Gortat on Getting Punked, Rebounding Like a Guard, and That Play With Ariza
With Nene out nursing the ailment du jour, the Wizards obviously depend on Marcin Gortat that much more. Not just for post offense, but also because Gortat is a smart passer.
With Gortat on the floor for Washington this season, the team assist-to-turnover ratio improves from 1.49 to 1.67, which is the same improvement the Wizards experience when Nene’s on the court (while noting that 54 percent of Gortat’s total minutes have come alongside Nene, and 72 percent of Nene’s total minutes have come alongside Gortat).
Gortat made his presence felt against the Denver Nuggets from the tip on Monday night, scoring 12 points in the first quarter on 6-for-8 shooting. Three of his makes were jumpers, but all other attempts came within five feet of the basket. As the night continued, Gortat operated further and further away from the hoop, making it just a little bit easier on the defense. And on one crucial play with 22 seconds left in the game, instead of making himself more available in a wide-open restricted area, Gortat hovered in no man’s land along the baseline, and Trevor Ariza’s pass for what should have been an easy, go-ahead basket by Gortat, went errant and out of bounds.
Randy Wittman was asked about going to Gortat on offense more late in the contest during his post-game news conference:
“We continued to go there. At times we take fallaways and get away from what we were doing in terms of scoring and attacking the basket. So, hey, it’s easy to sit here and be an armchair quarterback right now.”
A very subtle but not-so-subtle dig at Gortat’s night. In this a contract year for big man (all while the team’s official Twitter account tries to tweet-up Gortat for NBA All-Star), you’d like to see Gortat take a little more ownership on the court like he does with his mouth. To his credit, Gortat took his share of the blame during post-game interviews. Listen to his quotes in the video above. He knows he needs to improve, but he also knows the entire team needs to improve.
Some choice cuts from Gortat…
In reference to the Wizards achieving a .500 record just a week ago:
“I guess I’ll learn from my own experience that you just get too excited about too many different things. You start loosening up a little bit, you start feeling good about yourself, and then teams like Milwaukee are going to come to your house and punk you on your own court.”
[Gortat definitely seemed to be referencing some of his teammates, but rightly included himself in the bunch.]
On what he’s got to do:
“I got to do better, especially on the glass. For the past few games I jammed. For some reason, I’m not rebounding. I’m rebounding like a guard, so I take that personally that I got to rebound better.”
[Note: I should have asked Gortat about his offense that shifted away from the hoop.]
The blame game?
Ariza and Gortat each tried to take blame for the late-game turnover with 22 seconds left during their separate post-game interviews (video below). But first, the play in question … Gortat seems to be mostly responsible, but the miscommunication is clearly on both players, and the team.
— Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It) December 10, 2013