2009-2010 Player Evaluation: Marcin Gortat | Magic Basketball



Jun 11

2009-2010 Player Evaluation: Marcin Gortat


Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

Synergy-fueled player evaluations, with the help of other metrics, are always fun.

Today, the centers.

2009-2010 regular season Marcin Gortat
Games Played 81
Minutes Played 13.4
adj. +/- +13.73
net +/- -7.8
statistical +/- -1.73
PER 13.9
WARP 2.3
Win Shares/48 .151

General manager Otis Smith surprised everyone when he matched the Dallas Mavericks’ offer sheet for Marcin Gortat in the off-season. The assumption, at the time before the signing, was that Gortat had priced himself out of Orlando with a career year. However, that ended up not being the case. As such, Gortat made an unexpected return as Dwight Howard‘s back-up. Unfortunately for Gortat, playing in the 2009 Eurobasket for Poland during the summer set him back at the start of the regular season and it never seemed like he fully recovered from playing so much basketball and not giving his body a chance to rest.

Gortat certainly earned the money that the Orlando Magic rewarded him after he played well last year but he was unable to produce in a similar manner this year. The main issues for Gortat was that his total rebound percentage dipped and turnover percentage rose. Also, Gortat didn’t seem to play with the same type of energy and effort he did in 2009. Perhaps that could be attributed simply to the fatigue he was experiencing during the season.

Fortunately for Gortat, he was somewhat able to redeem himself in the 2010 NBA Playoffs by playing well in the midst of Dwight Howard’s foul troubles in the first round against the Charlotte Bobcats. Gortat was also able to make a minor impact in the 2010 NBA Eastern Conference Finals, when head coach Stan Van Gundy decided to utilize him alongside Howard to bolster the Magic’s ability to defend and rebound against the Boston Celtics.

Some people may see Gortat as overpaid but when given ample playing time, he’s proven countless times that he’s capable of putting up a double-double and amassing a few blocks for good measure. Centers with Gortat’s skills are a valuable commodity in the league, which is why Smith brought him back. But will Gortat return next year?

Who knows.

Via Synergy Sports Technology:

2009-2010 regular season Time Poss. PPP* Rank Rating
OVERALL OFFENSE 100% 313 0.94 56% Good
P&R Roll Man 29.7% 93 1.28 90% Excellent
Post-Up 16% 50 0.60 11% Poor
Offensive Rebound (put backs) 15% 47 0.92 20% Below Average
Cut 11.5% 36 1.39 81% Very Good

.563 .533 18.1 2.4 15.0 13.0 113

Gortat isn’t going to impress anybody with his offensive repertoire, mainly because there’s only so much he can do. Gortat has stated many times that he’d like to develop a jumpshot so that he can play alongside Howard much more. However, at this point, Gortat is mostly a pick and roll player. And a damn good one at that, actually. Gortat is able to be successful in the pick and roll because he has great hands and his athletic ability allows him to finish at the rim with authority. Many times during the season in pick and rolls, Gortat would dunk the ball with explosiveness and his teammates on the bench, usually led by Howard if he was resting, would pound their fists against their hands to signal the “Polish Hammer” had been dropped.

Quick disclaimer … Gortat prefers to be called the “Polish Machine.”

In any case, Gortat’s strength on offense is when he’s involved in the pick and roll. Gortat still has work to do with his post game, given that he regressed in that department this year compared to last year. Again, Gortat said that he wanted to develop a jumper and that’s great, but he may need to take one step at a time and master his ability to execute on the low block. That is something Gortat will need to improve on if he ever wants to be relied on offense more. For Gortat, it’s not bad to excel in the pick and roll but certainly he doesn’t want to be a one-dimensional player offensively.

Via Synergy Sports Technology:

2009-2010 regular season Time Poss. PPP* Rank Rating
OVERALL DEFENSE 100% 498 0.84 80% Very Good
P&R Ball Handler (Big Defender) 38.4% 191 0.88 53% Good
Post-Up 24.5% 122 0.80 72% Very Good
Spot-Up 14.1% 70 0.93 61% Good
Isolation 9.2% 46 0.87 46% Average

net def. +/- dMULT opp. PER TRB% STL% BLK%
+1.98 .976 18.2 (vs. C’s) 18.1 0.8 4.8

Defensively, Gortat is no Howard. No one is. Nevertheless, Gortat is a very good defender in his own right, which is one of the main reasons why Smith re-signed him to the mid-level exception. There’s not a lot of guys playing right now that can defend and rebound like Gortat. Centers like him are rare, yet Orlando has the benefit of having two of them on their roster. An embarrassment of riches, indeed.

Gortat, more than anything else, is fundamentally sound on defense. Gortat knows his rotations and assignments, he shows (or hedges) properly on pick and rolls, and he does a great job of protecting the paint when necessary. There’s more Gortat can do, but you get the picture. Gortat doesn’t have the athletic prowess like Howard, which puts him in trouble sometimes when dealing with the likes of LeBron James and others. Still, there’s no doubt that Gortat is one of the better defenders in the league.

Closing thoughts
To be honest, Gortat’s struggles this year can be summed up succinctly … he played too much basketball and didn’t let his body recover properly. If Gortat gets some rest during the summer, there’s no reason why he can’t bounce back. Rest is a valuable thing and it’s something that might do the trick for Gortat, who is capable of playing better than he did this season.

*points per possession

Grade: C+