Gortat: "This is a huge opportunity for me"
For a player who was heralded for his offseason workouts with the Wizards and the opportunity to start, Kevin Seraphin still will find himself as a reserve.
And he's OK with that going into his fourth season.
The loss of Emeka Okafor to a herniated disk forced the Wizards to trade for Marcin Gortat over the weekend. He'll likely assume the starting role even though Gortat only will have had two practices with his new team before Wednesday's season-opener at the Detroit Pistons (CSN, 7:30 p.m. ET).
"Now we're really solid inside. He really just take the spot of Mek," Seraphin said upon hearing the news and maybe even playing fewer minutes than expected. "That don't really matter. Thats the NBA. ... It's about opportunity. It's about challenges all the time. Unless you're a superstar you can't think like, 'No that's my spot.' You can be gone in a minute. I know he's coming. Stay focused, keep doing what I'm doing. ... Nothing chnages."
Coach Randy Wittman had a laundry list of things for Seraphin to improve upon: Rebound better, stop the careless passes, read the double-teams quicker, be decisive.
Okafor will be missed not just for what he did in spearheading a top 10 scoring defense for the Wizards. Seraphin has other reasons that go beyond basketball:
"He helped me a lot on the defense part he would tell me about my footwork. How you should put your step. On the rebounds, he would keep challenging me. During the game he was like, 'I betcha you can't get six or seven rebounds in five minutes?' We would just keep challenging ourselves. That's what I liked with Mek. Always positive. Sometimes when I was not playing, I was down, (and he'd say) 'I've been in this league a long time, just keep working.' Sometimes you don't play. The day after you play 48 minutes. He would just stay positive with me. thats why I like him a lot. I would just listen to him.
"On the money (advice), too. That's a really smart guy. I would ask him all the time, 'how do you invest your money. What you do?'
Having the extra big body in practice, especially given the fragile nature of Nene, should give Seraphin better reps in practicing.
"I have two guys. Gortat can score, too. He can pass the ball," Seraphin said. "He can do a lot of stuff on the court so now I'm going to have to play against two smart guys now, Nene and him."