The most important focus of Pau Gasol’s offseason was resting his body after three straight years of split duty between the Lakers and Spanish National Team. As he reported after Sunday’s practice, the 7-footer is certainly noticing the results.
“I feel good about how fresh I am and how my body’s feeling, how my mind’s feeling,” he explained. “I’m coming in with a lot of energy and am just ready to go to work. I feel a lot different than I did last year, (when) I came in a little worn out.”
That because he was busy winning a European title for his Spaniards as MVP of the tournament, and that just weeks after helping the Lakers to the 2008 Finals win over Orlando.
And while he didn’t play any organized basketball throughout the summer, opting to do some work on his own, there was one person that got him to compete on a basketball floor: his brother, Grizzlies center Marc.
“The last three days before I flew here we played 1-on-1,” said Gasol. “That’s all he wants to do … I hadn’t played any all summer, so he was excited.”
And how did big brother do?
“I won,” said Pau, the one All-Star out of the league’s best brother tandem. “I can say that I won without lying.”
The two played in the gym of Gasol’s old team, F.C. Barcelona, which allowed them to use the facilities. Pau said that Marc’s style is to bang him down in the post, and while it gets pretty physical, things never go too far.
“No fights, but he gets frustrated,” said Pau. “We compete hard against each other, and it’s a lot of fun … (some) pushing and shoving. We don’t trash talk much, we just try to kick (each other’s butt).”
Now, however, Marc’s back in Memphis, and Pau’s going up instead against second round pick Derrick Caracter, free agent signing Theo Ratliff and training camp signing Andrew Naymick.
Tough luck for those guys.