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WFNY Stats & Info: Notes on Pau Gasol’s decline

the-lakers-want-to-blow-up-their-roster-and-trade-pau-gasol-to-the-wizards-for-the-3-pick

the-lakers-want-to-blow-up-their-roster-and-trade-pau-gasol-to-the-wizards-for-the-3-pickPau Gasol is the latest rumored trade candidate for the Cavaliers, according to Brian Windhorst and Ramona Shelburne at ESPN.com. The 33-year-old is a three-time All-Star but his best days are clearly behind him as shown in advanced statistics.

Although he’s averaging 14.7 points and 9.4 rebounds in 30 minutes per game this season — fairly solid production on the surface — those numbers don’t tell the exact story about his last few seasons. Here are two specific stats that more accurately depict his changing game:

FG% on non-restricted area two-pointers
From 2008-09 to 11-12: 45.1% (2,321 shots; 59% of FGA)
From 2012-13 to 13-14: 38.1% (635 shots; 66% of FGA)

Offensive Rebounding%
From 2008-09 to 10-11: 10.5%
From 2011-12 to 13-14: 8.0%

This season, when he was playing, Gasol was shooting more than ever: his 16.4 FGA/36 is a career high and his 25.5% usage rate is his highest in seven years. On this very poor Lakers roster, he’s being called upon offensively quite a bit. But his offensive style has changed, perhaps as limited by his several foot injuries, and he’s shooting more often and less efficiently from mid-range.

It’s understandable that Gasol’s offensive rebounding percentage dropped when Dwight Howard was around in 2012-13. But a healthy Andrew Bynum also was there previously. And Gasol’s numbers dropped to a new career low (6.2%) this season as he’s playing further away from the basket. His defensive rebounding numbers have slightly improved to make up a difference in his total rebounding rates.

In each of the past two seasons, the 7-foot Spaniard has had an even 16.7 PER. He was never lower than 19.5 in PER in any other season of his career. That’s a very troubling fact when also addressed with his increased usage and similar overall rebounding. There’s possible reason to expect some improvement based on his known frustration this year in Los Angeles. Gasol also would likely provide a boost with his noted passing skills.

While Gasol might not be the same All-Star he was several years ago, he’s still a solid contributor. His shooting zone ratios slightly mirror those of Anderson Varejao, who has refined his game to become a very good mid-range shooter this year at 31 years old. He would likely take away minutes, however, from soon-to-be 24-year-old Tyler Zeller who has impressed of late.

In the end, the biggest benefit with a Gasol-Bynum swap with possibly other moving pieces could just be one last hope at contending for a playoff spot this year and maintaining financial flexibility with an expiring contract. Alone, the Pau Gasol of 2013 or even of 2014 won’t likely be enough to make this Cavs roster that much better.

[Related: Cavs at NBA’s one-third mark: How much patience is left?]

(AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    C’mon man!

  • jeff

    When the stat thing got popular in baseball I was praying it wouldn’t mutate into basketball and football. My prayers were not answered.

  • woofersus

    He has clearly declined, but I suspect Dantoni’s offensive system has also hampered his effectiveness a little.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Tell me about it.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Tell me about it.

  • jeff

    Here’s how I look at it: if we traded Bynum and say Clark/Gee for Gasol, Gasol would be the best C on the team.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I liked Gasol back in Memphis before he was traded. Sure his numbers have declined but that’s a combination of age and posting such good numbers. I wouldn’t shed a tear if either Clark or Gee were included but I’m guessing the Lakers would be looking more for a draft pick as well. I’d probably deal whichever pick was not the best.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I’d love to have him. He’d give the Cavaliers a big man with tremendous offensive skills. It would also give the front court even more flexibility. As always the deal makes sense for Cleveland which means no way does it happen.

  • BisonDeleSightings

    Totally, man. Numbers R hard!

  • Chris

    Declining performance or not, he’d be a more consistent player and probably wouldn’t be force fed the ball as the center of the offense when he’s in. So i’m for it. Getting anything for bynum would be pretty great, honestly.

  • jeff

    I have a Finance degree from The University of Akron, so I think I may have a general understanding of numbers. My point was someone like current D-Leauger Tony Mitchell (http://espn.go.com/nba/player/_/id/2583664/tony-mitchell) has a PER higher than Andy. (http://espn.go.com/nba/player/_/id/2419/anderson-varejao) I look forward to your quick witted response to that.

  • Horace

    PER is an imperfect stat, even hollinger admitted that. It’s like a baseball player who goes 1-2 on the season isn’t a better hitter than Miguel Cabrera despite sporting a 0.500 batting average. However, PER, WS per 48, and WARP, when looked at together, can give a pretty good picture of a basketball player’s value.

  • jeff

    I see your point. I feel like Clint Eastwood in that Curve baseball movie even though I’m only 27. Guess I will have to learn the new way of doing things.

  • BisonDeleSightings

    Yeah, but it’s Akron…

  • jeff

    My University of Akron Finance degree made me just under six figures this year and I had the last two and a half weeks off for the Holidays. I think Akron is doing just fine for their students…just saying.

    Having said that, I admit the times in sports are changing and the stats guys are taking over. I must accept it.