Marc Gasol has been a notable absence for the Los Angeles Lakers’ past two games — last week’s play-in game against the Golden State Warriors and Sunday’s Game 1 loss to the Phoenix Suns. There have been no reports of an injury for the 36-year-old big man, which begs the question: is he officially out of the lineup for the defending champs now that it’s playoffs time?
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel was recently asked about why Gasol failed to log minutes in their series-opener against the Suns, but unfortunately, the 47-year-old’s statement did not really provide clarity on Gasol’s role for the squad moving forward:
“That game (a few weeks ago) we played Marc and Trezz together, which is a lineup we’re not really that familiar with, and I decided in Game 1 not to use that lineup,” Vogel said, via Christian Rivas of Silver Screen & Roll. “I have confidence in all three of our centers, and AD at the five, so if I don’t go to a certain player or certain player or certain lineup, a lot of time it has nothing to do with that player; it’s just confidence in another player or another lineup, and I’d say that’s the case with Marc not playing in Game 1.”
Gasol arrived in LA in the offseason and he slotted into the team’s starting center role to open the campaign. However, the arrival of Andre Drummond in late March left Gasol on the outside looking in. He has since been in and out of the lineup, competing for minutes with Drummond, primary backup Montrezl Harrell, and even Anthony Davis who’s also logged minutes at the five.
When he was starting, Gasol wasn’t exactly the most effective player on the court. His age has caught up with him and it is clear that he is a far cry from the former All-Star he once was. As such, it would not be surprising if Gasol actually ends up either completely out of the rotation for the playoffs, or at best, a reserve big playing very limited minutes. Then again, injuries are always a possibility, and this could open up minutes for Gasol.