Washington Wizards: Marcin Gortat is still key to success

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 25: Marcin Gortat
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 25: Marcin Gortat /

While the Washington Wizards are off to a solid start to the 2017-18 season, Marcin Gortat is playing a huge role in keeping the team’s defense up to par.

The Washington Wizards are an offensive powerhouse, nobody is doubting that. However, their defense last year left more puzzling questions than answers about what the solution would be heading into the next season. Bringing aboard a competent backup point guard in Tim Frazier and other improvements in the rotation seemed to really tap into this team’s offensive strengths.

What may have gone unnoticed through the Wizards’ first six games is how pivotal Marcin Gortat has been. The big picture is what is becoming troubling, that he will not be sticking around for much longer.

The Polish Machine is nothing less than an asset to the Washington Wizards as long as he remains there. Age catches up to everyone, but Gortat seems to be putting in a full-fledged effort to combat that with excellent stats and contributions when the team needs it most.

This season Marcin Gortat is on pace to average a double-double for the second consecutive year, and just the third time in his career. After just six games, he is averaging 12.3 points, 9.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.0 blocks per game.

He is also currently shooting 57.1 percent from the field, which is still above his career average, but is also shooting below his career average at the free throw line with just 62.5 percent of those attempts going through.

Let’s take a look at some other interesting numbers and see how valuable Gortat really is to the Washington Wizards, especially while Markieff Morris has been sidelined due to injury.

The Polish Machine will not slow down

Marcin Gortat is playing far better than what first meets the eye when you take a deep dive into the numbers. He’s been so good, in fact, that the only player that statistically blows him out of the water is the $104 million man Otto Porter.

Gortat is currently sporting a offensive rating of 118, and the only player ranking higher with substantial minutes is Porter with a ridiculous rating of 133. On the defensive side, Gortat currently holds a defensive rating of 102, holding a three-way tie at this number between himself, Ian Mahinmi and Tim Frazier, with Otto Porter once more leading the pack at a 97 defensive rating.

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While the game plan is not exactly focused around Gortat, accompanied by the fact that he is the clear veteran on this team, it speaks to how hard he works on both ends of the court and he simply does not care what Father Time” has to say about it.

As far as Defensive Box Plus-Minus you will once again find Gortat among the top, with a +2.5 DBPM only being led by Mahinmi and Porter. Gortat is still averaging as many minutes per game as you would expect from a guy nicknamed the “Polish Machine,” as he is clocking in 31 minutes per game.

As a team, the Washington Wizards are struggling in other defensive areas of their game. They currently rank 26th in defensive rebounds, 24th in total rebounds and 14th in blocks. To make matters worse, their opponents rank among the best in the league in regards to their 3-point percentage, points per game, steals and rebounding across the board.

The Wizards as a team currently hold a defensive rating of 99.6 though, placing them eighth in the league.

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It should be easy to see that without Gortat on the court for a hefty 31 minutes per game, the Washington Wizards very well would be a much different team and perhaps struggling to rank among the best in the Eastern Conference.