraling out of control, Gasol continued to go out and play the way he knew how.
He also took the responsibility upon his self to mentor Jaren Jackson Jr. You could see Marc coaching the youngest player in the NBA in the middle of the game during most games this season.
Marc loved Memphis and Memphis will always love Marc.
What is Next:
It is still kind of weird to see Marc Gasol in anything other than Beale Street Blue. In a way his “what’s next” is already answered.
He is in a new situation with an opportunity to win a championship. Pairing his great defensive mind with Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green, and Serge Ibaka makes for a deadly defensive team.
Marc is looking at perhaps the best chance he has had in his career to win it all and possibly the best chance he has remaining.
The Raptors are in a tough situation this off-season. Kawhi is expected to walk, they have Serge Ibaka on the roster, and Gasol holds a player option for his final year of his contract.
If Kawhi walks, will Marc walk too or will he opt in to get his final big pay day?
Who knows what the future holds for Big Spain, but all of Memphis will be Toronto fans this postseason rooting for their guy to win the ring he deserves.
Stats provided by basketball-reference.com