As part of CSN's preview for the 2017-18 season, we are looking at each player on the Wizards' roster. Today, we preview Marcin Gortat's season...
Player: Marcin Gortat
2016-17 stats: 82 G, 31.2 mpg, 10.8 ppg, 1.5 apg, 10.4 rpg, 0.5 spg, 0.7 bpg, 57.9 FG%, 00.0 3P%, 64.8 FT%, 57.9 eFG%, 117 ORtg, 108 DRtg
2017-18 storyline: Following the 2016-17 season, Gortat expressed doubt about whether he would be back with the Wizards, knowing he is entering his mid-30s and given the presence of Ian Mahinmi, another capable veteran center. But Gortat wasn't traded and was never close to being dealt. Now he is days away from entering his fifth season with the Wizards, still serving a key role in their starting lineup.
That role is centered around screens and rebounding, two things he did very well this past year. His 10.4 rebounds per game were a career-high and the most for a Wizards player since Brendan Haywood in 2009-10. Gortat posted just the third double-digit rebounding season for a Washington player in the last 20 years. He had 6.2 screen assists per game this past season, tied with Rudy Gobert for the most in the NBA.
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It's a specific role and Gortat is excellent at it. But like any player, his role can expand. For Gortat, that could be as simple as receiving more looks on offense. There were times last season where the Wizards targeted him early for post-up opportunities, to get him in rhythm. On defense, it could be a matter of him just finding more chemistry with Markieff Morris. Or, finding a way to play with Mahinmi on the court at the same time. Defensive rating doesn't tell the whole story, but Gortat's 108 DRtg this past season was far from the 100 and 103 he put up in his first two years with the Wizards.
It should be noted that a healthy Mahinmi will affect Gortat directly. If Mahinmi can stay on the court this season, he will take a good chunk of minutes in the frontcourt and Gortat will have to adjust. Putting up the same rebounding numbers may not be easy, but his abilities to set screens is highly valued by coach Scott Brooks.
Potential to improve: Consistency on offense, free throw shooting, defense.
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