Little brother is a big reason why the Grizzlies have won their first playoff game, then their first playoff series and why they are tied 1-1 in their first Western Conference semifinal with Oklahoma City. Marc’s five postseason victories are five more than Pau managed in three playoff appearances with Memphis. The third-year pro has elevated his game, averaging more points and rebounds than in the regular season.
And Pau is enjoying the show.
“My brother has developed into a great player, so I’m happy for him,” the Los Angeles Lakers‘ big man said. “I know it’s not easy to play in such a small market and put a competitive team together to be able to win.”
The Gasols arrived in Memphis when the Grizzlies traded for Pau, the third overall pick in the 2001 draft. Marc was 16 and went to private Lausanne High while his big brother became NBA rookie of the year. The franchise’s first All Star helped lead the Grizzlies to three straight playoff berths.
“It wasn’t Marc,” Hollins said Thursday.
Marc may have been overweight, but he didn’t lack talent.
He played five seasons in Spain before helping the Spanish National Team win the 2006 world championships. In the meantime, Pau was leading the Grizzlies to the NBA playoffs, earning the West’s No. 5 seed in 2006. But they set the NBA mark for futility losing their first 12 playoff games.
The Lakers drafted Marc in the second round of the 2007 draft with the 48th pick overall. They later traded his draft rights to Memphis on Feb. 1, 2008, along with Jarvaris Crittendon, Kwame Brown, Aaron McKie, two future first round picks and cash for Pau and a 2010 second round.
It was a heavily criticized trade. One of its biggest critics was San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich.
After Marc helped knock the top-seeded Spurs out of the playoffs in six games, Popovich was asked what he thought of the trade. He said he didn’t have any feelings.
“It was a sarcastic comment,” Popovich said. “You have to have a sense of humor once in a while.”