Marcin Gortat: All-Star center?

Posted by on January 26th, 8:50 pm

Is Marcin Gortat an All-Star?

It’s a relatively simple question, but one without a simple answer. For any player being considered for the All Star Game, there are three factors in play: statistics, reputation, and popularity. In each of these categories, players compete against one another to determine who will represent their respective conferences in the game. Let’s see how Marcin stacks up in each of these areas.

Statistics

Gortat is at or near the top in most major statistical categories among Western Conference centers. His 15.4 points per game are third behind Los Angeles’ Andrew Bynum (16.1) and Utah’s Al Jefferson (18.3). He is a more efficient scorer than Bynum though, as his scoring per 48 minutes is higher. Gortat is dominating all his Western Conference competition at the center spot in FG% though. He is converting a blistering 59 percent of his field goal attempts. On the glass, Marcin is 11th overall in the league at 9.9 per game and 15.5 per 48 minutes. He is behind Marc Gasol and Andrew Bynum in boards per game.

Perhaps the most telling statistic is PER. For the uninitiated, PER or Player Efficiency Rating, is a stat calculated by ESPN’s John Hollinger to rate a player’s per minute contributions. Gortat’s 23.18 PER is 13th best in the entire NBA, third among all centers, first among Western Conference centers, and almost a point higher than his teammate Steve Nash (22.51). If any one statistic was going to make the case for Gortat as an All-Star, it would be his PER.

Reputation

It may be because Marcin is one of only two bright spots on a usually sparkling Suns’ roster, but the big man from Poland has started to get some recognition around the league. After spending 3 ½ seasons as Dwight Howard’s backup in Orlando, Gortat has stepped out of the shadows and into the spotlight. His play since coming to Phoenix has been spectacular, and he continues to improve. He has built a formidable rep on both ends of the floor, and though he may not be the caliber player of his former teammate Howard, he can certainly hold his own against the rest of the Western Conference centers.

His main competitors for an All-Star spot are Andrew Bynum, Marc Gasol, and Al Jefferson. Bynum has a strong reputation because he plays for the Lakers and has two rings, but he is also known for being injury prone and inconsistent. Marc Gasol’s reputation is on a high note as he just signed a big contract and is playing well despite the absence of his front court mate, Zach Randolph. Al Jefferson is still trying to establish his reputation in Utah as both he and his team have had some upheaval in recent seasons. Jefferson is playing very well to start off the year though.

This category is most important for coach selection. The likely candidates are Scott Brooks and George Karl based on their team’s record. Both coaches have seen Gortat play, so the question becomes, will his reputation and statistical production be enough to put him over the top of his competition in the mind of the coach? That remains to be seen.

Popularity

You can’t argue with the fact that the NBA gets its fans involved by allowing them to vote for the All-Star Game starters. You also can’t argue that the fan vote turns the game into a popularity contest. Marcin wouldn’t have had a chance of being selected as starting center in the past because everyone’s favorite Chinese big man, Yao Ming, was voted in by a large margin year after year despite being too injured to play for the last several. Even though Yao is not on the ballot this year, Gortat will still have a hard time being voted in by the fans.

According to InsideHoops.com, Andrew Bynum and the Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan have close to a million votes between them. Marcin has 92,000 and change. Unless the people of Phoenix and Poland unite for a huge push before the January 31 deadline, it is unlikely Gortat will start. Not because he hasn’t earned the spot, but because Los Angeles is a bigger market with more free time on its hands.

Since Bynum seems like a shoe in for the starting center, it will come down to Gortat, Jefferson, and Marc Gasol for the backup spot (it’s unlikely the coach will want three centers). You could make a strong case for all three players, but if it were up to me, I would choose Gortat over Gasol because he has been slightly better thus far this year, even though he has a weaker supporting cast. I would also choose him over Jefferson despite Big Al’s better scoring numbers because Gortat is a better rebounder, more efficient shooter, and better on the defensive end. I’m sure most Suns fans would agree with me, but unfortunately they’ll just have to wait until February to find out. Until then, let’s look at how Gortat being selected might impact the future of the franchise.

“Help us Marcin Gortat, you’re our only hope.”

Because the Suns won’t have Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia to help attract free agents in the offseason, they’ll have to hold out hope they’ll have an All-Star center. Marcin being selected to represent the West wouldn’t just be a bright spot in a relatively dismal season, it would also be a beacon to beckon next summer’s free agents to Phoenix. Why did LeBron go to Miami? Other than the amazing take-out food, what drew Carmelo to New York? How did the Big Three get together in Boston? If your answer to the last question was a sweetheart deal by former teammates Kevin McHale and Danny Ainge, you’re not wrong, but the answer to all of these questions is: because the team had a star in place. Dwyane Wade in Miami, Amare Stoudemire in New York, and Paul Pierce in Boston.

None of those teams were title contenders before they added their second or third star. But having that first star in place is what made them an attractive destination. Could Marcin Gortat be that guy? The answer is a firm “maybe.” Being selected to the All-Star Game would put Gortat in the class of the top four or five centers in the league. That is definitely an attractive piece to potential offseason additions. Add in what is sure to be a high draft pick in a loaded class, a well-respected coach in Alvin Gentry, and all the sunshine a man could ask for and Phoenix starts to look like an enticing situation.

The truth about the state of the league is this: big-time players want to land in big markets. The problem is, most of the big market teams, Knicks, Lakers, Celtics, etc. have terrible cap situations. This is a boon to Phoenix’s chances. They have a passionate fan base, great weather, and a tradition of exciting basketball. That means the Suns, with a franchise/All-Star center could be contenders next season should a great player choose to “take their talents” to the Valley of the Sun. Gortat’s selection to the All-Star team is just the first of several breaks the Suns will need to land a marquee guy, but as we’ve all seen before in the NBA, anything is possible. So do your duty as a Suns fan. Go Vote!

Ryan Weisert

Ryan Weisert is a staff writer for ValleyoftheSuns. You can also find him at his sports and pop culture blog Spectavius.com.

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Tags: All-Star Weekend · Marcin Gortat · Phoenix Suns · Phoenix Suns Analysis

35 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Grover // Jan 26, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    Great topic, but you stole our argument from a previous thread!

    I agree Gortat is in the running for a coaches pick for All Star (with Bynum being the fan vote), but I think Marc Gasol will get the nod instead. Gasol’s offensive game is more advanced, particularly his passing and ability to involve his teammates. I think the coaches will lean towards his intangibles over Gortat’s stats.

    The All Star game is just a popularity contest, so I don’t think free agents will be influenced by Gortat whether or not is in the All Star game. These guys play head to head and don’t need fans to vote who’s capable of helping them go deep in the playoffs. They know.

  • 2 Scott // Jan 26, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    If Gortat could start scoring 30, the Suns would probably start winning games.

  • 3 Grover // Jan 26, 2012 at 11:58 pm

    Coincidentally, the Inside the NBA guys were debating after the Memphis/Clipper game where Marc Gasol fell on the ranking of centers (#1 was obviously Howard). Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson were guiding the conversation to Gasol being #2 over Bynum. Charles wouldn’t commit… wanted to think about it. They didn’t seem to have any hesitations whatsoever that those were the top three… just debating Bynum then Gasol or Gasol then Bynum. Never mentioned Gortat (though granted he didn’t just play a game on TNT).

    I’m not saying they’re right just because they’re on TV. I do think they are representing the impressions of most of the coaches and NBA analysts. I don’t think that bodes well for Gortat’s All Star chances, especially with Memphis doing well and Phoenix losing. For Gortat to make the All Star game, I think he needs to go on a rampage and make his stats too hard to ignore. Maybe he doesn’t beat out Gasol, but maybe he forces the coaches hand to take 3 centers in the West.

    Or there is always the Bynum injury… you know it’s coming.

  • 4 Fire Alvin Gentry // Jan 27, 2012 at 12:18 am

    I just hope Suns origination is reading this. Please………………………….. for the love of God, hire someone we can call coach. No, Gentry cannot be called a coach because he cannot coach to save his life. Simply look at this record before he coached Suns. And don’t forget.. whatever games we did win in the playoff had NOTHING to do with him. Nash ran the whole game and with any decent coach we could do so much better.

  • 5 bk // Jan 27, 2012 at 12:20 am

    4. pay…. all star should be in an around $10M salary.

  • 6 steve // Jan 27, 2012 at 1:03 am

    The numbers say Gortat. It’s not even all that debatable. Popular opinion almost always goes against reason though. I’m expecting a snub for Gortat, but that might be a good thing. It could get people talking about him and it could motivate him even more.

  • 7 Tony // Jan 27, 2012 at 2:00 am

    Gentry should not be blamed for this Suns seasons’ fiasco. While I admit he’s far from a great coach, look at what he has to work with. He has two legitimate starters in Nash and Gortat, and the rest of the team is filled with role players.

    Take the pf position for example. Gentry originally started Frye at PF but that obviously didn’t pan out well. So, then he changed the lineup and started a then red-hot Morris at PF and brought Frye off the bench. This had a worse result because in addition to Morris playing poorly as a starter, Frye is playing even worse coming off the bench. So what’s Gentry to do? He’s already talked about switching back and starting Frye, but this has more to do with getting Morris back to playing well than it does with Frye becoming an effective starter.

    Gentry simply doesn’t have the talent required to coach even an 8th seed playoff team. Some people would prefer to ignore the root cause of the lack of talent on this Suns team, but it’s just reality.

  • 8 Tony // Jan 27, 2012 at 2:05 am

    Gortat is having a terrific season, there’s no question about that. His off-season work with “The Dream” has really paid off as his post-game is dramatically improved.

    With all that being said, Bynum and Gasol are better than Gortat at this point and since both players respective teams have better records than the Suns, I expect them to be selected to the All-Star game at the expense of Gortat. Gortat also has to show he can be effective without always being spoon-fed by Nash. The overwhelming majority of his points are the result of Nash assists. As such, if Gortat can continue developing his post game and consistently score without Nash putting him in great position to score, then Gortat will probably get more acknowledgment as a top center.

  • 9 Morgan McCoy // Jan 27, 2012 at 9:14 am

    Do not blame Alvin Gentry. How can you say Gentry can’t coach when his first full season he almost led them to a title. How did he do that??? He played his bench and young players. He played the hot hand by keeping certain bench line ups in longer if they were playing well. Would D’Antoni do that? Hell no! Nor, would a lot of coaches. His roster in Detroit when he took over the team from Collins:

    Pos Ht Wt Birth Date Exp College
    8 Bison Dele F-C 6-9 235 April 6, 1969 6 University of Arizona
    4 Joe Dumars G 6-3 190 May 24, 1963 12 McNeese State University
    12 Steve Henson G 5-11 177 February 2, 1968 5 Kansas State University
    33 Grant Hill F 6-8 225 October 5, 1972 3 Duke University
    1 Lindsey Hunter G 6-2 170 December 3, 1970 4 Jackson State University
    43 Grant Long F 6-8 225 March 12, 1966 9 Eastern Michigan University
    44 Rick Mahorn C-F 6-10 240 September 21, 1958 16 Hampton University
    23 Aaron McKie G 6-5 209 October 2, 1972 3 Temple University
    00 Eric Montross C 7-0 270 September 23, 1971 3 University of North Carolina
    5 Charles O’Bannon G-F 6-5 209 February 22, 1975 R University of California, Los Angeles
    31 Scot Pollard C 6-11 265 February 12, 1975 R University of Kansas
    42 Theo Ratliff C-F 6-10 225 April 17, 1973 2 University of Wyoming
    52 Don Reid F 6-8 250 December 30, 1973 2 Georgetown University
    14 Malik Sealy G 6-8 190 February 1, 1970 5 St. John’s University
    42 Jerry Stackhouse G-F 6-6 218 November 5, 1974 2 University of North Carolina
    13 Jerome Williams F 6-9

    That is not a winning team! You have an amazing hill before he got hurt, but that is it. Dumars was over the hill and stackhouse was solid, and Dele was a solid pf, but didn’t a good pg, which you need if you are running a half court offense.

    The roster he inherited with the clippers:

    Earl Boykins G 5-5 135 June 2, 1976 2 Eastern Michigan University
    1 Keyon Dooling G 6-3 196 May 8, 1980 R University of Missouri
    25 Zendon Hamilton F 6-11 250 April 27, 1975 R St. John’s University
    50 Corey Maggette F 6-6 218 November 12, 1979 1 Duke University
    5 Jeff McInnis G 6-4 190 October 22, 1974 3 University of North Carolina
    21 Darius Miles F 6-9 210 October 9, 1981 R
    8 Tyrone Nesby F 6-6 225 January 31, 1976 2 University of Nevada, Las Vegas
    7 Lamar Odom F 6-10 220 November 6, 1979 1 University of Rhode Island
    34 Michael Olowokandi C 7-0 269 April 3, 1975 2 University of the Pacific
    44 Cherokee Parks C-F 6-11 235 October 11, 1972 5 Duke University
    52 Eric Piatkowski G-F 6-7 215 September 30, 1970 6 University of Nebraska
    3 Quentin Richardson G 6-6 223 April 13, 1980 R DePaul University
    45 Sean Rooks C 6-10 250 September 9, 1969 8 University of Arizona
    32 Brian Skinner F 6-9 255 May 19, 1976 2 Baylor University
    30 Derek Strong F

    A TERRIBLE TEAM!!!!

    Gentry is not the issue. I had hope like everyone else at the beginning of the year, but the fact is we have a lot of role players that can’t step up this year. Its hard to swallow, but even nash has said it. Gentry is not the issue, however wonder if he is going to get axed at the end of the year.

  • 10 steve // Jan 27, 2012 at 9:16 am

    “Bynum and Gasol are better.”

    Please do tell how you came to that conclusion. Certainly you’ve got something to back you up besides “I think,” and certainly you’re not ignoring the fact that Gortat’s numbers are better than both Bynum and Gasol.

  • 11 sun also rises // Jan 27, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    “Gentry simply doesn’t have the talent required to coach even an 8th seed playoff team. Some people would prefer to ignore the root cause of the lack of talent on this Suns team, but it’s just reality.”

    This coming from a guy who took issue with people saying Gentry should be fired two weeks ago. Way to start waffling like a Laker fan, bozo.

  • 12 shazam // Jan 27, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    oh look steve and sun also rises posting negatives together again…they are the same people….sitting in a tree k i s s i n g

  • 13 Tony // Jan 27, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    Shazam,

    I think you’re right, Steve and Sun Loser are really the same person. Both have nothing intelligent to post, both resort to name calling and insults to validate their pathetic arguments, and both live in a fantasy world where Sarver is their massiah.

    Steve,
    I know you don’t know much about basketaball, but are you seriously arguing Gortat is better than Bynum or Gasol? Gortat has shown dramatic improvement in his post-game so far, but his points are still mostly dependent on Nash spoon-feeding him for easy baskets.
    Secondly, where are you getting your stats from? Gortat is averaging 15.1 ppg, 9.9rpg, and 1.7blocks per game. Gasol is averaging 14.9ppg, but he is averaging 10.3rbg and 2.2bpg. Bynum is averaging 16.1ppg, 12.7rpg, and 1.9bpg.
    My suggestion, before you post your pointless garbage, you might want to recheck your facts.

    Sun Loser,

    you really are too stupid to even argue with. However, I will attempt to respond to you nonsensical post.
    I don’t blame Gentry for the Suns horrible season. I never blamed Gentry so I don’t know where you’re getting this insane notion that I am “waffling.”
    It’s okay Steve, I mean Sun Loser, I know you live in some kind of fantasy loser world, so it’s cool. Try again.

  • 14 steve // Jan 27, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    Tony, read comment 47 and 48 from a few threads ago. I compared the Gasols, Gortat, and Bynum. I had no idea how the matchup would go when I began the process, but it turned out that if there was a winner, Gortat was clearly the winner by the numbers. I’ll copy and paste it into here later to make it easier for you. Honestly, please, try to use your brain and be objective rather than just assume you should disagree with everything I say. I’m leaving opinions out and only looking at numbers, and Gortat comes out on top.

  • 15 steve // Jan 27, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    Rather than assuming that certain players are better than others based on what we think (I’m not saying you are assuming, just leading into the fact that I’ll be using numbers to back up claims), let’s look at some numbers for this season:

    PPG/RPG/PER/WS48/TRB%/TS%

    A. 16.2/9.4/19.8/.181/14.0/.560
    B. 15.4/9.9/23.1/.189/17.9/.603
    C. 14.7/10.2/20.3/.195/15.6/.574
    D. 16.1/12.7/21.1/.169/20.8/.550

    Which is those centers is the best? I certainly can’t tell from that. Let’s look at their relative ranks in each category and add up the point total, lowest being best.

    A. 1/4/4/3/4/3 = 19
    B. 3/3/1/2/2/1 = 12
    C. 4/2/3/1/3/2 = 15
    D. 2/1/2/4/1/4 = 14

    By comparing them directly against each other, the picture becomes a little more clear, in my opinion. A is definitely trailing the others, and if I had to give the nod to anyone being the best, I think it has to go to player B (although they are all admittedly close).

    By taking away their names and our preconceived notions, I think we can more easily see who is playing best this year. I wasn’t sure how this was going to work out before I did it, but I had my suspicions. Can you guess which player is which?

    For the record, I’d take Pau over Marcin. Pau is obviously unhappy in LA and isn’t being fully utilized this year. I would LOVE a healthy Bynum, and it’d be a toss-up between healthy Bynum and Marcin. Marc Gasol? Meh. He’s good. He’s not an all-star, and I don’t think I’d take him over Marcin. He’s a well-rounded player (just like all of these centers), but he lacks an elite skill, in my opinion.

    You’re going to keep being tired of hearing Gortat’s name thrown around as if he’s a franchise cornerstone because he is that type of player already (not potentially, he is). He could easily be a #2 option on a great team (if by cornerstone you mean #1 option on a great team constantly contending for championships, then I agree that Marcin is not a cornerstone. I just don’t think “cornerstone” has to mean “Kobe Bryant” or “Tim Duncan”). Regardless of whether or not you’d take A, B, C, or D, though, they all belong in the conversation, and Marcin is one of them.

    So, who would you all take? I’d go with B.

    Read more: http://valleyofthesuns.com/2012/01/25/toronto-raptors-99-phoenix-suns-96-road-trip-hangover/#ixzz1khJVnWO3

  • 16 steve // Jan 27, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    Also, I think it’s hilarious you think sun also rises and I are the same person. First, we’ve both been on here for multiple years, and that’s a heck of a long time to keep up an act that you’ve only been a part of for the past few weeks. Second, we’ve had plenty of disagreements in the past. Anybody with as strong of opinions as us and who are as forthcoming as we are have certainly had our disputes. I’m pretty sure I’ve been in an argument with every one of the regulars here. But none of them have been as petty as you two about our disagreements, and none of them have ever been so absurd. You remind me a lot of a guy named Larry who showed up shortly after VC came to town, and a little bit of Marley, the moron who comes around every time there is a VC sighting around the Suns. Third, if anyone is the same person, I would think it would be you two. Now, I’m not going to actually accuse you of that because your writing styles are very different, and you each have been around long enough that I don’t think you’d be keeping up this act for the sole purpose of annoying me… but it is very strange that your posts have been coming within an hour of each other consistently for the past few weeks. Again, I’m not accusing you of that, but it seems much more plausible than the idea that sun also rises and I are the same person for the reasons I outlined above.

    PS – Have fun trying to figure out a way you can prove Gasol or Bynum are better than Gortat. My guess is that you’ll never be able to do it with numbers, logic, and reason, but I’d be glad to see you attempt to exercise those mediums (would it be “media” in this instance? Plurals in the English language are so weird).

  • 17 shazam // Jan 27, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    im not tony but my sole purpose IS to annoy you steve…why?..because its easy and very funny how much effort you put in to responding but most importantly..youre condescending tone to others on this site annoys them so i add a little balance….there is nothing you can say to upset me..i dont even believe half of what i write…sad part is steve you are a smart guy that makes very good points but you do it in such a douche way that annoying you back has become a sport in itself

  • 18 shazam // Jan 27, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    besides what else is there to do this year besides annoy you back steve?…chatting about the suns is a waste of time…they are nothing more than a looted franchise trying to keep a con going for turnstile purposes

  • 19 steve // Jan 27, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    Fair enough. I know I care way too much the conclusions and thought processes of others, but believe or not it’s fun for me as well to go through the process of tearing someone else’s argument apart. Perhaps I’ll tone it down a notch with you two though.

  • 20 shazam // Jan 27, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    test test 1,2…testing testing 1,2 ROBERT SARVER sucks as an owner peace steve just goofing on you
    :)

  • 21 shazam // Jan 27, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    and just so we are on the same page (if you care)…tearing apart and dissecting peoples arguments isnt the issue…its your habit of character assassinations directed at the people whos arguments you are tearing apart…once that door is open it gives jerks like me a license to character assassinate you with out upsetting others

  • 22 Tony // Jan 27, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    Steve,

    Besides your usually dribble, Sun Loser also seems to post very near the same time frame as you do. Now, for the record, I don’t really believe you and Sun Loser are the same person, as even though you are one hundred percent wrong on Sarver, Sun Loser goes straight into overt personal attacks whereas you are more subtle with them.

    Your stats are silly. All you did was include a couple statistical indicators where Gortat was better than Bynum and Gasol and used that as proof that Gortat is better. That’s ridiculous.

    Look, Gortat is becoming a very good player, I have no doubt about that. In particular, out of every Sun player, Gortat easily has shown the most improvement since last season. His foot work in the post is 100% better.

    With that being said, I’m not convinced he would be even half as effective offensively if he didn’t have Nash spoon-feeding him easy bucket after easy bucket. Nash alluded to this himself the other day when he said teams are staying home on the Suns perimeter players when Nash and Gortat run the screen and roll and are making Gortat the scorer.

    As far as building around Gortat, he’s already 27, and turning 28 this season. He’s in his prime now! So, by the time the Suns rebuild, if they ever rebuild with your good friend and probably employer Robert Sarver, Gortat will probably be in his 30s, past his prime. You also have to take into consideration that he’s one of the more athletic bigs, who relies on his athleticism and that’s the first thing to go as players age.

  • 23 shazam // Jan 27, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    @ tony u and i are friends and seem to agree on most things but if we are ever going to semi get along w/ steve maybe we shouldnt bait him so much “your good friend and probably employer Robert Sarver”…steve basically came out and said he was going to go a little easier on us…how can he when he is being directly incited like that?…if name calling with out any sight of resolution or the ability to say we agree to disagree will turn this site in to a complete waste of time..why not us all just taking a step back and give some time to see if anyone truly cares about moderating their tone…i for 1 do but if i dont get respect back then ill just go in to full on shazam character..i tried this tact a few weeks ago with a missive about steve posting what he didnt like about sarver and to his credit he complied but then in the same response he included insults to you…now tony im asking you to take a step back and see if steve honors his promise to go easier

  • 24 steve // Jan 27, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    I just gathered some of what I consider the most important indicators of a quality player at random. I had no idea how gortat would stack up to the others before then. Well, I had an idea, then it turned out my idea wad right. Choose some other stats if you want. I’ll bet gortat will still come out on top.

    Fyi, he is assisted much more often than either gasol or bynum near at the rim, and marginally more assisted as you get further from the hoop…. However, gortat’s production and efficiency from further ranges still outpaces gasol and bynum even though he is assisted much less from further ranges than he is at the rim… Any way you shake it, your argument has no right answer. You’re guessing Gortat wouldn’t be as good if he wasn’t fed easy buckets (and that gasol and bynum would be better if they were fed easy buckets). I’m just telling you how it is. Pick five or six metrics you think are more important than the ones I chose and out these guys head to head. I won’t be surprised if gortat still comes out on top… Or you can continue to just state your opinion with nothing to back it.

  • 25 steve // Jan 27, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    *put* them head to head. Unless you have a number, then it’s just going to get to be a shouting match more quickly. Numbers at least provide a basis for reason other than “because I said so.”

  • 26 shazam // Jan 27, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    yikes…i just agreed with steve

  • 27 Grover // Jan 28, 2012 at 1:02 am

    Steve – your focusing too hard on stats. There is no such thing as numbers to prove players are better than others. Stats are good indicators for similar style players (e.g., you can’t use scoring and shooting stats to try and prove an offensive center like Bargani in Toronto is better than a defensive center like Chandler in NY), but you also have to use your eyes. Unfortunately that means you’ll get a lot of “I think” when we’re discussing players like we are here. Nothing can be proven when comparing players whole contribution.

    One number you didn’t post when comparing Gortat to other centers is assist. Gortat’s assist numbers are not impressive. In his defense, assist numbers on a Nash team tend to be low for many players as Nash dominates the ball and phoenix doesn’t use a passing or motion offense that calls on bigs to distribute.

    More importantly than the actual assist numbers, however, is just to watch them play. Gortat isn’t a great passer and he doesn’t seem to have a good feel for where other players are moving. He’s great as the dive man on pick and rolls, but you really dont see him starting effective ball movement. His outlet passes rarely spark the offense. He’s not bad, just not inspiring.

    Compare Gortat’s passing to Marc Gasol or Kevin Love. I actually don’t know how many more assists they average than Gortat, but I can tell you from watching them that they are much more advanced passers. Their outlet passes are creative and spark the offense and they initiate or continue ball movement that makes their offense flow. Thats why I think Gasol will be an all star instead of Gortat. I can’t prove whether that’s right, though. But nobody can prove its not either

    Bynum? He’s a harder one to prove, but interestingly he’s even more obviously an all star (no, I can’t prove it, though i believe he is the leading vote getter for western centers, so many other lemmings agree). If there is a statistic for how many double teams he draws I’d be surprised if he doesn’t lead Gortat in that.

    Fun discussion. Gasol and Gortat are both great centers, I just think Gasol is better right now.

  • 28 steve // Jan 28, 2012 at 7:10 am

    And I would say from the eye test that the stats are right. Gortat has greater range, and a more refined face-up game, in my opinion. Sure, numbers don’t definitively prove player A is better than player B, but they’re hardly ever very far off. In every significant stat I can think of, Gortat is right there with those guys (and even exceeding them).

  • 29 Grover // Jan 28, 2012 at 7:55 am

    Assists. Gasol is #2 in the NBA amongst centers at 3.8 apg while Gortat is #23 among centers at 0.8 apg. He also averages half a steal, half a block, and almost half a rebound more per game and is #2 among centers in efficiency vs Gortat at #6.

    In my opinion Gasol is close to Gortat on individual scoring stats (though not as good) but gets the edge on other stats, plus get my eye test vote.

  • 30 steve // Jan 28, 2012 at 11:08 am

    What efficiency rating is gasol higher in? Last time I checked gortat was tops in the west in PER, which is probably the most commonly used efficiency rating. Either way, I think we can both admit they’re close to each other and both very good. Btw, I find rate statistics more accurate on a per minute basis than per game basis. Per game can get skewed in favor of someone who plays more mpg.

  • 31 Grover // Jan 28, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    I’m not sure what efficiency measure it was – whatever nba.com is using. Im guessing its closer to a TS% than PER. I just used their sortable stats. Definitely agree theyre both playing well this year – both top 5 or 6 centers in the league. At 27/28 years old I would expect either to get too much better than they are today. A little more polish, but nothing earth shattering.

    The one thing that does bother me about Gasol is he looks like a box of donuts away from washing out of the league. Gortat looks the least likely to go Eddie Curry on us.

  • 32 Tony // Jan 28, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    Steve,

    go ahead and take your stats and I will take mine. Both Gasol and Bynum lead Gortat in ppg, rbg, apg, and bpg. Plus, both Bynum and Gasol were integral in getting their teams to the playoffs. Since Gortat’s been with the Suns, how many times has he taken the Suns to the playoffs? Last time I checked, zero 0.

    Shazam,

    I respect your opinion and I know you are cordial to others on this chat board, unless you are provoked by the likes of Steve and Sun Rises. In those times, you are absolutely justified in responding in kind to their insults.

    Steve and that Sun Rises guy were the first to bring insults and I’ve simply responded in kind. So long as they do not start the personal attacks, I have no issue with them at all. But if they continue to post immature and insulting comments about me, I will respond in kind.

    But I do appreciate your comments on the subject. Have a good one.

  • 33 Grover // Jan 28, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    Just got home from the Phx-Memphis Gortat/Gasol head to head. Frankly I thought they both looked like crap. Neither’s stats were bad – roughly on their season average – but based on tonight alone neither looked deserving of an All Stat monicker.

  • 34 steve // Jan 28, 2012 at 11:40 pm

    HE STARTED IT!!!! Oh, tony. You make me laugh.

  • 35 steve // Jan 28, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    Also, why bring up per game stats when I already said why per time stats might be more reliable for direct comparisons between people with comparable mpg? You really just like to pick pointless battles.

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