Marc Gasol returns from Spain to Memphis, where he lived as a teen, with a far more physical game than his older brother Pau's.
Last season Rudy Gay led all second-year players in minutes, scoring, defensive rebounds, field goals and threes while finishing among the top three sophomores in total boards, steals and blocks.
Record: 22-60 (T-13th in West) Points scored: 100.7 (10th in NBA) Points allowed: 106.9 (28th)
The perennial cellar dwellers would be happy if this Gasol is half the player his brother is
When the Grizzlies traded Pau Gasol to the Lakers last February to getout from under the nearly $50 million remaining on his contract, theywanted the closest thing in return.
"We wouldn't have made the deal if we couldn't get Marc Gasol," says coachMarc Iavaroni about Pau's younger brother, whose rights Memphis acquired alongwith players Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton and two first-round picks. "But thetrade was always viewed as if he wasn't part of it. I thought that should havebeen the most interesting part of the national discussion."
When Iavaroni took the Grizzlies job in May 2007, he flew to Spain tointroduce himself to Pau. Last summer he went there to meet Marc, explaining howvital he was to the team's rebuilding process -- which the owner says is athree-year project -- and how he would fit into Memphis's young lineup.
With his shaggy hair, gnarly beard and Catalan accent, Marc, who attendedhigh school in Memphis for two years after Pau was drafted by the Grizzlies in2001 and is living in Pau's old condo, looks and sounds a lot like his brother.Their games, however, differ greatly: The 7-foot-1, 265-pound Marc is aclassic low-post player, while the 7-foot, 250-pound Pau is more comfortablefacing up and running the floor.
"When Pau came to the league, it was harder for him because he was 20," saysMarc, a second-round pick of the Lakers in '07 who was named MVP of the ACBLeague in Spain last season. "I'm 23, and I've been playing professional ballfor five years. It's a different situation, and I'm a differentplayer."-- Arash Markazi
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