Marcin Gortat sees the glass not just as half-full, but all the way full when the Wizards are able to get Bradley Beal and Otto Porter back in the lineup.
"We need everybody to perform 110 percent for us every night. We're trying to get guys back, Bradley and Otto, to make sure they're going to be ready to help us out. … Maybe at the end I'm going to be the guy that laughs at some of the people here that we won 50 games."
Yep, he said 50. As in fifty.
Too soon? Did Gortat get caught up in the euphoria of Monday's 98-80 victory vs. the Orlando Magic that put the Wizards at .500 for the first time since 2009?
Maybe, but then he isn't totally off-base to have such optimism. While going into this season predicting 50 wins for a team that hasn't made the playoffs since 2008 might've been laughable, just look at the Eastern Conference. It's loaded with layups: The Milwaukee Bucks are at Verizon Center on Friday, and games at the Atlanta Hawks, New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets, Boston Celtics and Detroit Pistons are on the schedule this month. They've already beaten four of them this season.
Gortat didn't back off of his comments after practice Wednesday.
"I believe. I really do believe we can win 50 games with this team. There's not too many people that believes in this. I know it sounds crazy but I do believe. You'd rather here me saying I want to win 50-plus games than lose 50-plus games. It would be stupid to say, 'Hey, I came here to lose 50 games. I'll be excited if I win 30.' Come on. You know how it is. ... We just got to continue to play together, move the ball, try to play for 48 minutes, don't get excited about easy wins, focus on the big games and make sure we're going to win the games at home."
If the Wizards, who are 9-9, can win eight or nine of their games in December and enter 2014 at 18-11 or 17-12, they'd have a shot in a best-case scenario. That also means assuming the returns of Beal (right fibula) and Porter (right hip flexor) make them that much better, Nene still playing through a sore right Achilles and Al Harrington getting back from his sore right knee.
"I want to hear them believe in themselves, absolutely. That's what it's all about," coach Randy Wittman said. "That's always a good thing. The bottom line is we got to continue doing what we're doing. Results are what matter. I want to see results."
And let's not forget, Eric Maynor. The Wizards' biggest free-agent acquisition hasn't worked out as they'd hoped. New team, new system and new demands. If he can ever get it going and provide the relief for John Wall, then Gortat definitely is on the right track.
But still, that's a lot of ifs. Stay tuned.