Marc Gasol on comfort with Lakers’ defense: “It doesn’t happen overnight”

Marc Gasol
Lakers center Marc Gasol posts up against Clippers forward Malik Fitts during a preseason game at Staples Center on Dec. 13.(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

The Los Angeles Lakers will be looking to get their first win of the season today against the Dallas Mavericks, following a disappointing season opener against the Los Angeles Clippers. The Lakers received good opening performances from Montrezl Harrell and Dennis Schröder, while also receiving less-than-stellar performances from their other new players, Wesley Matthews and Marc Gasol.

The latter of the two poor performers had an especially bad game, as Gasol racked up early fouls resulting in his fifth foul early in the 3rd quarter taking him out of the rest of the game. He seemed a little out of it during the contest, with head coach Frank Vogel taking part of the blame for his failure to use Gasol properly on the offensive end. In regards to the other end of the floor, Jovan Buha of The Athletic asked Gasol about how comfortable he currently felt with the terminology of Vogel’s Lakers defense. Marc Gasol gave a very in-depth answer that gives some insight on all NBA defenses, and his expectations for when he will be fully acclimated.

“That is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight. We have guys that can be a step ahead mentally and physically. They can wait an extra second to react because they’re so long and athletic. I’m not one of those guys. I have to be a step ahead of the play. So that takes a second for it to happen because I have to know and put everything together from recognizing what they’re trying to run, recognizing who they’re running it for, their guys’ tendencies, our guys’ tendencies and where I should be at that moment. That process, my process, is going to be a split-second before. Creating that muscle memory and motor kind of skill set takes a couple of days.”

The other new players may end up having just as much of a struggle getting acclimated as Marc Gasol, as Vogel has already set expectations for early in the season that the Lakers may look “ugly” at times. The benefit of having talented veteran players is that the learning process will be accelerated when compared to having inexperienced players, so expect Gasol to be in the swing of things sooner rather than later.

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