Star Comparisons – Do the Stats Lie?

Take a look at these stats comparing two veteran NBA players over the season so far. Both play basically the same position on their respective teams:

FG %
FT %

One player, “A”, is one of the game’s legends, a sure-fire Hall-of-Famer, who at 37 is still a go-to guy, a difference maker, leading his team to a first place spot in their division and as one of a handful of favorites to reach the NBA Finals, yet again.

The other player, “B”, is 33, and though also a star for several years, has been in the news more for disagreements with his coach than for anything else, as he is currently playing less minutes than ever before, and has been in and out of the lineup of an underachieving

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team that could miss the playoffs for the first time in quite awhile. His play is constantly being criticized and rumors have been abundant that his team has tried to trade him, but takers are few, and no decent offer has been available.

Care to guess who these guys are, two guys with virtually identical stats?

Player “A” is Tim Duncan, and Player “B” is Pau Gasol.

Sort of mind-boggling, one would think. Sure, there are intangibles, but stats, though they can be manipulated, do not lie. Based on this, it is hard to see how Gasol is any less valuable to the Lakers than Duncan is to the Spurs, and how any deal to trade away Gasol would have to be for equal value, and not just a maneuver to rid the team of him. It has been no secret that that team has had him on the trade block for a least a couple of seasons, and nothing happened. Now, however,’s Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne have reported that Pau is NOT now being shopped around, and THAT could mean that he is more likely than ever to be traded.

Is that good or bad? Would the “new look” but underachieving Lakers be better off now, if it really does matter, or in the future, by trading Pau, whose contract expires at the end of the

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season, and getting less than full value? The powers that be within the organization, and fans, are re-assessing the situation in lieu of Kobe’s latest injury, as many fans, me included, felt this was a much better team than anticipated, and with a healthy Kobe over the final months of the season, was still a playoff-caliber team.

With Kobe’s status for the rest of the season now a question, maybe getting more young, though likely inexperienced, talent in exchange for Pau would now be the right move for the Lakers.

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