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The Value of Pau Gasol and Win Shares

Posted by Ben Taylor -

Even small children in third world countries know who's the best player on the Los Angeles Lakers: one Entrapment Kobe Bean Bryant. But could Pau Gasol, who was recently named the Western Conference Player of the Month, actually be more valuable to the Lakers?

Since joining the team 13 months ago in the biggest heist since Catherine Zeta-Jones stole $8 billion in “Entrapment,” the Lakers are an astounding 71-17 (.807).

What's more amazing, and a testament to Gasol's value, is that they haven't missed a beat without Andrew Bynum in the lineup. The Lakers are technically better with Pau at center and sans Bynum, sporting a 35-8 (.814) record, including the Memphis game when Bynum went down in the opening minutes.

That's a 67-win pace.

A year ago, LA was 24-11 (.685) with Bynum roaming the paint. Quite good, but only a 56-win pace. Pau_reverse

Then Bynum injured his knee, and before the Big Spaniard came to the rescue, the Lakers limped along at a pedestrian 5-5. Granted, that's a small sample size, but clearly the Lakers are not a 56-win team without Bynum and Gasol. Between their 2007 record – 42-40 – and the 6-5 record last year without Bynum (he missed an early season victory over Minnesota with gastroenteritis), history shows that they are roughly a .500 team without Pau Gasol and their current roster. Perhaps they are slightly better than .500 - let's say somewhere in the 45-win range.

I'm no math major, but it appears as if Gasol adds about 20 wins or so. Of course, this is fuzzy math, given the return of Derek Fisher and the improvement of young talents like Jordan Farmar and Trevor Ariza, but clearly Gasol elevates the Lakers from a borderline-playoff team to a championship-level team.

It's hard to gauge where the Lakers would find themselves without Kobe Bryant and an otherwise healthy team, but I would be shocked if they weren't over .500 and still competing for a playoff spot. In a vacuum, Gasol's not better than Bryant. But for the Lakers, he is certainly as valuable.

Like Steve Nash running the Seven Seconds or Less offense, he is the rare case of a player's value exceeding his talent. Gasol has always been an all-star caliber player, but in Tex Winter's system, he supercharges the offense.

Like a hand in a glove, Pau's game is tailor-made for the triangle offense. It's hard to find a better high-post passer in the league.  He has a nearly automatic face-up jumper, and a deft touch around the basket.

Then there are the Win Shares. For my money, Basketball-Reference's Win Shares is the best metric in basketball at capturing a player's contributions on the court. Like any complex statistic, it is by no means perfect, but I challenge anyone to find a better stat that matches up with common sense better than Win Shares. Not points per game, nor Roland Rating, nor adjusted plus-minus will predict the quality of a player better than B-R's Win Shares.

How does this relate to Gasol? He is fourth in the league in Win Shares and actually leads the Lakers (scroll to the "Advanced" list at the bottom), despite playing one less game than Kobe Bryant. Last year, Bryant amassed 14.3 Win Shares, good for fourth best in the league (Chris Paul put up a league-best 17.3). Gasol joined the Lakers and finished with 4.7 Win Shares in 27 games. Pro-rated for an entire season, that pans out to, you guessed it, 14.3 win shares.

Kobebryantmvplakers_nc_2 He probably won't receive many MVP votes at the end of the year, but perhaps he should. In a league historically based on stepping stones – a team reaches the second round, then the Conference Finals, then competes for a title – Gasol arrived and helped LA jump from first round to final round. This year, he's been the Western Conference Player of the Month, leads the league in offense rating (a product of his increased offensive efficiency) and has helped power (or should I say finesse?) the Lakers to .800-ball despite the loss of Andrew Bynum. The team has yet to lose more than two games in a row since Gasol's arrival.

There is no question Bryant is the Lakers best player, but he might not be their most valuable.

BT

Photo: Pau Gasol scoring a basket.  Credit: Christine Cotter/Los Angeles Times
Photo: Kobe Bryant with the MVP trophy.  Credit: Newscom.com

 
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Threads a flyin' today!

Like i always feel, once we got Pau i was like "wooo good god we are so lucky!" Pau is like the ultimate team player. Don't get me wrong, Kobe is great but Pau adds so much to the team. I just think he needs to bulk up a little bit more hehehhe Go Lakers!

Nice post, Ben.

On a side note, I met Catherine Zeta-Jones once and the scary thing is that she is not photogenic and by that I mean that she is WAY BETTER LOOKING in person than on film... if you can imagine that.

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!

Speaking of heists, Catherine Zeta-Jones' acting in that movie was a crime as well.

Thank goodness she looked good....

I looked this up yesterday when I saw an article about Gasol for MVP.

But in the Stats area Kobe is leading in more categories.

Kobe is above Pau in the categories of Efficiency, Points + Rebounds + Assists, Assists, FT %, Steals, +/-, Fantasy Rating, and of course Points. He also has more Turnovers than Pau.

Pau is above Kobe in Rebounds, Double-Doubles, FG %, and Blocks. And technically 3 Point %, haha.

Pau is very consistent, but Kobe is still more efficient, according to the NBA's Efficiency stat. If Kobe ends up winning the scoring title by seasons end, and the Lakers are #1 overall, I think Kobe has a good chance to win MVP again.

Ben Taylor,

A man after my own heart!!!

Everything you have stated is 'the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth'.

About time somebody acknowledged PG's prowess as a player and the value he adds to our team. He vindicated the Triangle Offense that most of us question because we lack full understanding, yet he has mastered it in such a brief period.

When MK pulled that trade off with Memphis, I was sorry to see Mark Gasol be part of that trade... it would have been the heist of the Millennium to have kept them both in LA!!! Maybe in the not too far off future???

Kobe Bean is still the Man, and I am solid with our team as it is presently constituted (I'm glad we didn't let anybody else go or brought somebody else into LA) I am confident we can win it all... THIS IS OUR YEAR!!!

GOOOOOOOOLAKERS!!!!!

Pau is the Catalyst from Catalan. That pretty much sums up my opinion.

Pau Gasol is what the Lakers needed: inside presence that could pass out of the post and make plays.

Kobe since Shaq's depature had no inside presence to truly bang inside when the perimeter game is off. Bynum's development helped solve some of those woes but the Celtics back in 2007 of December exposed that in they forced Kobe to play a perimeter oriented game not to mention forcing him to take tough shots while Bynum was neutralized because the passing lanes were closed to him and if he did get the ball he couldn't pass the ball out of the post well enough to make plays and punish the Celtics for double teams.

Pau being with Kobe has flourished and the Lakers as well though I would like to see Bynum return so Gasol can go back to PF and not need to bang with the likes of Tim Duncan and he can give more energy on the offensive end.

Even as PF Pau averaged 17.6ppg, 9rpg, 3.4apg (passing very well), and did it at an outstanding 55% from the field. Heck Tim may have more points and a single rebound more and equal passing to Pau but Pau has a better FG% that Tim only equaled once, his rookie year in the league.

Offensively Pau may be getting better than Tim ever was. Tim though has the edge defensively and intangibles (he won 3 Finals MVP's after all).

Tim may be the best PF of all time and will always be the Big Fundamental. But Pau is our MVP after Kobe.

-KB Blitz

Whoops, scratch that.....

Pau is the Catalyst from Catalunia. Catalan is an adjective.

My bad.

GO LAKERS!


Defense!

Defense!

Defense!

I agree Gasol is great for the Lakers and their offense. My only "problem" is I wish we could see more of Gasol at his nature PF position. It was taking some getting used to with Bynum and him at the lineup at the same time but I feel Gasol is so much more effective as a PF. Especially when he isn't using up energy banging with the other teams center.

Benicio,

Great article, except this part:

"There is no question Bryant is the Lakers best player, but he might not be their most valuable."

Although Pau is definitely are second most valuable player, if you take Kobe off this team I'm positive we would be much worse than if you took Pau off.

Other than that, I agree with all other points.

Now let's go kick some Blazer @$$!!!
GOOOOOOOOO LAKERS!

LG

Jon K,

Just wanted to say that I hope you stick around. You're a fan in the truest sense and a knowledgeable Laker fan. You and I had a couple of spats in the past (the one that comes to mind is the one we had prior to my Gators beating the stuffing out of your Bruins in the National title game. heh, had to get that in there). It's that passion that got us into that argument and that makes you a good read on the blog.

I certainly don't need some convoluted set of statistics to tell me what has been obvious from the day that Pau arrived. Kobe and Pau make each other better and more efficient and as a result the Lakers are a much better team. Pau was not regarded as a franchise player at Memphis and he certainly couldn't carry that franchise by himself. Kobe, for all his greatness, can't carry a team by himself, either. Every championship calibre club needs a quality big man.

Sounds to me like this guy, Ben Taylor, is looking for a way to justify voting for someone other than Kobe for MVP by playing the "Kobe has great teammates" card. It's all good. The Lakers need to concern themselves with being the best TEAM in the Association and bringing the O'Brien back to L.A. That's all that really matters.

Jon K.'s not going anywhere. That's absurd. If Jon K. leaves, I'll drink my entire bottle of dit ja jow, and that will not be pretty.

Pau is a frickin' basketball animal. I love the guy. On the day of the trade, one of my buddies called me up and said these words:

"Who's your least favorite player on the Lakers?"
"Easy. Kwame."
"Who's your favorite player in Memphis?"
"Again, easy. Pau Gasol."
"Good," he said. "They've just traded places."

One of the happiest days of my life. Enough said.

Pau, I'd like to see you and Kobe whup some Blazers tonight. Thanks.

Go Lake Show!

Oops...I forgot that Ben Taylor is Benicio and as such doesn't vote for MVP. But the rest stands.

As much as I hate to, I have to go with common sense here. Kobe is more vital to the success of this team. No Kobe and this team doesn't have the talent to be the FIRST TEAM TO 65 VICTORIES!!!

But, to be mentioned in the same sentence, to have this be a realistic QOTD, is an honor Gasol deserves.

Do we have a name for the tandem? The NATO Bombers???

GOOooooOOOO LAKERS!!!!!!!!!!!!

One piece of evidence AGAINST my backing of Kobe. . .

But first. JON K IS THE GRRROOVIEST AND RULIEST. Anyone who says different can get on a STFU Mamba24 list. A O K in my book. Lot of Love to all!!!!

Yes, remember how LO exploded right after Pau's arrival? He just bloomed in front of us. That may have been a bit of Bynum leaving. But, I'd like to think it was Pau's arrival.

GOOoooOOOOOO LAKERS!!!!

Sure PAU is great, super smart heady player, consistent unlike mental Odom and a team player BUT we will never win the NBA title with him as a center... tooooooooooooo FRAIL.

So Laker fans don't set your self for disappointment and think title is in the bag.

We need a center that can defend and an intimidator in the paint. Not going to sit here and count on Drew until he can stay away from injuries when and if he comes back.

Soothsayer

Hate to get off topic for a second but I need to seetle a debate and hoped anyone here might be able to help...
When they raise Kobe's jersey to retire his number at Staples, do you think they will use 8 or 24 or some sort of hybrid?
FYI, the debate will be decided by a tally of your responses

Jon K,

Come on man! We know you are not leaving..

I just read that other thread, and some people can be so ignorant.

It is completely rediculous that the Lakers have to consult with the chinese government before he goes and makes an IN and Out burger run..Just rediculous.

Don't worry Jon, we all know it sucks..However, it does make life more interesting..I think we are a tad bit spoiled out here in the U.S..lol

I feel similar with the Beckham situation. Why would you sign a 250 million dollar contract to play in the US, but play for another team in Europe? That situation pisses me off. Since day one, he has never given 100% to the Galaxy..He's always going to a different team on his off days.. This shows me, he was never interested in the Galaxy at all..and the Galaxy was stupid enough to buy it.

Yes, the way the chinese government handles certain things sucks..But it's the way they live..and I guess we all have to live with that, if we want them to play over here.

It would be easier to replace most of what Kobe provides, than it would be to replace most of what Gasol provides. High quality shooting guards are easier to find than high-quality centers. (That assumes the presence of Bynum on the IR is not taken into consideration.)

Can someone explain to me why they spell Lakers as L*kers?

I assume its cuz Kobe, Shaq, and Glen Rice made Sabonis cry and made Scottie attack some towels in the hallway in the first back of the back-to-back-to-back.

Just want to make sure the Lakers and that series is still fresh in their collective minds. I started reading NBA blogs and messages boards (MSNBC's board) back then, and the amount of hatred at the expense of all taste and class was surprising.

Typical Blazer fans. They only operate out of anger and depression. I bet they wouldn't know how to feel if they did have a streak of luck for once.

Ben,

Isn't it strange that NOBODY was making the argument that Shaun Marion in Phoenix was as valuable as Steve Nash when he was making his MVP run? Certainly Marion, and Stoudemire were allstars in Phoenix.....but you never heard that. Nor do you hear about Mo Williams being mentioned in Cleveland.......and there is no question Cleveland would not be where they are without Mo.......


In fact you would hear how much Steve Nash and LeBron James "made their teammates better".

Now there appears to be a surrepticious push to elevate Pau Gasol to Kobe Bryant status......albeit ever so subtle.

Ben, I understand that you join the ranks of AK/BK and it is increasingly obvious that you share their reasoning skills (which is very scary) but the audience to whom you pander is emotionally unstable and veil their desire to see Kobe Bryant's amazing skills diminished with an elevation of the borderline All-Star skills of Pau Gasol.

As great as Scottie Pippen was as a player alongside Michael Jordan was his ability even mentioned in the same breath as MJ? Then why insult Kobe with trying to put Gasol in his league?

Pau Gasol is the beneficuary of the greatness of Kobe Bryant.......


Gasol was in Memphis all those years......Did Memphis ever do anything? Now all of a sudden he is the MVP?

Gasol is exactly what we thought he was. A guy that can catch the ball and finish.......the perfect compliment to Kobe..........THAT'S IT!!

It will become increasingly important for Gasol to understand this and not listen to this idiocy being spewed from the blogosphere and the airwaves about his importance.........Pau "stay in your lane" is my advice to you because we already have enough problems with other lakers not knowing their role......

.....more on this subject later

Xodus,

Thanks.

By the way, congratulations to your Florida Gators on that Championship. They outplayed the Bruins that game.
Let's hope that never happens again.

GO BRUINS!

GO LAKERS!

Jon,

If you leave, I am flying out to Cleveland and putting you in an arm bar or leg lock!

Peace.

Oh the irony of this post.


Such an outpour of support for Jon Kav, Maybe he should get that LA gig back he had years ago that allowed him to post 5 times an hour. The posts raged in the 48 loss era.

In the 12 loss era it's all good, especially Pau. Love the stat, but 24 is the main #. The team was comin' on with Andrew too before he went down. Shaq's "one, two punch theory" adds up.

Yeah no question we become Memphis without Kobe. That said, with Pau = Finals. Only math I can understand lol.

Still good read. Wow 71-17!

i really like pau but telling that he is more valuable than Kobe to this team is rubbish.. Pau never is and never will be more valuable to the lakers than Kobe..

LAKER GURU FROM INDIA

K Bros - Steve Mason stole your Every Rose Has Its Thorn idea on 710 about 20 minutes ago. It's not a stretch to think he could've come up with that on his own considering it's a fairly easy reference for the 6 game losing streak up there but it's also not a stretch to think one of their producers might've checked out the blog during the day.

I agree that Pau has been a rock in terms of laying down a foundation of production that is more consistent than what the Lakers have gotten probably from any other position. He's a great match for the personnel and the system. It's a symbiotic relationship. However, I've already taken that for granted. I'm not a PHX fan. I don't care how many Ws get racked up except for when it comes to getting homecourt. I want to see Pau contribute to a Championship. I want to see him do everything in his power to bring home the trophy and there's a lot more to that than what you see in the box score.

Man I loved reading this article. I love the entire team, but I have to admit that Pau is my favorite. His game is sweet:: I love his outside 15 footer, his post-up game, and his free throws aren't too shabby either. He seems like a cool guy, when he played in Utah he playfully shoved the camera people out of his way and seemed pretty funny. So yes, I would have to agree that he is immensely valuable and our lakes would not be half the team they are without him.

Wow I used the word "love" like eighty times in this! GO PAU GO LAKES!

Ben,

Sorry, dude. No disrespect to Pau, but here is a realistic ranking of Lakers players in order of value and importance to the team:

01 - Kobe Bryant
02 - Andrew Bynum
03 - Pau Gasol
04 - Lamar Odom
05 - Derek Fisher
06 - Jordan Farmar
07 - Trevor Ariza
08 - Sasha Vujacic
09 - Luke Walton
10 - Josh Powell
11 - D.J. Mbenga
12 - Shannon Brown
13 – Adam Morrison
14 - Sun Yue

Remove Kobe Bryant from the roster and the Lakers are no longer the best team. Remove Andrew Bynum from the roster and the Lakers might still be the best team.
Remove Pau Gasol from the roster and the Lakers are still the best team.

Like Kobe said, with Andrew in the lineup, the Lakers are a championship caliber lineup. Kobe and Drew without Pau are a better team than Kobe and Pau without Drew.
It’s all about protecting the rim on defense and low post power on offense.

JMNSHBO! DNFTT!

Tom

Ben,

Sorry, dude. No disrespect to Pau, but here is a realistic ranking of Lakers players in order of value and importance to the team:

01 - Kobe Bryant
02 - Andrew Bynum
03 - Pau Gasol
04 - Lamar Odom
05 - Derek Fisher
06 - Jordan Farmar
07 - Trevor Ariza
08 - Sasha Vujacic
09 - Luke Walton
10 - Josh Powell
11 - D.J. Mbenga
12 - Shannon Brown
13 – Adam Morrison
14 - Sun Yue

Remove Kobe Bryant from the roster and the Lakers are no longer the best team. Remove Andrew Bynum from the roster and the Lakers might still be the best team.
Remove Pau Gasol from the roster and the Lakers are still the best team.

Like Kobe said, with Andrew in the lineup, the Lakers are a championship caliber lineup. Kobe and Drew without Pau are a better team than Kobe and Pau without Drew.
It’s all about protecting the rim on defense and low post power on offense.

OR DID YOU FORGET WHAT HAPPENED LAST YEAR WITHOUT DREW?

JMNSHBO! DNFTT!

Tom

Over this dubious stretch of losses at the Rose Garden, there have been numerous streaks that have been stopped. The Lakers have gone in there and had win streaks of 10 and 4 games snapped. They've snapped two 6 and one 5 game losing streak for the Blazers.

So, let's see if the Lakers can stop Portland's streaks of 12 straight Ws at home and 6 straight over the Lakers at home.

btw - Houston currently has a 12 game home win streak coming into Wednesday's match-up.

BUTLER is correct.

Lakers will be eliminated by the # 8 seed.

Most likely Phoenix.


BT,

Any numbers you can come up with (regarding Pau as MVP) are skewed. Why? Because no matter how hard you try to isolate Pau’s effect on winning, the truth is that you have to account for the presence of Kobe on the team. Yeah, it’s true that the Lakers have been winning at a phenomenal rate since Pau came onboard, but that doesn’t mean that he’s more valuable to the Lakers than Kobe. The truth is that you can substitute Pau with a handful of players and you will get the same results. On the other hand, I would argue that there isn’t a single player in the league you can swap out for Kobe and end up with the same results (even if you argue this point, it would only be one or two other players, which is significantly less than Pau’s potential replacements).

It’s like adding a supercharger to a Ferrari. Yeah, the supercharger is going to make the Ferrari go faster, but it’s the fine piece of machinery already in the car that is doing the brunt of the work. Transfer that supercharger from the Ferrari to the Yugo and the stock Ferrari will STILL eat the Yugo for lunch. The key here is having the luxury of the Ferrari in the first place. Pau may be a great player, but he has the luxury of playing with Kobe.

This argument is rather simply, actually. Is it easier to replace Kobe, or Pau? Which team wins more games? The Lakers without Kobe, or a the Lakers without Pau?

Done deal!

LoLo

pfunk36: "Isn't it strange that NOBODY was making the argument that Shaun Marion in Phoenix was as valuable as Steve Nash when he was making his MVP run?"

Actually... From an ESPN article in late 2007:

"Where is the love? The résumé certainly demands it: 18.6 ppg and four All-Star Games in eight seasons. And this season, Marion is the only guy in the top 20 in rebounds (10.0), field goal percentage (52.5), steals (2.0), blocks (1.6), double-doubles (35) and minutes (37.9). “Steve is the MVP of the league,” says Marion, “but I’ve had people tell me I am the MVP of the team.”

I remember there was even a smattering of Marion for MVP talk that year. The "who is more valuable to PHX, Nash or Marion?" was definitely a talking point that season.

Ben Taylor, your second post is WRONG: giving the MVP to someone else than the Mamba? Okay, Gasol is excellent and all you want, but our MVP is our best player :)

Hey Nadya,

You area far cry from Kate's 8.


NADYA SULEMAN {OCTOMOM},

You and Butler are going to be seriously disappointed...I believe Phoenix can get "lucky" and maybe beat the Lakers once or twice because of SHACK. BUT, you are forgetting one important element: The Lakers will have home court advantage. That will doom the Suns in the end, unfortunately.

i wish Laker fans will support Laker players and not "individualized" them. I'm just glad someone finally gave props to Pau. He works hard and is doing good things out there. The record when he plays speaks for itself. He is "almost" the total package. I say almost because he needs to bulk up more so he can whack those players who dare to go to the rim! hehehhehe Go Pau! Go Lakers!

"Like a hand in a glove, Pau's game is tailor-made for the triangle offense."

Shouldn't that be, like glove fitted to hand?

Don't hate me, Ben, it's just the old English teacher/newspaper hack in me peeking through the porn.

Over the objections of the superstitious, I got my tickets and will be making noise!

Where is Tim-4-Sho? Tim, I'll break out the paper cup bullhorn for ya. And hopefully this time I won't almost be mugged by violent, drunken Blazermaniacs.

Go L*kers!

By the way, Jon, I love reading your semi-thought-out posts, even if I am a bit of a communist and you are totally a communistist.

How are the Lakers 71-17 over the past 13 months?

Since Pau's first game as a Laker on 2/5/08, the Lakers finished the season 27-9. In the playoffs, they went 14-7. This season is 50-12.

So, it's actually more like 91-28 over the past thirteen months.

Ex,

I'd say Kobe's contributions would be at least as hard to replicate as Gasol's. Though we're a pretty balanced team Kobe is still the engine to our offense. He's really the only guy who can create a shot for himself and others consistently. And he's the clear go-to guy in the clutch.

bmac,

Depends on how many championships he wins on 24. If it's 2? 8 is going up, if 3, 24 is.

That said if I had a vote I'd pick 8. For 8th wonder of the world!

No question Kobe is MVP over Pau, HOWEVER,..... think about this for a moment.

Look at tonight's game as an example. If Kobe were to miss tonight's game, could we still win? The odds would be against us, but yes, I think we still have a shot. However, take Pau out of tonight's game and what happens? It would take a miracle for us to win because we would have little to no low post game.

#4, CZJ may not have acted wonderfully in that film, but her butt sure acted well when she was practicing going through the tense string that were simulating a lazer security system.

LakerTom,

"Kobe and Drew without Pau are a better team than Kobe and Pau without Drew.
It’s all about protecting the rim on defense and low post power on offense.

OR DID YOU FORGET WHAT HAPPENED LAST YEAR WITHOUT DREW?"

Yes, we made it to the Finals without Drew and were two blown wins away (Games 1 and 4) from winning the whole thing. There really is no legitimate way to argue that this team is better with Kobe and Drew than Kobe and Pau. The facts tell us that we are roughly an .800 team with Kobe and Pau and we were 24-11 before Drew went down last year. And that's before you get to fact that Drew has about 20 all-star caliber games to his name (and I might be generous with that number) while Pau is a two-time all-star who has led his own teams to 50 wins in the past. Drew will be more valuable than Pau one day but not yet.

"I remember there was even a smattering of Marion for MVP talk that year. The "who is more valuable to PHX, Nash or Marion?" was definitely a talking point that season".

lakers_sth

You are similar to the "stat" and "technical" people mentioned in the scriptures. They were characterized as those that would "strain at a gnat and then swallow a camel"

Apparently you missed my point entirely because your quote only confirm my initial comments to the "Benmaster"

Based on your quote the only people talking about Marion for MVP that year was Shawn Marion and you. LOL.......... and since Marion was not allowed to vote for himself that year am I safe in assuming that you gave Marion his only vote that year........ which happened to a 5th place vote....... Garnering him the 11th overall spot?


If that is your point then I can agree with you because that is the amount of votes that Gasol should receive this year for MVP

From the previous (previous previous) post:

Hello? It wasn't the fact that he said "Communism is stupid." (Because China isn't a Communist country, and it would mean he was racist against Cubans). It's because he implied that being polite and diplomatic to China is stupid. Why, Jon K.? Is it because Chinese people are not worth our courtesty? That, right there, is racist.

Get your facts straight, AK.

I would also like to explicitly mention my support of Jon K. He's a very emotional fan with strong opinions. He's got a strange fascination with this jit da gow (sic) stuff, but none of it matters because he's on our side.

He's a Laker fan through and through. And he makes a great contribution to this blog. And he has since my beginning on the blog something like 3 years ago.

Pau's great and making a solid contribution to the Lakers. If the Lakers get the best season record (and it looks pretty good for them to do so), I still think based on the standards for dishing out the MVP that Kobe should get it.

Pau makes the Lakers better, but Kobe, Phil, Tex, and the Triangle make Pau better. I think the triangle may actually stifle Kobe a bit and subdue what is his true nature--basketball asssassin put on this earth to win games and rip out the enemy's heart. Even taken in context I think Kobe is more valuable, but I do think it's worthy of having that conversation.


LakerTom,

I look forward to the time that Bynum makes a similarly strong contribution. With his health issues, he hasn't yet, but I think if he can stay healthy he very likely will.

If you want to annoint Gasol your mvp, fine be my guest ... y'all the same people anxious to call Bynum the new mr franchise ... so #24 is robin to Gasol's batman right? ... LMFAO

AK/BK ... pls just link to garbage like this next time ... jeez u should know better ... let the espns, cnns and even the latimes of the world rock things like this ... but kb24.com ain't Kobe's home ... this blog is ....

Like I ain't even gonna bother debating this ... if u watch the games, u know who refuses to let us lose ... jeez, y'all gonna make me cry ... this is a man that is vying for the title of greatest laker ever ... this is a man that has us believing some day we can simply call him the greatest ... y'all can hate but not in this city, not on this blog ...

F out of here with that crap ... KOBE runs this ... MVP, MVP, MVP, MVP, MVP ... they chant in all the arenas ... y'all need to remember that ... if u should have the audacity to diss him, some city will give him an opportunity to strike back at y'all and u know d mamba don't play

We love you Gasol ... like Kobe said, we got guns now ... but the man we want pulling the trigger has always been and always will be Kobe ... this is his house until the day he retires

Cactus Berry,

I got love for you man. Let's move on...

Folks, I think everyone had a chance to make his/her say yesterday on the comment issue. It's time to move on.

BK

Thank you! I've been waiting for someone to give Pau an MVP mention. I can't believe how everyone is praising his efficiency and impact on the Lakers but haven't once lauded him with the likes of Kobe and LeBron. I'm hoping Kobe gets season MVP and Pau Finals MVP. =)

FROM NEW YORK, NY

BONSOIR GUYS,


PAU IS PAU, SEGUNDO AFTER KOBE.

PREDICTION FOR TONIGHT GAME: WIN

I ASKED THE LAKERS, KOBE, PHIL ON THE CARDS WHAT IS THE RESULT FOR TONIGHT GAME: THE ANSWERS RESPECTIVELY: SUCCESS, LOVE AND CELEBRATION.

THE 6 GAMES LOSING STREAK AT THE GARDEN WILL BE ENDED. OUR #7 IS POSITIVE FOR TONIGHT


LET'S OUR LOVE FLOWING IN THE HEART OF OUR TEAM TO GIVE THEM SOME ENERGY.


LOVE TO ALL


SHEKOBE

Wait ben taylor is the dude that does some of the live blog comments? ... the intern wrote this crap? ... and AK/BK approved it? ... urgh, wow talk about stabbing us in the back, wtf did we do to deserve this?

Pfunk36 ... your post was music to my ears yo ...

Lakertom ... good to see u're real enuff to make kobe #1 on ya list, we all know da beast is where ya heart is at ...

Bottom line is that the Lakers need all the bullets in their gun to win it all. We need Drew, Pau, Kobe, Fish, Lamar and everybody else on the team to be able to contribute when called upon. That's what it is going to take.

GO LAKERS!!!

Benjamin, that was my favorite part of the movie.

it's as simple as without kobe, pau wouldn't be valuable.

pau has helped this team tremendously, there's no doubt about it, but kobe has a lot to do with that.

kobe and pau make the team, kobe would survive without pau(of course with andrew in the line up) i don't think pau or the lakers would survive without kobe.

kobe's their engine, the driver of this team.

How are the Lakers 71-17 over the past 13 months?

Since Pau's first game as a Laker on 2/5/08, the Lakers finished the season 27-9. In the playoffs, they went 14-7. This season is 50-12.

So, it's actually more like 91-28 over the past thirteen months.

Posted by: J. Swett | March 09, 2009 at 03:02 PM

Pau was injured in March of last year and missed several games. I think Ben subtracted those games where Pau did not play to arrive at the 71-17 count.

lol @ Pau being more "valuable".

Never mind.

The post is just meant to stir debate and keep readership alive.

Pau is a beast.

But be a man.

And don't ever bring Kobe into the discussion unless you're talking about Top 10 guys.

Loser.

pfunk - I did say "smattering". The guy who wrote the article was singing Marion's praises. Maybe my memory is faulty but I remember Marion getting a lot of attention for the way he stepped up in Stoudemire's absence. Perhaps some of it was fueled by Shawn's discontent and thinking he was underappreciated there. If you don't remember anyone talking about it then we just remember that period differently. The fact that he received a vote during the year that you mentioned meant that the conversation was going on.

btw - The reason I remember all that talk was b/c I thought it was a joke. I personally think Marion is horrible.

NO WAY in hell is Pau more deserving of MVP over Kobe. NOT a diss to Pau - he is an integral, vital part of our team - but c'mon people - are you all tripping????

You mean to tell me when the game is on the line you'd rather have the ball in Pau's hands as the FIRST option??

You see more fire and determination, more "I refuse to lose" attitude from Pau than Kobe??

HAHAHAHA - this blog goes crazy when there's too many days off between games.

GO LAKERS!!!

Ok, ok I agree that Kobe is way more valuable than Pau (see my previous post) but its not like Benicio was tryin to insult kobe or anything.

No need to get so defensive. I think the main point of the article was just to point out Pau's vital importance to this team.

Kobe's more valuable but Pau's number 2.

LG

pfunk – In 2004 they won 50 games in Memphis. In 2005 45 wins and the playoffs, and in 2006 49 wins and the playoffs. It's not as if they did nothing. The Lakers didn't win a playoff series post-Shaq until last year, when Gasol arrived.

LakerTom – If you remove Pau Gasol from the roster, the Lakers aren't even close to the best team in the league. All previous evidence suggests this.

And as Xodus (edited) points out, last year the team was two wins from the title without Drew after not winning a playoff series for three years.

J. Swett – They are 71-17 in regular season games with Gasol.


BT

Cactus Berry,
"Is it because Chinese people are not worth our courtesty? That, right there, is racist. "

Statements like that, where you make a wild leap from one thing to another with no associated evidence, make it next to impossible to have real discussions about racism.

The interesting thing about the "controversy" this article is generating is that there isn't a lot of talk about why some people think Pau's contributions differ from Kobe's. Putting stats aside, what I've seen Pau do is provide a lot of the scoring during the early and middle parts of the game. As a result, he's been effective at keeping the Lakers in a lot of games - within striking distance. He hasn't allowed the Lakers offense to go cold for too long. Makes sense considering his mid-range J has been reliable and he's been able to convert at a high rate around the basket.

That's what I saw earlier in the year. Lately, I think this has dropped off a bit due to Pau having to carry heavier minutes in Drew's absence.

To me, that's a much different contribution than what Kobe provides. Yes, there have been times when Kobe has picked his spots and scored more efficiently. However, I think he's turned it on in situations that have more impact - i.e. stopping an opponent's run, overcoming large deficits, taking the game over, being clutch down the stretch.

If you had to simplify it, I'd say Pau's value has been in keeping the Lakers offense consistent while Kobe's value has been more towards actually winning the games.

justanothermambafan,

"You mean to tell me when the game is on the line you'd rather have the ball in Pau's hands as the FIRST option??"

Actually, sometimes I would..I don't agree with Kobe jacking up off balance 3s with 40 seconds left and they are down by 3. Kobe cannot always be the "savior" and he has that attitude too much..I say he's cost the Lakers at least 3 or 4 games this year by forcing shots instead of going for the easy 2 to someone else.

Pao as an option at the end of the game is not bad! It's definitely a higher percentage shot as opposed to what Kobe sometimes throws up there.

Kobe is still more skillful, but come on! He thinks he is the ONLY option at the end of a close game.


Xodus,
I agree; I don't think that Gasol is the Lakers MVP. But I didn't say "replicate", I said "get close to." Kobe is clearly a better player than Gasol, but there are more shooting guards closer to Kobe than there are centers closer to Gasol.

Ben,
Just a friendly FYI: Xodus gets really PO'd when you spell his name exodus.

Y all must of forgot about the bobcats game when Kobe foul out! HELLO!

Ben,

You have to factor in the improvement of the other players and the team as a whole..The whole team has gotten better during that span of time.

Pao is doing so well because the team concentrates on Kobe..They help each other..The game is now easy because the teams have to worry about both guys at the same time..The Lakers needed another post presence..That is why they are much improved..

Now here's a funny one from Suns coach Alvin Gentry,

Shaq hasn't gone after his own coach yet, Alvin Gentry, who offered when watching some old Shaq footage before the Suns lost to the Spurs Sunday: "It looks like the new Shaq ate that Shaq."

Wow, "The Big Fat Boy"

I love Pau's game.

I remember when I found out about the trade. I was at work, holding on the phone for a colleague and thought "I'll go to ESPN while I wait." When I got there and saw the trade I inhaled so fast I choked. Turning around I smacked my buddy (because by this time the person had come back on the line and was saying "hello? Hello? HELLO?" and I had to tell them I'd call them back. It was a day of rejoicing, let me tell you! We couldn't believe it!

Someone hater said after Pau's first game (the double-double game) "That's the first and last time you'll see those kinds of numbers." WRONG!

Pau has been superb this year. I think Kobe's been good for his macho side, and Pau has manned up a bit. He's playing great! Can't wait to see them smack the crap out of Portland tonight!


Kobe's a #1. #1s can only be replaced by other #1s. They carry teams. They take over when needed.

Pau's a legit #2 in a grand tradition of #2s.

Pau needs a Kobe. Kobe only needs a #2. Legit #2's are just a bit easier to come by.

Lolo – You make a fine point – obviously players complement each other. The point is you can't substitute Pau with many players and get the same results. You can't even substitute Pau with Bynum and get the same results. If he were on another team, I'd agree with you, but Gasol excels in the triangle the same way Nash excels in the SSOL offense. Who would you replace him with that would make the Lakers an .800 team w/out Andrew Bynum?

Ben,

>>> LakerTom – If you remove Pau Gasol from the roster, the Lakers aren't even
>>> close to the best team in the league. All previous evidence suggests this.

If you had to choose to remove Drew or Pau from the Lakers roster, the obvious answer would be to remove Pau because the Lakers would still have a dominant team without him, especially on defense. You can fill your posts with hundreds of stats and surmises, but that is all just more bull crap. All you have to do is watch the Lakers porous defense with Pau at center. Dunk, layup, dunk, layup, dunk. That is Pau Gasol on defense.

Understand, I love Pau and think he is the best power forward in the game but he is no center and the Lakers are a much stronger team defensively with Drew manning the post. Furthermore, I think the power offensive game that Drew displayed before getting injured show that he will soon eclipse Pau as a center even on offense. He is a power player that a finesse team like the Lakers desperately need.

Bottom line, a great center is much more valuable commodity than a great power forward. If you do not understand that, then there is no point in arguing with you. Your long post completely ignored Drew in your attempt to create controversy between Kobe and Pau. That is not the issue. The issue is who is the better center and defender, which is DREW. Just watch: Dunk, layup, dunk, layup, dunk. That is Pau Gasol on defense.

Kobe, Drew, and Pau. In that order. Especially if you want to win the championship and start a dynasty. You can obviously point out that Drew is still only 21-years old and has a long way to go to have the experience that Pau has. I would in turn point out that Drew’s value is even greater because he is so young and hopefully has such a long career to go.

JMNSHBO! DNFTT!

Tom

Cactus berry, and anyone else offended by Jon K....
you are a moron.

Jon, keep it up. All of us sane readers it was obviously not racist.

To the morons: keep it up, this place wouldn't be half as entertaining without you.

"pfunk – In 2004 they won 50 games in Memphis. In 2005 45 wins and the playoffs, and in 2006 49 wins and the playoffs. It's not as if they did nothing. The Lakers didn't win a playoff series post-Shaq until last year, when Gasol arrived."

Ben,

Are you saying they won 50 games because of a second year player named Pau Gasol? That year let's take a look at some of the guys on that roster.

Shane Battier, James Posey, Mike Miller, Stromile Swift, Earl Watson,Bonzi Wells, Jason (white chocolate) Williams, Dahntay Jones, and Wesley Person.

With this talent surrounding Gasol the MOST wins they could muster was 50 and then exited quickly under a wilting Gasol in the first round of the playoffs. Compare that to Kobe's talent in 06" when he led a bunch of scrubs to 45 wins and a rebound away from the 2nd round

Luke Walton, Smush Parker, Devean George, Slava Medvedenko, Kwame Brown , Chris Mihm........you get the picture


Ben when you are a stat guy sometimes you miss the importance of actually watching the game. I noticed you left out the Memphis Grizzlies of 06-07 a season in Which Gasol started 59 games and the teams record was 22 wins and 60 losses

Was Gasol responsible for that season as well?


Pfunk and LakerTom

Well done today gents. Everything I'd like to have said--you have. So preach on brother men, preach on.

Taliq/justa – I'm not anointing Gasol MVP of the league. I'm pointing out that he seems to be as valuable as Bryant to this team. I even explicitly stated that Bryant is clearly the better player...value and skill are not the same.

Lakofan – I'm not so sure. The Lakers have a lot of weapons and the triangle can be run through Pau.

Zen – Why do I have to factor in the improvement of the other players when it comes to Gasol's impact (Indeed, I did mention the growth of other players), but you don't have to do the same thing with Kobe?

The Lakers won 34, 45, and 42 games from 05-07. Fisher comes back, Ariza is brought in and Farmar and Bynum improve tremendously. They went from roughly .500 to .680. But with Gasol (and no Bynum) and the same roster they are over .800.

LakerTom,
"If you had to choose to remove Drew or Pau from the Lakers roster, the obvious answer would be to remove Pau because the Lakers would still have a dominant team without him, especially on defense"

Not until Bynum can show some durability.

When Pau Gasol was in Memphis they didn't win a single playoff game! I still can't figure out why he player of the month?

pfunk – No I'm not saying they won 50 games solely because of Pau Gasol, that would be a little silly. He was obviously a major contributor on all of those teams, and that was your question. What did he do in Memphis? To act like he did nothing and was a nobody before joining the Lakers is simply disingenuous.

As for the 07 team, you're arguing against yourself. He was injured and the team went in the tubes.

LakerTom,

Actually, the numbers that matter are that we're 71-17 (with a Finals appearance) all we've seen Drew do as a No 1 post option is see the Lakers go 24-11 and Drew go down with a serious knee injury (and another one this season).

The reality is with Drew we were ONE OF the league's championship contenders, with Pau we were the second-best team in the league (not to mention big wins over the Cavs and Celts this season). There are really no facts you can use to back up your claims other than rhetoric. Which is fine I suppose since you do end each of your posts with this is JMNSHBO.

Ben,

You make some excellent points (and BTW, I thought your original post was very well written with clear arguments for something that most would consider blasphemy). But let me ask you your own question;

Who would you replace [Kobe] with that would make the Lakers an .800 team w/out Andrew Bynum?

I disagree with your statement (in principle) that you can't replace Pau with many players and get the same result. As I stated before, it's easier to replace Pau than it is Kobe. Yeah, there are only a handful of players in the league that could take Pau's place, but relatively speaking, it's much easier to replace a #2 (even if it is a big man) than it is to replace a player of Kobe's caliber. I don’t think it’s possible, but I’ll give you Lebron, and maybe even Wade. But then who (at an .800 clip)? Iverson? Please. Anthony? Yeah right. Roy? Solid, but not elite.

How about replacing Pau with… How does Duncan sound? How about Ming (who I think would do great in the triangle). Howard? Garnet? I think I have a better chance of hitting an .800 clip with Kobe and anyone of these players (I can name a few more) than you do with even Lebron or Wade paired with Pau.

Then there’s that one Cactus guy down in Phoenix. I read somewhere that he did rather well playing in the triangle once upon a time. I think he and Kobe (with this current team) have a chance at the .800 mark. That said, as great as Pau is now, he’s no Shaq in his prime. The difference is that Kobe in his current prime IS all that, and you can’t replace that if you want an .800 clip.

LoLo

Kobe might not win the MVP but he'll definetly win the finals mvp

Two opposing theories on Ben's 71-17:

(a) Although LA has gone 91-28 since 2/5/08 when Pau was acquired, Pau was injured for some games, so LA was actually 71-17 in the games that Pau actually played; and

(b) Ben's 71-17 doesn't include LA's playoff record.

The facts:

(1) LA is 50-12 this season.

(2) LA finished last season 27-9 since 2/5/08 when Pau played his first game as a Laker.

(3) LA went 27-9 in the playoffs last year.

(4) Pau missed 9 games with the Lakers last season, and the Lakers went 5-4 during that period.

Both (a) and (b) are incorrect but close when used together, because you have to use both of those qualifiers in conjunction just to arrive at something close to 71-17; when you subtract the 5-4 record from last season's finish of 27-9, you get 22-5 plus this season's 50-12 for a total of 72-17.

So Ben's computation of the Lakers' past thirteen months is only off by one, it is still a bit misleading in that he never cites the (a) and (b) qualifications.

Ben,
Well... nothing like going out on a limb, right? Personally, I'm of the mind that Kobe's the most valuable player in the game today. I'm a little curious, if yo're saying Pau's more valuable to the Lakers than Kobe... where would you rank him amongst all NBA players?

J. Swett - it's not off. Lakers were 22-5 last year with Gasol and are 49-12 this year. 71-17. Just check his game log.

BT

dave m - I never said he was the MVP, just that he appears to be, at least, about as valuable as Bryant to this team. I think Gasol is a top-20 player, maybe top-15.

Lolo - These are extremely hypothetical. The "trade x for y" discussion is complicated because it's difficult to see how players fit in different systems and interact with different teammates, but I'll play along.

You've come up with the best young center in the game (Howard), a HOFer (Garnett), one of the greatest players ever (Duncan) and a reach in Yao Ming. Please spare me Shaq - that's an even bigger stretch.

Outside of Wade or James, I don't think anyone gets them to the same win total as Bryant. Those guys are just on a different level (apologies to Pierce, a healthy Manu, Granger, Joe Johnson, etc.)

And doesn't that really make my point? Gasol fits so well with the Lakers that you have to argue that it would take the very best at his position to replace him in order to maintain their .800 pace.

BT

BT -

Maybe you can make that a little clearer next time by actually stating these qualifications instead of simply lumping everything under the huge umbrella of "since joining the team thirteen months ago . . . the Lakers are an astounding 71-17."

It's misleading at best.


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