Gasol Poised for a Major Comeback
"It's certainly not great for Marc and his family. I know he's disappointed," former Grizzlies head coach Dave Joerger told reporters following Marc Gasol’s season ending injury.
After that game, you could feel that the vibe around the city was amiss. Marc Gasol was out the remainder of the season and those words would haunt Grizzlies fans for the rest of the year.
Gasol was having a great season prior to going down. He was averaging 16 ppg ,7 rpg. 3.8 apg, while being the defensive anchor. What’s really interesting, is the impact that Gasol had on both ends of the floor. While he was out, it put immense pressure on Zach Randolph and Mike Conley to lead the Grizzlies on both ends. Especially, offensively, it led to Conley having to take on more playmaking duties and Randolph having to put up more points down low. Then throw in some more injuries and the Grizzlies had to play at a faster pace and rely on fastbreak points. The Grizz aren’t known for playing at an up tempo pace, which as a result led to them not scoring a lot of points. In the Western Conference, no matter how good you are on defense, like the Grizzlies, you have to put points up against the Thunder, Clippers, Warriors, and Spurs.
Luckily for the Grizzlies, they managed to add Chandler Parsons and new head coach David Fizdale. Parsons can help take the load off Gasol by scoring the ball and also helping out defensively. Parsons is a versatile scorer, who is capable of beating you from inside or out. At the very least, it gives Gasol someone to kick it out to for an open three.
Fizdale, former Miami Heat assistant coach, brings championship experience to the team, and has great experience with bigs. Fizdale, who was with the Heat for eight years, has worked with Chris Bosh, Hassan Whiteside, Udonis Haslem and more. Not saying that Gasol needs it, but Fizdale can help him polish his game.
On the defensive end, the Grizzlies weren’t bothered as much by Gasol’s injury. They held opponents to 36% shooting from the field and showed that they weren’t afraid of opponents. But still, getting back a former Defensive Player of the Year never hurt anyone.
"I'm really well and looking forward to starting (the season). I miss the competition, playing and enjoying basketball,” Gasol told Jorge Sierra of HoopsHype.
As you can see, Gasol is anxious to get back on the court and compete.
Gasol’s impact was missed greatly last season. With him coming back 100% and the Grizzlies keeping Mike Conley and adding Chandler Parsons, the team should get an extra boost in the win column. The Grizz have put themselves in a position to make some serious noise in the West.