Marc Gasol isn’t going to be a superstar for the Lakers, but he could be crucial to their hopes of winning another NBA title.
The presence of LeBron James and Anthony Davis means the Lakers don’t have to worry about adding star power for the foreseeable future. Instead, their front office can focus their attention on building around their pair of superstars. Signing Marc Gasol in free agency could be a masterstroke for the Lakers heading into the 2020-21 season.
According to Shams Charania, the appeal of living in Los Angeles and playing for a legitimate title contender are key factors in Gasol’s interest in signing with the Lakers. The team isn’t blessed with a ton of options in terms of cap room, but money won’t be the driving factor in Gasol’s decision.
If the Lakers successfully convince Gasol they have a real plan for him to thrive in Los Angeles then they have an excellent chance to sign him. Here are the top three reasons why that signing could fit this team like a glove.
3. He completes a deep frontcourt
One of the biggest threats to any NBA team’s success next season is potentially relying on a thin roster. The Lakers will need to give their stars plenty of rest to make sure they’re fresh for what they hope will be another long playoff run. The truncated nature of next season’s schedule will make that particularly challenging.
Inking Gasol gives the Lakers great depth at center. Montrezl Harrell will presumably be the starter, but he’s not well-suited to play 30+ minutes per night. Gasol can comfortably give this team 20 minutes off the bench for long stretches of the season. Splitting that workload at the center position during the regular season should pay big dividends for the Lakers when the postseason rolls around.
2. Gasol is an elite passer
Good teams can never have enough good passers on the floor during crunch time. James gives the Lakers one of the game’s all-time best in that category. Gasol can give Los Angeles a frontcourt player capable of making great passes from either the low or high-post.
That ability can help boost both the Lakers’ starting five and bench units. Whenever Frank Vogel feels like his offense is getting bogged down, he can turn to Gasol to unlock his half-court attack. The Spanish big man isn’t going to notch a ton of double-digit assist games, but his ability to move the ball will help keep his offense on track.
1. It gives the Lakers a standout post defender
Defensive versatility will be key if this team is going to capture another NBA title. Harrell is a very mobile center, but he’s not big or strong enough to hold up against elite post players on the defensive end of the floor.
In particular, that makes him a poor matchup against someone like Nikola Jokic in a crucial Western Conference playoff series. Gasol, in sharp contrast, is still one of the league’s best defenders on the low block. He might struggle to make plays in space at this stage of his career, but he won’t be bullied in the post.
Giving the Lakers a totally different option at center should be Gasol’s biggest contribution to the storied franchise. That flexibility could be enough to bring another title to LA.