Last year, Marcin Gortat came up four games short. Or maybe his 50-win prediction was right. The Wizards won 46 regular-season games and then swept the Toronto Raptors in the first round of the playoffs and won twice in the conference semifinals.
The 2-1 start for the Wizards this season, with John Wall and Bradley Beal proving to be one of the top two backcourts in the NBA, has led to the center to reaffirm his belief that they'll be a 50-win team in the regular season. The franchise last won that many games in 1978-79 when they advanced to the NBA Finals.
The play the San Antonio Spurs at home Wednesday (CSN, CSNmidatlantic.com and NBC Sports Live Extra, 6:30 p.m. ET).
“I do believe we are, but it’s going to take another level of focus, concentration, preparation, paying attention to details," Gortat said. "I think we have a chance. … If our bench is going to be a bit more productive and they’re going to give us a little bit more, I truly believe we can hit that 50th win of the season. We might be good. I truly believe that.”
The reserves only contributed 14 points in the opener, an 88-87 win at the Orlando Magic, but responded with 53 in a 118-113 win at the Milwaukee Bucks and 32 in a 117-110 loss to the New York Knicks.
Ramon Sessions is averaging 11.3 point as Wall's backup and Gary Neal has added 8.3 behind Beal.
“We’ve changed the style and the problem is we got to get used to certain things. Like, Kris (Humphries) is a hustle player but he’s really not a transition player," Gortat said. "He’s going to run up and down from block to block or from a three-point line to three-point line. It’s going to take a while. It’s about being comfortable with everything you do. I feel comfortable but that’s how I played in Phoenix. That’s how I played in Orlando, especially with my unit because with Dwight (Howard) we throw the ball inside. With me I’m just setting screens and rolling to the basket. I’ve been playing that way my entire life."
The 22-8 start last season was misleading. The Wizards had a soft schedule to begin the season. This time, it's flip-flopped. If they can get out of 2015 with 17-18 wins, that would bode well for making good on Gortat's prediction.
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