Let the baseline have it's moment.
During the summer, RBTB chastised Orlando's decision to match Dallas' offer and resign Gortat for $34 million for 5 years as a back up center to Dwight Howard. An excerpt:
Matching Dallas' offer to Marcin Gortat makes absolutely no sense. It is of course, due to the long playoff run and extra exposure that Gortat received. Announcers were raving about how he's a great back up Center for Dwight. And he got to cash in with a a hefty $34 million and 5 years and a chance to start in Dallas. Now he'll ride the bench for 5 more years behind Dwight Howard. Here are some facts: Gortat for the season averaged 3.8 points and 4.5 rebounds in 12 minutes per game for 63 games. In the playoffs, he scored in double figures ONCE against Philadelphia in a game where Dwight Howard was suspended, forcing Gortat to start. Against the Lakers in the Finals, he scored 4 points in 4 out of 5 games. In the fifth game (game 3 - the only Orlando win), he scored ZERO points in 4 minutes.Well the Magic are 21 games in and after a win against the LA Clippers where Marcin Gortat played a solid 5 minutes scoring 2 points, an update is in order.
You just don't pay 34 million dollars for someone who produces so little and will only stay a bench player (aka not get any more minutes than he did last season). At least in Dallas, he had a chance to START or get A LOT more playing time. Even Gortat was upset about Orlando matching the offer! This is not to take anything away from Gortat who may have all the talent in the world. But what good is that talent if it's going to ride the bench and only play 12 minutes a game? That's a lot of money for little production. But so goes the extra exposure that a deep playoff run gets you where, if you're in a contract year, you are almost bound to get a big raise. It happened to Sasha Vujacic last year. But he at least averaged some solid numbers for the season.
Gortat's season averages last year (63 games):
12:35 minutes, 3.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, .2 assists, .3 steals, .8 blocks, .4 TO, 56.7% FG, 57.8 FT, 1.8 Fouls.
In 19 games this season (out of the 21 the magic have played):
15:35 minutes, 3.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, .1 assist, .3 steals, .9 blocks, 1 TO, 51.7% FG, 65% FT, 2.2 Fouls.
Quick summary: More minutes, less rebounds, more turnovers, lower FG%, higher FT%, more fouls.
And since everyone loves the PER analysis, his last year PER number was 17.0, this year it is 9.6.
Quote the big man himself: "I love the organization, but I'm not going to stay here being a back-up player and playing five minutes a game," Gortat said. "I hope people understand that. I know I can have a bigger role on another team." (Orlando Sentinel).
We all know Gortat can play. That's why the Magic resigned him. But they might as well have signed a DJ Mbenga type player (who gets paid less than a million for one guaranteed year) if Gortat is gonna be putting up Tony Battie type numbers in bench warmer minutes. Dallas is doing well enough without Gortat, but there are plenty of teams out there who could use (emphasis on USE) Gortat's talents. But we'll save that for a later post. Until then, may Gortat find more playing time and may Orlando come up with all of the excuses in the world to convince themselves that these numbers and production is worth 34 million over 5 years. Again, DJ Mbenga gets $900,000 this year...