Wake-up call: Increased role for Gortat means what for Nene?

Wake-up call: Increased role for Gortat means what for Nene?
May 23, 2014, 6:00 am
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(USA TODAY Sports)

An obvious issue for the Wizards to address, if they're able to keep Marcin Gortat as they hope, is how does he fit into the big picture going forward. The unrestricted free agent has made it clear that he wants a bigger role in the offense as a condition for him returning.

The Wizards run most of their offense through Nene in the low post, but he missed 29 games this season because of injuries to his foot and knee. Though the pair played well off each other and had a good chemistry, Gortat can get lost in the shuffle. Whether that's his doing or anything strategical is a matter for debate. This is Gortat's take

Coach Randy Wittman didn't put much stock into Gortat's latest remarks about being used as a "decoy" in Games 3 and 4 of their East semifinal series when he scored a total of just six points.

Wittman, who took exception to Gortat's complaints about how he was being used in December, reiterated his position that's not the issue. It's about Gortat's aggressiveness engagement in the offense. 

"That's March being March," Wittman said of the "decoy" remarks. 

How -- if? -- Wittman can find a happy balance with the Polish Hammer will be key to his returning. For months, it has been evident that the Wizards plan on keeping Gortat around.

Gortat maintains once he has job security, he plans on being  even more vocal which could create some interesting banter.

"You had to get to know him. He got here so late in the process at the start of the year," said Wittman, who acquired Gortat via trade just days before the season began after Emeka Okafor went down with a herniated disk in his neck. "As a coach, looking from afar you always kind of have an idea of how he is. ... As the year wore on all those things worked itself in.

"Being able to bring him here was huge for us and our success. He had a lot to do with that. There was no big learning curve to work him in. He fit in well. I thought he and Nene fit in well together. Having a point guard like John would be up his alley. He needs someone like that, a willing passer, getting him in pick-and-rolls."

If Gortat stays, it'll be a give-and-take. Some games, he's going to get the space to dominate because of the attention drawn by Nene. Other games, especially those when Nene inevitably will miss because of injury, Gortat will have the stage all to himself. It's doubtful he'll average 20 points and 12 rebounds. The best-case scenario probably will be 16 and 10 which can be All-Star numbers for today's centers. 

The way the Wizards are constructed, no one player is the focal point each night. And 16 and 10 would be better than Nene. 

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