Lakers Vs. Mavericks: Pau Gasol Loses His Superstar Reputation In A Big Way

The Los Angeles Lakers were swept out of the 2011 NBA Playoffs, and reasons number 1-3 for that happening have to do with Pau Gasol. The Lakers' superstar (because that is how good he was coming into the playoffs) was horrendous all postseason, and while I despite the pejorative nature of the term, you can't really describe his play other than to say it was soft. In the Mavericks' series in particular, he froze at the thought of contact and also got lit up by Dirk Nowitzki

A year ago, we thought Gasol shed the "soft" label by absolutely dominating the paint in Game 7 against the Celtics. In light of that, how can we make sense of what happened this year? One way is to suggest this is who Gasol is all along and that everything that happened last year was a lie. That's a little silly to me -- are we really going to pretend the last two years didn't happen? What's so contradictory about saying a player played tough one year and soft the next? It just means the man is more complicated than we thought.

But of course, it's hard to come up with another explanation. Truth be told, Gasol seemed a bit off all year, at least in terms of his mentality. Maybe he saw the emergence of Andrew Bynum as a threat, or, more fundamentally, maybe he got caught trying too hard to be a perimeter player to make life easier for him. Maybe there's some story that will come out later that caused Gasol to get into a funk. Either way, I don't think it's contradictory to suggest that a) Gasol was the primary reason the Lakers got swept, and b) he is not a career failure because of it. Something had to be going on.

Maybe Snoop Dogg is right.

Lakers need 2 bench gasol he havn girl problems n he playn like a biitch. Trade dat punk n get d howard to help bynum n odom soft ass sucka!less than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry® Favorite Retweet Reply

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