It's safe to say that Marc Gasol's tenure with the Los Angeles Lakers has been quite a disappointment, as he's no longer the player he used to be and has even been left out of the rotation lately.
However, he was the X-Factor last night when his team beat the Denver Nuggets, playing some great defense on Nikola Jokic and helping them spread the offense with his playmaking skills.
That's why, apparently, Kyle Kuzma lobbied for him to get more playing time, but he had more of a team-first approach when asked about whether he feels like he should be getting more minutes:
"The team's success is everyone's success... We have to kind of forget about the players, situations, and individual guys as a whole and think about who we're going to be as a team. (...) It's about the team and how we all help be a better team... When the team does well, we all do well," Gasol started, as per Harrison Faigen of Silver Screen & Roll.
Reporters kept on asking if he felt like he should get more playing time over players like Andre Drummond and Montrezl Harrell, both of those who vastly struggled vs. the Nuggets last night, especially in the defensive end.
Once again, Marc took the high road and refused to call out his teammates or brag about his skillset, stating that the only thing that matters is helping the team win:
"I'm going to try not to mention situations, personal situations. I think it's about the team and how we all try to help the team be a better team. That's all. One night it's going to be some guys, and other nights it will be other guys, and to me, it's about that. So when the team does well, whether you're playing zero minutes or 35 minutes, you're doing your job every night. So, I'm not going to sit here and tell you the things that I can do that other guys can't. There's some things that they do that's impossible for me to do, it's just physically impossible. I can try every day to catch lobs and be above the rim all night long, that's just never been that way. And there's things I do that are a little bit different. But it's about the team, and how we all put the priority and goal on winning," Gasol concluded.
That's the kind of team-first mentality that Marc Gasol has always been known for, and his veteran leadership can play a huge role even if he's not getting that many minutes.
This season, he's made just 47 appearances, averaging 5.4 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game on 45/40/72 shooting splits and a career-low 19.2 minutes per game, but it's clear that - given the right matchup - he can still be a huge factor for them.