There have been a lot of frustrations so far this year with the lackluster play from the Center position for the Washington Wizards. It’s the weakest position on the team by far and, amazingly (or depressingly), that hole in the roster is costing us $34 million this season.
Particularly disheartening is watching Marcin Gortat, the so-called “Polish Hammer,” constantly throwing up Charmin-soft bunnies that routinely get hammered back into his face. You’d think that getting someone so big the ball within a few feet of the hoop would be an automatic deuce, and yet, this season, it’s been just as likely to result in a fast-break the other way. This trend has earned the starting 7-footer a collection of dirty looks from the Point Guard, incredulous to see a beautiful set-up vanish into thin-air. No doubt, this has fueled the tension and discord between John Wall and Gortat that has disrupt the team’s cohesion this year.
The low-point was during last week’s Wizards-Raptors game when Gortat caught a pass in the lane, turned towards the basket, and had his shot capped by six-foot-nothing doughboy Kyle Lowry. After that embarrassment, I decided to take a closer look at the numbers to confirm that the stats validated what I was seeing. They did.
Here are the league leaders at getting rejected, in terms of percentage of shots they put up that get blocked (min. 250 FG attempts):
There’s Marcin Gortat at number 4. It make sense for there to be a lot of centers at the top of the list, since they take a look of shots in the paint, where the rim protectors roam. But interestingly, among the other Centers near the top of this list (e.g. Capela, Howard, Whiteside), Gortat is the only one who averages less than 10 PPG. A big reason for that? He’s going to the free throw-line far less often, probably because he goes up so soft with the ball.
Conclusion: If Marcin Gortat, perpetually salty about the love he gets from the team and fans, wants more respect, than maybe he should get tough again and start banging on people’s heads rather than trying to get by on his not-skilled-enough finesse game.