Pau Gasol is a better basketball player than his statistics, impressive as they are, show.
When one is competing with talents like Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom, certain stat production – namely scoring, field goal attempts and rebounds – are going to take a hit. On the other hand, assists and field goal percentage can receive a boost, all things we saw with the Spaniard’s statistical 2009-10.
Here’s how Gasol’s regular and postseason numbers compared with some of the league’s other elite bigs, whose teams made the playoffs with the exception of Chris Bosh and Andrew Bogut:
|Regular Season Numbers||Points||Rebounds||Assists||Blocks||FG%|
*Team did not make playoffs
**Due to injury
By these measures, it’s pretty clear that Gasol belongs at the forefront of the argument for the NBA’s best all-around big man* from 2009-10, particularly in the playoffs.
Numbers, however, never tell the whole story. For example, Garnett’s or especially Howard’s defensive impact can’t be shown statistically; Duncan’s intangibles and Gasol’s mastery of Phil Jackson’s offense help team flow immeasurably; Nowitzki’s or Bosh’s game is often on the perimeter, which can be easier on a defense than a low-post threat;
But the statistics also don’t lie.
For the regular season, Gasol tied for fifth in points with the other elite bigs, ranked second in rebounding and assists, came in third in blocks and fifth in field goal percentage.
In the playoffs, the three-time All-Star ranked third in scoring, tied for second on the glass, came in second with blocked shots, third in field goal percentage and led all bigs in assists.
And his team, of course, won the championship.
*We considered including a few other players like Chris Kaman and Zach Randolph (whose teams didn’t make the playoffs), David Lee (team missed playoffs, doesn’t spend as much time on the block), but ultimately settled on the 10 players listed.