Los Angeles Lakers veteran center Marc Gasol made a statement in Tuesday night's win over the Toronto Raptors.
Gasol had been displaced as the starter when the Lakers signed Andre Drummond. But he regained that spot after Drummond suffered a toe injury in his first game with the team. Gasol dominated the Raptors on both ends Tuesday night, scoring 13 points to go with five assists while also grabbing nine rebounds and recording four blocks.
Despite the standout performance, however, Gasol will be coming off the bench once Drummond returns. Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said as much after the game:
“No, we're going to start Andre. That's what we signed him here for,” Vogel said, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN. “We need to get [Drummond] a ton of minutes to get him acclimated to our system with only X amount of games before the playoffs, and he'll be our starter. … [Gasol's performance] doesn't change that.”
Gasol had previously expressed frustration at his lessened role following Drummond's arrival. However, he seems to be preparing for the inevitable.
The 36-year-old said he would “stay ready” and is “fully committed” to helping the Lakers win. Gasol explained he needed a brief moment to accept the impending changes, but he also understands the need for Drummond to get minutes in advance of the playoffs for the Lakers.
Drummond has missed each of the past three games after sustaining the toe injury in his Lakers debut against the Milwaukee Bucks on March 31, but he might return Thursday against the Miami Heat.
Gasol, meanwhile, will look to make his contributions as an imperative bench piece in the front court.