Pau Gasol interview from earlier today.
General comments: “I think we’re on the right track. We’re playing well. We’re playing aggressively. It’s a good place to be. There are always things you can work on to get to a better place. For the most part, we’re playing at a very high level. … Ultimately, we’re doing pretty well. So far, we understand we’ve had a nice home stretch. It’s going to get harder, it’s going to get more complicated, so we just can’t relax.”
On whether he’s gained confidence since winning the NBA title: “Maybe I’m a little bit more confident. Maybe I feel a little better and stronger about my game. I think that’s part of it. It’s also maturing. I’m getting close to 30 now. It kind of puts you in a good spot in your career.”
On Kobe Bryant’s comment that he’s a bad boy who knows he can’t be stopped: “You have to have that confidence and that swagger out on the floor. You can’t allow it to carry outside of the floor. I think I have really high confidence when I’m playing basketball and I feel like I can kick some butt. That’s why I’ve been successful in my career in everything I’ve accomplished. When I step off the floor, I know that’s just something I do really well. I’m not the center of the world. I’m not better than anyone else just because I have a certain skill. That’s my mindset.”
On whether he had the some confidence level while with Memphis: “I had that kind of confidence when I was in Memphis. But it was not joined by winning. And it was not joined by an extremely great level of teammates. I’m not saying the teammates I had in Memphis weren’t high quality, but, obviously, these are the best I’ve had. It really pays off and it makes you feel a lot better at the end of the day, when you’ve won and you’re in a good position at the top of the league. It was tough. At the end, I was really down on myself. I was losing my spark, my motivation, the passion I always had for the game. I was getting really frustrated. That’s why when this happened (the Feb. 1, 2008 trade to the Lakers), I was so thankful. I was so thrilled I had this opportunity. I still am, and still probably will be for the rest of my life.”
On not having to shoulder the scoring burden with the Lakers: “I can focus on a lot of other things. I can put a lot more energy into the defense. I know that’s what this team needs most because offensively we’re so gifted. I can put forth an effort defensively and exploit my qualities as a defensive player, which I wasn’t so much in Memphis. I was only offensive minded and putting up numbers and forget about defense because nobody is playing defense. It’s just tough. You get into that mode and it’s a bad deal. But here because I don’t have to use so much energy offensively, I can use it defensively, helping my teammates out and being there for my teammates. I can be a much better player.”