All summer we’ve been checking in with Pau Gasol’s progress as he suited up for his native Spain for the EuroBasket Tournament in Lithuania. The tournament is now over and Gasol is once again a champion, playing a crucial role in his home country’s victory in the title game over France.
Over at The Painted Area (a site worth your time for more than today’s link) Jay Aych sums up Pau Gasol’s tourney quite well:
Another international competition, another sterling tournament for Pau Gasol. Pau capped off a great EuroBasket with another sharp all-around performance vs. the French with 17 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and three blocks. Pau added a 3pt. make on Sunday to finish Euro ’11 shooting 7-for-11 on 3PA.
Pau finished EuroBasket third in points (20 ppg), third in FG pct. (54%), fourth in rebounds (8.3 rpg), third in blocks (1.7 bpg). Pretty much does this everytime he suits up for Spain. If there were any doubts about his enshrinement into the Naismith Hall of Fame, they should cease forever. (We covered Pau’s FIBA accomplishments after Spain’s 2009 Euro final win.)
Don’t agree with the MVP vote–Pau should have won over Juan Navarro. Pau was more of a factor of both sides of the floor, with an underrated impact defensively once again. Navarro was clutch in the knockout round for Spain, but was a little off at the start of the tourney while Pau was consistent throughout.
As we’ve been saying, a strong effort from Gasol serves as a reminder that he is one of the best players in the world and also gave him the opportunity to be the focal point of a team – something that will serve him well when he’s back stateside with the Lakers. If Pau can channel that strong play and carry it over into next season, the Lakers are already a better team than they were when they faced Dallas in last season’s playoffs.
Now, if only we had some progress on the negotiations that will ensure there is a next season…