As the season starts to unwind, there are several underlying issues that the Wizards have yet to address from a roster stability standpoint. One of those is their lack of depth in the front-court. Emeka Okafor’s neck injury has ended up being quite a backbreaker for a once hopeful Wizards squad. Conventional wisdom says that the Wizards should look into some trading options in order to acquire some big man depth. One of the names being mentioned among pundits and Wizards fans is Phoenix Suns center, Marcin Gortat.
Gortat’s career has been quite an escapade. He started his career as a promising backup to likely the best center in basketball, Dwight Howard. As his backup, Gortat did an admirable job filling in as a steady defensive presence while the three-time Defensive Player of the Year sat on the bench.
Gortat got his opportunity to shine as a starting center when he was traded to the Phoenix Suns before the 2011 trade deadline. His offensive success with pick and roll aficionado, Steve Nash, carried over to the end of the 2011-2012 season. As a pick-and-roll big man, Gortat finished with 4.8 possessions a game which led the league, per synergy.
However, interestingly enough, the Suns were 1.7 points worse with Gortat on the floor. This could be just statistical noise, as Gortat has been known to be good at hedging and he’s a decent shot blocker. The players behind him likely had blown many defensive possessions. However, this is still something to keep in mind.
Gortat’s production fell quite noticeably in 2012-2013, however. His TS%, eFG% and TREB% all went down and he finished with 2.3 possessions a game as a “p&r-roll man”, which was noticeable drop off from his year prior. While this drop off is understandable given the fact that he had not been playing with one of the best pick and roll point guards in the past decade, it brings question just how effective Gortat can be for a team in the future. However, it is also clear that the Suns did not give him a lot of help. For example, Gortat’s effectiveness in pick and roll defense was largely hampered by his teammates inability to support him.
Now, to the ultimate question. Should the Wizards attempt to acquire Gortat in a trade? This is an interesting conundrum for me. While Gortat would definitely be an upgrade over the Wizards back up big men, I am not sure whether he’d be worth his potential asking price. While Ariza’s expiring deal is extremely valuable in this case, I am not comfortable potentially giving up a 1st rounder, even if its protected, for a big like Gortat who’s nearly 30 years old. The Wizards should certainly explore this option, but they must be cautious about what they ultimately decide to do.
Would you guys attempt to swap Trevor Ariza for Marcin Gortat? Let me know in the comment section.
*Credit to Adam Koscielak (@AdamKoscielak) for providing some information on Marcin Gortat*