Getting to know Gortat: 411 on Wizards new center

Getting to know Gortat: 411 on Wizards new center
October 25, 2013, 9:00 pm
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John Wall kept very busy during the off-season

The Wizards acquired center Marcin Gortat and three other players from the Phoenix Suns for Emeka Okafor and a protected 2014 first round pick. Here's the 411 on Washington's newest center.

The basics: 6-foot-11, 240 lbs. ...The 29-year-old hails from Poland ...Entering seventh NBA season.

The stats: Averaged 11.1 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in 61 games last season for the Suns last season. In 357 career games with Orlando and Phoenix, Gortat averaged 8.6 points and 6.9 rebounds while shooting .547 from the field. During the just completed preseason, he averaged 8.0 points, 6.7 rebounds,1.6 blocks and 20 minutes over seven games.

The moves: We can tell you that Gortat is a low post threat with the power and aggression needed to score in traffic and that he has touch to knock down shots from the perimeter - or you can just watch this highlight reel.

Nicknames: "The Polish Hammer" or "The Polish Machine" 

Draft: Selected by the Suns with the 57th overall pick 2005. Phoenix eventually shipped Gortat's rights to Orlando.

NBA Debut: After a stint in the D-League, Gortat played six games for the Magic late in the 2007-08 season.

Breakout: After turning into a competent backup with the Magic, Gortat went to Phoenix in a deal headlined by Vince Carter also joining the Suns and Jason Richardson and Hedo Turkoglu moving to Orlando. In 55 games that season with the Suns, Gortat averaged 13.0 and 9.3 rebounds. He took the stats up a notch the following season with 15.4 points, 10.0 rebounds and 1.5 blocks while shooting 55.5 percent from the field. He joined Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum as the only players that season to post at least 15 points, 10 rebounds and 1.5 blocks.

2012-13: Playing without Steve Nash, Gortat struggled in most phases with Phoenix last season, averaging 11.1 points and 8.5 rebounds in 61 games (blocks rose slightly to 1.6). He also missed the final 21 games, including two against the Wizards, with a right foot injury. That's the same amount of games Nene missed last season in Washington primarily due to a foot injury.

Foreshadowing: Dave King from the blog Bright Side of the Sun wrote the following about Gortat in June after Phoenix drafted former Maryland center Alex Len in the first round of the 2013 NBA Draft:

"While in 2012-13 Gortat proved he's no obstacle to keeping the worst record in the West, there's still the matter of chemistry and player development. Marcin Gortat is not a player development specialist. He doesn't own the locker room, or rally any troops around him. He's not an example for young kids to emulate, as he simply goes about his job and talks more about "I" than "we".

"Gortat wants to win basketball games, and he's not going to do it in the Valley. He needs to be a valuable contributor on a veteran team, playing his role and nothing else."

Injury: Gortat left the Polish national team in August and returned to the U.S. due to lingering pain in his right foot. He played during Eurobasket 2013 the following month.

Ranking: ESPN slotted Gortat 87th among all NBA players, which places him fourth on the Wizards behind John Wall (21), Bradley Beal (73) and Nene (75). Okafor ranked 138 overall.

Social media: Yes, Gortat has a Twitter account - @mgortat. He appears semi-active and more than that on Friday after learning of the deal

Also sounds like he's embracing the idea of pairing with another international big man in the Wizards frontcourt.

International: Represented Poland in 2013 Eurobasket where he faced Jan Vesely's Czech Republic team. In the game, Gortat finished with five points and nine rebounds. Vesely had 23 points and 14 rebounds.

Random: Averaged where both parents starred as athletes, mom as a volleyball player and dad as a light heavyweight boxer in the 1972 and 1976 Olympics (Wikipedia)