It’s pretty rare when you get to see brothers face off in a sport. It’s even rarer when you get to see two brothers face off in a playoff series.
The Gasol brothers will square off against each other in the postseason for the first time as the Spurs and Grizzlies are set to match up in the first round of the NBA playoffs.
The Spurs and Grizzlies are familiar foes in the postseason as this will be the fourth time the Spurs and Grizzlies will play each other in the last seven years. The Spurs have won three of those previous four series, with the Grizzlies pulling off the upset in 2011 that put this team we know today on the map. It is no surprise as San Antonio has dominated in the past as they have been one of the most historic franchises in all of sports over the last fifteen years or so.
The sibling square off will be an interesting matchup to watch because of how much they are each an integral part of their team.
For the Grizzlies, Marc Gasol has been a guy you can rely on night in and night out to give you consistent scoring, defense, and leadership. The Grizzlies offense heavily relies on the trio of Conley, Zach Randolph, and Marc Gasol because outside of that, the Grizzlies do not have many scoring threats.
Marc Gasol is having a career year in points per game (19.6/g) for the Grizzlies, and it couldn’t come at a better time as this could be a do or die series for this era of Memphis basketball. His veteran leadership is something that the Grizzlies will need to rely on, as they face a San Antonio team that swept them out of the playoffs in 2016.
Let’s not forget, the Grizzlies groomed a young Pau Gasol into the player he is today, and eventually were able to draft the younger brother Marc with the help and recruitment from Pau himself.
For the Spurs, they added the veteran presence of Pau Gasol this offseason, as a guy who they can rely on to come off the bench for long stretches at a time and perform like a starter. A team that already featured plenty of veterans like Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili, the Spurs were looking to add more veteran presence inside.
The Spurs have been a team known to make gems out of playmaking international players, and Gasol is everything they could have asked for, and more. Pau has drastically improved his outside shot (53.6 3p%) in an era where shooting big men have been heavily demanded.
Gasol is taking 3.1 3-pointers per 100 possessions this season. In his 14 seasons in the league, Gasol only averaged more than 0.6 3s per 100 possessions one time. The addition of Gasol this season has created a bigger lineup for San Antonio.
Gasol has also averaged a career low in minutes (25.5 mpg), but it could prove to be a blessing in disguise for San Antonio come playoff time. Since his return from a broken hand, Gasol has come off the bench virtually every game since then. This has shown to bring an explosive offensive firepower to their second unit, and something we could see come this weekend’s start to the playoffs.
So, what does all this mean for the Gasol brother match up? Just known an extra motivation factor will come between the two as this is their first time squaring off in the playoffs. It will be interesting to see how much time they really are on the floor for each other.
One thing is for sure, and that is both Gasol brothers are a crucial part of their team’s success. Marc Gasol will be a heavily relied on for the Grizzlies. Pau Gasol most likely will be coming off the bench, but with the way he is shooting the ball right now, his impact could be just as great as Marc’s is for Memphis.