The Spanish Acquisiton
Posted by Erik on February 2, 2008
The first of many blockbuster deals that are expected to take place before the trade deadline has finally come to fruition. It appears that the Los Angeles Lakers have struck gold, Spanish Gold, in the form of Pau Gasol! In one of the most brilliant moves this franchise has made since their acquisition of Kobe Bryant to pair him off with Shaq, the Lakers have snagged Pau Gasol from the Memphis Grizzlies for Kwame Brown – letting go of this liability is almost as great as the actual acquisition – and Javaris Crittenton, plus 2 future first round picks. Well in fairness to the Grizzlies this is a cap space feeing move as they’re most likely going to make more moves in the future to rebuild around Rudy Gay.
Let me say that I feel the Lakers got away with highway robbery! Uh, getting something for nothing seems like it to me… I suppose that the Grizzlies are content to build around their new, recently blossomed centerpiece in Rudy Gay… because I, somehow, doubt Kwame Brown will suddenly make a miraculous turnaround in terms of both on-the-court and fantasy impact. On the other hand, the Lakers have put together another inside-outside, Dynamic Duo. You can’t help but compare it to LA’s former Center-Guard combo of Kobe and Shaq. But I feel it’s bordering on an apples and oranges comparison as Pau and the Diesel, aside from being both C eligible players, are very different and so Pau will most likely be interacting and complementing Kobe in a different way as well. Shaq, back in the day, was an “unstoppable” powerhouse in the paint, while Pau carries a more fluid, Euro-style, of offensive game. What will also be interesting to observe is how Laker Coach, Phil Jackson’s coaching will improve Pau Gasol’s game. We can remember how much influence he had in providing focus to the “Big Aristotle”, leading to their championship run.
I’m sure news of this trade is burning through the net, well at least in basketball and fantasy basketball circles, as I write this up, So let’s head straight into the Fantasy Meat (or Impact) of the consummated deal.
Pau Gasol – I think it’s more than safe to have the reasonable expectation for Pau to finally come up with his anticipated consistent 20-10-2 performance from the projections before this season began. This catapults his currently slumping fantasy value – due to injury and overall below par performance to date. It may take some time for him to learn and master the Laker triangle offense so don’t expect him to go crazy and blow-up statwise right away. I’d like to see his assists to hit the 4+ mark as he has a very competent assist finisher in Kobe. What will improve his performance even more is the eventual return to action of the Lakers’ young phenom-in-the-making, Andrew Bynum; as Pau can slide into the 4 slot and better dominate his matchups.
Kobe Bryant – What can Kobe owners expect as a result of the deal? Well it’s hard to expect more from this “Mr. do-it-all” to actually produce more in terms of Fantasy contributions, but I feel there will be some improvement nonetheless. It will simply boil down to a matter of morale, “A happy Kobe = a more productive Kobe!”. He finally got the “HELP” he’s been pining for and should be inspired and motivated to take the team far into the playoffs, even if it means going nuts and taking over games just to make sure they get there.
Lamar Odom – There will now be less pressure on Lamar to score, so he can now allow his surgically repaired shoulder to have some breathing room to heal better. I expect his current 13.2 PPG and 9.5 RPG to still hover in those same regions as his 2.9 APG should begin to hit the 3.5-4 clip as Pau acclimates to the triangle offense. What may dip, however is his 46.3 FG% as he may be tempted to take more outside shots, especially once both Bynum and Gasol fill up the paint.
Andrew Bynum – We’ll really have to wait and see as he recovers from his injury and works his way back in the rotation. I don’t expect significant impact on Andrew’s numbers for the season due to the length of his time away due to injury. What will more interesting will be the expectations of what he will be producing next season as he improves further while surrounded by so much talent and good coaching on his team.
Kwame Brown – Who cares? Well there may or may not be marginal improvement in terms of his fantasy contributions – Uh, what fantasy contributions? Ok, I’ll stop now this is just being mean. Since I have nothing nice to say, I might as well not say anything at all. Ok wait, just this one: What the hell were the Grizzlies thinking in taking this guy? Management has really headed south since Jerry West left the franchise… between Kwame and Darko the Grizzlies now have the biggest collection of highest picked underachieving big men in the league – not exactly something I’d be proud of if I were Grizzly ownership. Oh well… Ok, I’ll shut up now. – I don’t want to get spammed with Grizzly fan (are there going to be any left?) hate mail.
Fantasy Impact Rating: 8.5-9 of 10 – any trade that affects at least two Tier 1 guys deserves this rating.