Bulls can’t forget about Pau Gasol in the paint


Pau Gasol‘s first year in Chicago was a huge success for the big man, as he was rejuvenated to play for a contender again, and it showed in his play. Gasol led the NBA in double doubles, and was the starting center for the east all-star team. At 34 years old, Gasol showed no signs of diminished skills and proved to be an elite scorer in the paint for the Bulls all season. 

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Pau Gasol is coming off an incredible run at the FIBA Eurobasket tournament in which he was named MVP and led Spain to victory. The Bulls are hoping that his magnificent play will carry over to training camp and into the season.

Gasol gives the Bulls something they haven’t had in a long time, a consistent back to the basket scorer. He averaged 18.5 ppg while grabbing 11.8 rpg in his first season in Chicago, and was a stable offensive threat for the Bulls all season.

New head coach Fred Hoiberg is implementing a brand new offense to the Bulls this season. It’s not going to be the mundane, slow offensive Bulls anymore.

Gasol actually thrived in that system because he was getting the ball at such a high rate down low in the post. He took advantage of his one on one match ups with his brilliant post moves and consistent jumper.

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Now that the offense is going to be up tempo and more fluid doesn’t mean that the Bulls can’t feature Gasol in the post and forget about him. Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler are going to be the head horses of the new offense because of their speed and athleticism to get out in the open court. Gasol however still needs to be a focal point on offense and get easy baskets for the Bulls.

Hoiberg spoke to the media about how the offense is going to look this year. “Four out and one in will be quite a bit this season. It doesn’t matter who’s on the floor.” Hoiberg is experimenting with different lineups in training camp in order to find which players mesh with one another.

The scheme is going to be totally different from past seasons and players are going to need time to adjust. The system however is going to be great for the team and will lead to the Bulls being more efficient on the offensive end. The up tempo style Hoiberg likes to play at is why he was so sought after by the Bulls front office.

Gasol needs to be featured in the post and get consistent touches as he did last year for the Bulls to be successful. Without a post presence, the Bulls don’t have enough shooting to be an elite team. Gasol can also be a floor stretcher, as he is a good mid range shooter for a big man, and can also hit the corner three when asked too.

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  • Gasol last played in an up tempo offense under Mike D’Antoni with the Lakers a few years ago, and that was a disaster. D’Antoni didn’t call any plays for Gasol in the post, and eventually benched the two-time champion. D’Antoni was against post play and thus didn’t see a good role for Gasol on the floor.

    Hoiberg is running a similar offensive style to D’Antoni, but Hoiberg has already stated that Pau is going to play a pivotal part in what they are doing on offense.

    The Bulls defense is tremendously better than what D’Antoni used to work with as well. As long as Gasol is in the post and getting consistent touches, he should fit in well with what Hoiberg is trying to run.

    Gasol turned 35 in July so his minutes will need to be managed wisely throughout the regular season. The Bulls need Gasol fresh for the playoffs and last year he was far from that. The Bulls have good depth in the front court which will allow Hoiberg to use different lineups. Gasol seems to have good chemistry with Nikola Mirotic and those two seem to play well off each other.

    Pau Gasol looks fresh and ready for a title run this year. Dependable post play is what Gasol brings to the table and his value is high to the Bulls. The Bulls need Gasol to replicate what he did last year for them to have any chance of winning an NBA title.