In his second year with the San Antonio Spurs, center Pau Gasol carved out a role as a rebounding stalwart and an unselfish distributor.
In his 17th NBA season, Pau Gasol was a stabilizing force for the San Antonio Spurs during a season that was plagued with uncertainty and inconsistency. The Spanish veteran adopted more of playmaking role this past season as Gregg Popovich was forced to dabble with a myriad of different lineups with Tony Parker, Kawhi Leonard, and Rudy Gay all missing chunks of time during the regular season. While Gasol was not the offensive force he used to be, the 37-year-old contributed valuable minutes whenever he was on the court and served as a mentor to several of the younger players on the squad.
In 77 games of action, Gasol averaged 10.1 points per game despite a career-low 45.8 percent shooting from the floor, while pulling down 8.0 rebounds per game and dishing out 3.1 assists per game. Gasol embraced his designation as a role player and was an integral piece of the rebounding efforts on the defensive glass. Gasol, ever the Renaissance man, adopted a do-it-all mentality as the season wore on, chipping in statistically in almost every category.
Gasol was second on the team in rebounds (619), only 16 rebounds shy of LaMarcus Aldridge’s total (635). Pau was also the team leader in assists, dishing out 238 dimes over the course of the season, the fifth-highest assist output of his career and his most since his 2010-2011 campaign with the Los Angeles Lakers (273). Gasol was also an active rim-protector, racking up 79 blocks on the season, just behind Danny Green (80) and Aldridge (90).
While Gasol’s All-Star days may be behind him, Pau still showed flashes of brilliance throughout the year, demonstrating his basketball acumen and versatile skill set that has aged like fine wine. On December 23, 2017, at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, Gasol notched his 10th career triple-double. The big man filled the stat sheet, scoring 14 points, reeling in 11 rebounds and getting 10 assists in a win against the Sacramento Kings.
Pau seems to have settled in nicely in the Alamo City and will look to build on last season’s performance as he enters his 18th NBA season and his third with the Silver and Black.