The trade deadline quickly approached and the Memphis Grizzlies voiced their hopes of trading Marc Gasol. Wednesday afternoon those hopes became reality as they sent Gasol to the Toronto Raptors for Jonas Valanciunas, Delon Wright, C.J. Miles and a 2024 second round pick. Most didn’t see a destination for both Marc Gasol and Mike Conley, however Thursday afternoon proved many wrong on that front.
The 34-year-old Spaniard is in his eleventh NBA season despite being drafted twelve years ago. All of those seasons have been accrued with the Memphis Grizzlies. He managed to rack up three All-Star appearances (’12,’15,’17), one defensive player of the year (2012) and three appearances on All NBA teams. Gasol quickly made his presence felt in Memphis by earning All Rookie second team honors by averaging 11.9 points, and 7.4 rebounds per game as a rookie, all while shooting 53 percent which was a franchise record by a rookie.
Gasol followed that by shooting a career best 58 percent from the field in his second season and improving his all around game in both scoring and rebounding averages. His first All-Star appearance came in the 2011-12 season. He then proceeded to win the defensive player of the year award in the 12-13 season. He was one of six players to average over a block and a steal per game. His Grizzlies allowed a league low 88.7 points per game that season. He showed improved value through statistics. Memphis was +7.5 on average when he was on the court versus an -3.9 when he was off.
During his 15-16 season, he was the only player to score 1,300, grab 600 rebound, and have 300 assists or more. He scored over 30 five times that season and averaged 17.4 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists. He proceeded to earn a five-year, $110 million contract following his stellar season on the court. In his NBA career he has never averaged under 11 points per game in a season. His career points per game resides at 15.7 and he is a career 34 percent three point shooter. He has grown to shoot more in volume from beyond the arc in the last couple seasons as the NBA has shaded that way in recent memory.
A key move for the Raptors:
The Toronto Raptors were looking to make a splash before the Trade deadline. One of the least productive positions for them has been the center positions being that Valanciunas has been hurt for a fair amount of the season. The position that the Raptors are now put into is that they are currently starting Pascal Siakham. Because Valanciunas is hurt, the Raptors have been mixing different lineups to try and find what’s working. They haven’t played with a legitimate center since he was healthy. Now they have a traditional center and a decision to make on who they want to bring off the bench.
The Good and The Bad:
Gasol has stayed through thick and thin. He has improved into the All-Star he is today and even when Memphis wasn’t always a front-runner in the Western Conference, never said anything negative or demanded a trade. In today’s NBA, having a superstar like that is boarder-line unheard of. Gasol helped build the Memphis Grizzlies into a very solid team over his NBA years, with this trade, Memphis looks to move into a new era of Grizzlies basketball and away from the best player in their recent history.
Marc Gasol will now go from the middle of the pack with the Memphis Grizzlies to title contender with the Toronto Raptors. He joins a very good defensive team and a team on offense that is much improved over the grizzlie team that he leaves behind. He has the ability to play with a few former All-Stars and also have a little less of the offensive pressure taken off of him. Gasol will go down as one of the most important and reliable grizzlies in a long time. He will be missed in Memphis and he has had a stellar career to date in the NBA.
Featured image from USA Today.
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