The thing about Gasol
|06.14.10 at 11:27 pm ET|
From the start of the NBA finals, Pau Gasol has posed a challenge for the Celtics. The combination of his size and versatility spreads the floor and creates match up problems down low.
But there’s more than just a long frame and outside shot that separates Gasol from other big men around the league.
“He’s seven-foot with skills,” Kendrick Perkins told WEEI.com.
The Barcelona, Spain native honed his skills playing international basketball, where assists are applauded just as loudly as dunks and the emphasis is placed on the team, not just the individual. His international accolades include winning a gold medal and MVP honors in the 2009 EuroBasket tournament and a silver medal in the 2008 Olympics.
“The thing about international big men is they’re kind of like guards,” Perkins said. “They’ve got a lot of crafty things in their game. Like they could maybe face you up and try to cross you over. They can handle the ball a little bit better, I think, and they’ve got a lot of guard things in their game. … When you’ve got a big man from the United States or wherever it may be, growing up we learn more dunks and stuff like that. They learn everything.”
The versatility promoted in Gasol’s international experiences has made him a threat both inside and away from the basket. He is averaging nearly 19 points and 10 rebounds per game in the NBA finals. Even though he had an off-night in the Celtics Game 5 victory (5-12 FG, 12 points), the C’s know he is capable of being a game-changer, especially when the Lakers season is on the line.
“He’s arguably one of the – he might be the best player on getting a bucket on the block,” said Perkins. “He’s got a mixture. He’s got right, left-hand jump hook. He can take you off the dribble. He’s got a nice jumper, so in his game, he’s got a mixture of everybody [in the league].”
Added Glen Davis, “He’s more coordinated, he can do a little bit of everything. That’s the European ball, they kind of thrive on that, being big perimeter guys, guys that can shoot on the corner. He gives you a different match up.”
The Celtics recognize the differences in Gasol’s game that makes him stand out in the league. It’s their job to make sure he doesn’t stand out in Game 6.