If Marc Gasol’s NBA career is over, has the former Memphis Grizzlies star done enough to earn a spot in the Basketball Hall of Fame?
Marc Gasol may have played his final game in the NBA.
According to unconfirmed reports this week, the 35-year-old center — who will be a free agent this summer — may decide to continue his career in his native Spain.
Gasol won a championship with the Toronto Raptors in 2019, but the bulk of his NBA accomplishments happened when he played for the Memphis Grizzlies.
Marc Gasol was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers in 2007, but before he played a game for them, he was traded to Memphis as part of the deal that sent his older brother, Pau Gasol, to L.A.
In Memphis, the younger Gasol played 10 and a half seasons, averaging 15.2 points, 7.7 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.4 blocks per game. He earned three All-Star, two All-NBA, and one All-Defensive Team nods. He was voted the league’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2013.
The Grizzlies experienced their greatest team success in franchise history during the Marc Gasol era.
Pau led Memphis to three playoff appearances in his time (2001-08), but the Grizzlies never won a game in three first-round sweeps.
With Marc Gasol, the Grizzlies won their first-ever playoff series in historic fashion. They were an 8-seed when they upset No. 1 San Antonio in 2011. In 2013, Gasol helped Memphis get to the Western Conference Finals, where they would lose to the Spurs. In total, the Grizzlies made the playoffs six times in Gasol’s 10 full seasons.
An integral part of the “Grit ‘N Grind” Memphis teams, Gasol formed a bruising frontline tandem with power forward Zach Randolph. Gasol and fan favorite Tony Allen were the Grizzlies’ two most respected defenders on a team that was known for its defense.
Midway through the 2018-19 season, Gasol was traded to the Raptors as the Grizzlies broke up the core of Grit ‘N Grind to start a rebuild. Gasol made an immediate impact with Toronto and was a starter on their championship team.
Gasol remained Toronto’s starting center this season and helped them come one game shy of the Eastern Conference Finals, but he also averaged NBA career lows with 7.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 0.9 blocks per game.
Whether he stays in the NBA, goes to Europe, or decides it’s time to retire altogether, what are the chances of Marc Gasol eventually getting into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame?
For Gasol, it’s all about combining his NBA career with his international career.
Playing for Spain’s national team, Gasol won Olympic silver medals in 2008 and 2012. He won gold medals at the FIBA World Cup in 2006 and 2019. He also has two golds, a silver and a bronze medal from the FIBA Eurobasket continental championships.
In the Spain’s vaunted ACB pro league, Gasol won a championship in 2004 and was MVP in 2008.
Pair that with his NBA accolades, and I believe Gasol will get into the Hall of Fame. His resume is on-par with — if not better than — those of Vlade Divac, Dino Radja and Sarunas Marciulionis, three recent Hall of Fame inductees whose international careers weighed heavily compared to their NBA careers.