Hammers from Poland: New Goals, New Truths, New Wizards | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Hammers from Poland: New Goals, New Truths, New Wizards

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Updated: October 20, 2014

[Ed. note: Early last week Marcin Gortat gave an interview in Polish for his MG13 Foundation website (mg13.com.pl). The interview was conducted by Adam Lachowicz and has been translated into English by TAI’s Polish correspondent, Bart Bielecki (@bart__92). In his brief chat, Gortat discusses goals for the Wizards, the new arrivals (particularly Paul Pierce), and whether or not he likes the Chicago Bulls. Read on… –Kyle W.]

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Adam Lachowicz: You’ll start this season from a totally different position than the last one. This time you’re being put in a role of silent contenders and predicted to be in the top four of the much-stronger-than-last-year Eastern Conference. What’s the real goal you set for yourselves?

Marcin Gortat: At this moment, the most real goal we set for ourselves is to make the playoffs. We’re trying not to count our chickens until they’re hatched, nor worry about predicting where we’re going to be and what we’re going to win. We watch out for each other and mobilize ourselves to focus on preparing best for the season, on building a team ready to win in the upcoming years and fighting for the Finals. This year we want to get to the playoffs and then, from round to round, play for the highest goals possible. We’re surely stronger than last season, and we’re no longer seen as a team which can but doesn’t have to (win). We are regarded as one of the contenders and our opponents will certainly be better prepared and focused when facing us.

There are some new — but, for NBA fans — well-known faces on the team. Paul Pierce, DeJuan Blair and Kris Humphries are the names that already have their value in the league or, in Pierce’s case, are even legendary… How is the process of syncing together on and off the court going?

MG: Out of those three, Blair has the most difficulties with the set plays and systems we’re playing, mainly when it comes to the tempo, because it’s rather high. Humphries got injured, but he probably had the best pre-season out of the new players. Pierce is a living legend and you can be sure that he will sync with every team and he will perfectly know what he should do. All the three guys are really important to us, every one of them provides the Wizards with something new. We’ve got good shooters, good rebounders, we’ve got hustle players, and “money time” players who will carry the team on their arms in the endings of the games. I’m sure we’re going to be way stronger physically in the post.

How is your locker room since the coming of Paul Pierce? Did The Truth come silently and calm, or has he become some kind of a leader right from the get go?

Everyone knows that Paul is going to be the leader, everyone remembers what he achieved in this league. He is a living and a playing legend! It was obvious that his voice would count. Paul acclimatized great. We get each other very well. I have a great connection with him. I’m glad we’re playing together.

Since Trevor Ariza is gone, it seems like Paul Pierce, who’s replacing him, won’t be taking the same amount of shots. Does it mean feeding the post more, or are Beal and Wall going to take over those shots?

MG: It’s hard to say, since Trevor was more of a shooter than a one-on-one player. On the other hand, Pierce is a player who can create his own shot. His repertoire of plays makes him a player that we can boldly feed the ball to in the clutch. This year we’re going to have huge firepower not only inside, but also outside, and how we’re going to play will only depend on the defense of our opponents.

There was a tense, playoff-like atmosphere in the first pre-season game against the Bulls. Is this a skirmish a result of leftovers from last season, or is the energy and the hunger to win just that big?

MG: There is no denying that the Bulls don’t like us, and we don’t like the Bulls. Last playoffs certainly imprinted that in their memories and left a stain on each of the players, as well as on the whole team. It has to be stressed, though, that the refs didn’t notice a foul on Paul a play before and that’s why he had a grudge against one of Chicago’s players.

How do you feel after the summer? Rested, healthy and fresh?

MG: First of all, I’m glad that my shoulder injury is almost completely cured and that I’m healthy. Unfortunately, the injury is the reason why I’m not in the form that I used to be in the previous years, especially when it comes to strength. I’m catching up with everything systematically, though. I am rested, fresh and hungry! I can’t deny that I didn’t play in a single serious game for the past couple of months, thanks to that, I’ve regenerated well and also started missing basketball.

How does it feel to play on the same team with an NBA legend? Earlier you experienced that in Phoenix, where Steve Nash was your teammate. Can you feel the greatness of Pierce?

MG: Yea, obviously. His way of being, behavior, and the principles he brings to the locker room or the weight room, and even the way he talks to the coaches or other players, make it easy to see his greatness as a player — and also as a man. I’m glad I’ve gotten a chance to play on teams with legends such as Paul Pierce, Steve Nash and Grant Hill!

 

Bartosz Bielecki on Twitter
Bartosz Bielecki
Polish Correspondent at TAI
Bart is TAI’s Polish correspondent, covering all things Marcin Gortat from the mother country, including transcribing Gortat interviews with Polish media.