Kobe Bryant feels that he stood up for Pau Gasol and somehow the 7 foot center did not deliver up to what was expected in the conference semifinals against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Is this fair?
Let us look at some statistics. Like they say. There are lies, damned lies and statistics. In Game 5, Gasol was in the game for 39 minutes with 4 of 10 shooting from the field and 10 points. Kobe was simply stating that Gasol is not producing to the level that he is capable of.
Gasol was also passing up a lot of shots and there were a lot of unnecessary passes back to Bryant too. I understand that Bryant hasn’t been at his best either with the Black Mamba being widely criticized for the Lakers second round exit in the NBA playoffs. But it is Kobe’s team and they don’t have Shaq anymore to give the Black Mamba heat.
No one really wants to speak up against Bryant right now and this is going to be an issue long term. There is no Phil Jackson on the sideline and as for Gasol, you can forget about him calling out Bryant in any interview or at the podium.
I agree that Gasol is a great guy and an immense talent, but it looks like the criticism of Gasol not being aggressive seems to be pretty accurate. I guess Bryant being the team leader and the guy who stood up for Gasol during all the trade talks has the right to point out any flaws that the big man has in his game.