It’s amazing how many people want Pau Gasol to be something he’s not.
He is not a traditional, back-to-the-basket, power game center (and some Lakers fans criticized him for it). He doesn’t have a big ego and demand the ball, he gently reminds guys he’d like to touch the ball more (he gets criticized for that, too). He is not a black swan, he’s often a white one.
He’s not Kevin Garnett punching guys in the, um, family jewels, Phil Jackson told the Daily News.
“Pau knows who he is,” Jackson said. “He’s tenacious. I like him to be aggressive offensively. He’s always a willing passer. The one thing I’m on him about is getting that first rebound. Don’t let them knock it out of your hands. Don’t let them knock it away.
“Otherwise, all this talk about how aggressive he is or how aggressive he isn’t falls on deaf ears. He totally gets it. He is who he is. We’re not going to make him into (Boston’s Kevin) Garnett. He’s not going to go around and punch guys in the (groin).
“He’s too nice of a guy. This is an intelligent person who understands what this game is about. We’ve been to the Finals three years in a row, so that’s part of it.”
Gasol is one of the few classic intellectuals in the NBA. If you want to discuss the works of José Saramago, he’s your guy (although he prefers non-fiction).
He’s not overly aggressive by nature, but also knows when he needs to be and turn it on. And he’s got a couple nice rings to prove it.
Jackson, for all his poking at Gasol, knows people and how to motivate them. And he knows needling Gasol through the media washing off his target. So he’ll just needle KG instead. Classic Phil.