Complete Name: Pau Gasol Sáez
Power Forward / Center
July 6, 1980, Sant Boi de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain
Height: 7-0 / 2.13 m.
260 lbs / 117.9 kg
High School: in Spain
Career: Drafted by the Atlanta Hawks in the first round, 3rd pick overall in 2001. Draft rights traded to the Vancouver Grizzlies (prior to the team's relocation to Memphis) in exchange for Shareef Abdur-Rahim.
More Information: Pau Gasol profile and stats
Surprising everybody the Lakers made a trade with the Grizzlies that send erratic Kwame Brown, rookie Javaris Crittenton, the rights to Marc Gasol (Pau's brother), Aaron Mckie's contract and two first-round picks and brought the All-Star caliber forward/center from Spain Pau Gasol.
This 7-0 who was then 27-year-old was the answer to Kobe's prays, bringing the team a solid paint presence that can consistently score in the post and from midrange with a big and refined variety of movements, can rebound when he's in the mood, makes his free throws and knows all the fundaments which makes the life of his teammates easier. Despite his youth Gasol has a lot of international experience and although he's not the greatest defender and has a tendency to avoid contact, he's good enough and long enough to present a problem to opposite players and in fact that was not what the Lakers excpected from him. The Lakers needed a dependalbe offensive option to take some pressure out from Kobe and that role fits him perfectly.
Shadowed by the performance of an awful Memphis team since 2001-02, Gasol was Rookie of the Year in 2002, an All-Star in 2006 as a reserve center for the West and won the Golden Medal and MVP in the 2006 FIBA Basketball World Championships.
Gasol averaged 18.9 points and 8.8 rebounds in 39 games for Memphis the 2007-08 season before being traded and made the Lakers an instant contender, helping them reach the 2008 Finals against all odds and winning two consecutive Championships in 2009 and 2010.
With the contract he brought from the Grizzlies the Lakers have been paying a log luxury tax for years but that was also the price to pay to keep Kobe here, because Gasol's presence in L.A.'s roster makes it a championship caliber team.
Pau Gasol Profile and Statistics
Memphis Grizzlies - Los Angeles Lakers
2001 ACB League Champion with FC Barcelona (Spanish League)
2001 ACB League MVP
2001-02 NBA Rookie of the Year (with Memphis)
2006 FIBA World Championship Gold Medal with Spain
2006 FIBA World Championship MVP
2008 Olympics Silver Medal with Spain
More Medals in the European Championships with Spain: Bronze in 2001 and Silver in 2003 and 2007