Kobe Bryant Wants Pau Gasol to be Tougher, More DecisiveAfter the L.A. Lakers defeated the New York Knicks 115-105 on Friday night, Kobe Bryant made a very interesting comment regarding Pau Gasol:
"Pau's too nice. He's too nice of a guy. And he's so intelligent I think he thinks too much...I told him that, 'You're very intelligent, highly intelligent, and I think that's working against you right now because you're thinking about things too much. Just go out there and just let it hang out.' "
Bryant's observations should sound very familiar to 20 Second Timeout readers, because I made exactly the same points in my recap of Cleveland's Thursday night win versus the Lakers. Regarding Gasol's late-game failures--bungled layups, two missed free throws that could have tied the game--and Gasol's candid admission that his previous miscues weighed heavily on his mind when he shot the fateful free throws, I wrote:
No one should jump to conclusions about two missed free throws or about a few quotes delivered within 30 minutes of those free throws being taken--Michael Jordan famously said that he failed thousands of times and that is why he succeeded--but this whole situation provides some insight into Gasol's strengths and weaknesses as a player. Gasol is very cerebral--in his pregame remarks Jackson noted that he regularly gives Gasol lengthy, complex books that Gasol enjoys reading--and he possesses a wonderful basketball skill set but NFL Hall of Famer Steve Young likes to say that in football if you think too deeply you can end up all alone; similarly, one of the characteristics that Jordan, Bryant and James share is the ability to forget about previous failures/obstacles and then singlemindedly focus on the next play or the next shot. That is not to suggest that Jordan, Bryant and James are not cerebral--they all obviously possess high basketball IQs--but rather that they know when to turn off the critical parts of their minds in order to remain confident enough in their skills to make clutch plays. Gasol is cerebral enough to think about his failures and honest enough to admit to this in front of the media. Gasol should not be blasted for his intelligence or his candor but he also needs to develop a method to get out of his own way in such situations and rely on his skill set to carry him through instead of dwelling on what happened during previous plays.
posted by David Friedman @ 9:37 PM