Marcin Gortat Quits Poland, Talks Wizards | Wizards Blog Truth About

Marcin Gortat Quits Poland, Talks Wizards

Updated: December 18, 2015


On Friday, the oldest Polish sports journal, “Przegląd Sportowy,” published an interview with Marcin Gortat through which the Polish Hammer announced his retirement from the national basketball team. “There’s a 90 percent chance I won’t return to the national team,” he said. “I leave myself that 10 percent in case something unexpected happens, but I’ve already let the coach know that my last game was in France, at EuroBasket.” The Pole, aside from talking about the problems of Polish basketball, shared his thoughts on the Wizards’ poor performance so far this season. The interview, conducted by Rafał Tymiński, is available in its entirety online via Przegląd’s website. Exclusively for TAI, I have translated the Wizards-related parts of the Q&A. Let’s jump right to it.

Rafał Tymiński: If you play in this season’s NBA All Star Game, we are going to have a massive bump of interest in basketball for at least few good weeks in Poland.

Gortat: I know that fans in Poland, those who really love basketball, and not the haters, can “click it all,” but considering how bad we’ve been as a team, I’d feel ashamed to ask them to vote for me. I neither deserve to play in the ASG, nor do the people feel a need to vote for someone who has been playing for a team outside of the playoff picture. John Wall will probably get voted in because he’s a relevant player in the entire league, and he’s been playing great recently.

Tymiński: At this point, you’re the most unpredictable team in the East. One day you play a great game and beat a strong opponent … just to ruin everything the next day, losing to a team you weren’t supposed to lose to.

Gortat: Injuries, ladies and gentlemen, injuries! Five players aren’t available at this time. Drew Gooden suits up and sits on the bench, just to make sure we have ten players, but we know he can’t check into the game, as he’s still injured. Bradley Beal will be out for two weeks. Nene isn’t available. Kris Humphries has been injured. Our best defender, Alan Anderson, is out. The team previously released Martell Webster [Ed. Note: Webster was waived due to season-ending hip surgery; the Wizards signed Ryan Hollins in his place.] If you add the fact that John Wall, who is in the best shape of us all, has to rest during practices because he’s that banged up, it turns out that there are just six or seven of us at the practice, and all we can do is to play on one basket, which doesn’t prepare us for games properly. I had to miss three games myself due to family issues. The result is that after one game, in the next one we play like we’re a completely different team. If we don’t break through it soon and become consistently good, we’re going to be in big trouble.

Tymiński: Where would you be in the standings right now if it weren’t for the injuries?

Gortat: I think we would be somewhere around the top four or five spots.

Tymiński: Last year the Spurs and the Thunder had similar health issues. The latter team didn’t manage to complete their run for the playoffs.

Gortat: At times I’m worried that if we’re still going to function in the same way, it’s conceivable that we lose this season. I know that while Nene and Kris are out, I’ve got more playing time and more opportunities to bump my stats, but playing like that costs me a lot more in health and nerves. The truth is, even though Jared Dudley and Otto Porter boost our offense big time, and stretch the game when playing power forward, it’s extremely difficult to stand on your own on defense against bigger and stronger opponents. In situations where I have to guard my matchup and remember to help every time, when, for example, the opponent lobs the pass behind Jared’s back, I end up getting stuck between two players. Often it’s too late to do anything about it, and we lose points. That’s frustrating.

Tymiński: What are the chances, the Wizards make some trades to save the season?

Gortat: You have to remember that the NBA is a business where trades aren’t negotiated with the players. They have to face the facts. I feel like some signings or trades can happen as we need healthy players. In the current situation, it’s going to be really hard to stabilize our game and come back to the top.


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.