What will Pau Gasol's role be in the new uptempo Grizzlies offense?
Don't tell me you haven't thought about this. If you are reading this blog you are interested in the Grizzlies so of course you may have thought a little about it. After three games and a total of 28 shots everyone has a right to let the thought cross their mind even if they are only casual fans. If Pau isn't going to take more than 13 shots in any game and average fewer than 10 attempts per game despite playing in front of the home crowds in Spain and Memphis don't you wonder how many attempts he will put up in Indiana tonight?
Marc Iavaroni was a big man who didn't shoot much. He's coming from a system that didn't exactly run their offense through their big man either. Amare Stoudamire averaged fewer than 13 attempts per game. If you assume that many of these attempts came after he grabbed an offensive rebound (222 last season) then he is closer to 10 attempts per game from the offense than 13.
Pau only grabbed 149 offensive rebounds last season. He did attempt more than 14.5 shots a game last year. Should we expect Pau's attempts to drop this season? Rudy Gay, Mike Miller and Juan Carlos Navarro are all being given the green light to shoot in the pre-season (18, 16, and 15 respectively against Minnesota) so it isn't like the team isn't giving their premier offensive players opportunities to shoot. Just Pau's attempts have seen a noticeable drop off from last year.
So is Pau's influence in the Grizzlies offense going to deteriorate or what? Personally I believe 'or what.' With the increased attention paid to the perimeter players Pau will see less double and triple teams which should increase his shooting percentage. Also without the additional help defense players will be more exposed which will lead to more fouls and more foul shots. That will make up some of the shot drop off as well.
So how will Pau remain our offensive leader without a huge number of shot attempts? By scoring more efficiently by shooting a higher percentage and getting to the line more.
Now if only Mark Price can increase his free throw percentage then watch out!