The Grizzlies are on a 10-game losing streak and Marc Gasol is admittedly highly frustrated, he tells Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal. As he sees it, the NBA is about winning, not about getting more repetitions for younger players or player development, which, in Gasol’s view, should be left to the G League. In a piece for Yahoo Sports, Chris Mannix adds that head coach J.B. Bickerstaff acknowledges the frustration that Gasol is experiencing.
“A guy as competitive as he is, and a guy who every day matters to him, whether it’s practice, drill work, three-on-three, he’s trying to win… A guy who is so unselfish, he doesn’t care how many points he scores. The only thing that matters to him are wins and losses. I think we all understand and appreciate guys who are that way. There’s no doubt about it, it’s frustrating for him.”
Despite the frustration, Gasol is trying to improve different areas of his game, says Bickerstaff.
“He’s working on different parts of his game. The way teams are playing, you don’t see a ton of post-up opportunities any more, (so) he’s working on his face-up game, he’s working on a different array of shots, in the paint, how he gets to those spots, things like that. Playing from the perimeter, being able to attack off the catch versus other big guys. Those things we’ve seen him be able to implement. He’s been able to implement them quick. As soon as he puts his mind to it, he can add it that night.”
There’s more news out of the Southwest Division:
- The Rockets have the best record in the NBA and are currently one game ahead of second-place Golden State in the loss column. FiveThirtyEight gives them the best odds (40%) of winning the NBA title. And as MVP-favorite James Harden sees it, “this is (Houston’s) year”, reports Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today.
- Spurs guard Patty Mills has replaced incumbent Danny Green in the starting lineup for now, reports Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News. As is typical for head coach Gregg Popovich, he wouldn’t elaborate on the change, but Mills appears to give the Spurs a bit more offensive firepower in the first unit, while Green improves the second-unit’s defensive presence.
- Mavericks big man Dwight Powell is making a case to be the team’s primary center moving forward, opines Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. Averaging 14.3 points and 8.2 rebounds per contest over the last seven games, Powell excels at playing hard. “(T)he thing I like about Powell is you’re going to get unconditional, boundless energy and the highest of high-care factors when it comes to the team,” said head coach Rick Carlisle.