The ultimate recognition that any NBA player can get is a place in the NBA Hall of Fame. Being inducted into the Hall of Fame means being unequivocally respected and applauded for their contribution to the NBA and the game of basketball, and an appreciation for their individual and team accomplishments. Getting into the Hall of Fame is not easy, and deservedly so; one needs to put together a strong, impactful career to have their name mentioned among the greats.
Is Pau Gasol an NBA Hall of Famer? Currently, Pau Gasol is not in the Basketball Hall of Fame, as he will not have eligibility until 2023. However, Gasol has put together a strong resume that gives him a high probability of being inducted into the Hall of Fame. Basketball-Reference has given Pau Gasol a 93.35% chance of being inducted into the Hall of Fame. Gasol is considered one of the best international players to play in the NBA, and his strong legacy should eventually make him a Hall of Famer.
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What were Pau Gasol’s major achievements in his career?
Pau Gasol started his NBA career with the Memphis Grizzlies, who acquired his rights after the Atlanta Hawks selected him with the 3rd overall pick in the 2001 NBA Draft. In just his first season with the Grizzlies, Gasol won the 2002 NBA Rookie of the Year Award and was named to the All-Rookie First Team. He was named to his first All-Star Game in 2006. During his stint with the Grizzlies, Gasol held multiple franchise records, including most points, rebounds, and blocks, among others (nearly all have been broken since).
A number of Gasol’s biggest achievements came when he was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers in 2008. He won 2 NBA championships, back-to-back, was named to 3 All-Star Games and 1 All-NBA Second Team over 6.5 seasons. After signing with the Chicago Bulls in 2014, Gasol was named to yet another All-NBA Second Team and an All-Star Game, both in 2015. His tenure as one of the biggest stars in the NBA also got him awards for being the premier European player in basketball: Gasol won the FIBA Europe Player of the Year award twice, and the Euroscar Player of the Year award 4 times in between 2008 and 2015.
Gasol also won many awards with the Spain national basketball team. He won 4 gold medals, 4 silver medals, and 3 bronze medals in events such as the Olympics, the FIBA World Championship, and the EuroBasket competitions. He also was MVP 3 times and top scorer 3 times as well.
What were Pau Gasol’s career averages and major statistical achievements?
Over 18 seasons in the NBA, Gasol averaged 17.0 points per game, 9.2 rebounds per game, 3.2 assists per game, and 1.6 blocks per game. He averaged 33.4 minutes per game on average and shot 50.7% from the field and 75.3% from the free-throw line. Some of his major statistical achievements include recording over 550 double-doubles, scoring more than 20,000 points (43rd player in NBA history to do so), scoring more than 10,000 points while also grabbing more than 10,000 rebounds (36th player in NBA history to do so), and scoring more than 20,000 points while also recording more than 10,000 rebounds, 3,500 assists, and 1,500 (4th player in NBA history to do so).
What is Pau Gasol’s basketball legacy?
Pau Gasol will go down as one of the best international players to play in the NBA, in a line of European big men that made a strong impact on the league. The Spaniard was nimble for his 7’0 frame, and had a very well-rounded game. His ability to use both hands with almost the same skill made him a threat from the paint and the mid-range area. He was a good scorer and rebounder, often averaging a double-double throughout his career. He was also a good passer and dribbler of the ball, and was able to play the fast-break smoothly.
Gasol truly blossomed into a star after he was traded to the Lakers after 6 seasons with the Grizzlies. With Gasol, the Lakers finally found a star to pair with superstar Kobe Bryant. Gasol’s impact is undoubtable, as he led the Lakers to 3 straight NBA Finals, including back-to-back championships, after an era where the franchise was floundering to recover from the loss of Shaquille O’Neal. Not only did the Lakers need a star, but someone with a versatile skill set to complement Kobe, and Gasol brought exactly that and more to the table.
Gasol’s impact on basketball also extends to his stints playing professionally in Europe, as well as his time with the Spain national basketball team. He started his career with his hometown club FC Barcelona, and also finished his career with the team, nearly 20 years apart. However, he brought a title to his club in both stints. His national team career was even more storied, with a huge haul of medals, championships, awards, and titles. Gasol is one of the best European basketball players ever, and arguably the best Spanish basketball player in the country’s history.
When could Pau Gasol potentially enter the NBA Hall of Fame?
The Basketball Hall of Fame has eligibility rules regarding when an NBA player can potentially be inducted. Specifically, the player must be retired for 4 full seasons before they can become eligible. Since Gasol last played in the NBA in 2019, he will become eligible to be inducted in the Hall of Fame class of 2023.
Pau Gasol has put together a wonderful basketball career, in and out of the NBA. The Spaniard center is undoubtedly yet another great European big to play in the NBA, and his impact on the Kobe-era Lakers is arguably bigger than most realize. While he isn’t in the Hall of Fame just yet, it’s a very high chance that we’ll see him earn his spot as early as 2023, and it’ll be a great day for basketball when it does happen.