In Washington D.C., in terms of basketball, we have been waiting for someone. Moses Malone. Bernard King. Chris Webber. Juwan Howard. Gilbert Arenas. And so now, we have Gortat. Marcin Gortat, In Washington Bullets land (please don’t say Wizards), getting a new player who is going to deliver us from the darkness of our basketball discontent is always a good thing. Then, that good player gets injured. Or that player shows promise and gets caught with reefer on the Interstate. Or that player has some really good years but then gets injured and brings a gun to the arena. You know the story. It has been a long time since pro basketball meant anything here in Washington D.C.
Once was we were a top franchise. One of the best. Don’t laugh. This was the 1970’s and my Bullets went to four NBA Championships and were victorious in 1978. But then the league changed. In the 1980’s, the Bird-Magic era began and the Bullets were caught thinking it was still the 1940’s. Wes Unseld and Elvin Hayes, our two biggest stars of all time, retired and we sank into mediocrity.
We had good big players after the 1970’s – Rick Mahorn. Ben Wallace. Rasheed Wallace. Moses Malone; however, they usually didn’t have a supporting cast or Abe Pollin, our humble owner for forever, traded them away in bad, bad trades. All of those players got rings with other teams (except Moses who already had one) and we, the Bullets continued to be terrible.
The Magic-Bird years were followed by the Bad Boys of Detroit domination, the Jordan years, the Hakeem years, and then the Shaq-Kobe years. That was intermingled with the Spurs dominating, the rise again of the Lakers with Kobe Bryant, the Celtics with the Big Three, and other teams who we could not dream of ever beating. We were bad, are bad, remained bad, had a few good years here and there, but mostly, we were waiting for someone,. So now that person, I guess is Marcin Gortat.
Gortat was solid in Orlando. He was back-up to Dwight Howard. Last year, he averaged nearly a double-double – 11.5 points and 8 rebounds. He is 6’11 and can shoot from the perimeter. From 2010-2012, he actually did average a double-double if you average the two season (it is about 14-10). They got Gortat for a less than impressive Emeka Okafor, who is a solid rebounder-defender, but who lacks an offensive repertoire. I am good with the trade though I know, in this league, with Big Roy in Indiana, The Big Ticket in Brooklyn, Tim Duncan, Chris Bosh, Brook Lopez, Paul Gasol, and other solid, big men, forwards mostly, Gortat is going to have to raise his level of play.
Gortat will join a solid nucleus of players: John Wall at point guard. Bradley Beal at shooting guard. Martel Webster at small forward. Otto Porter, the rookie from Georgetown, will have to get physically ready for the rigors of the league. There is also Kevin Seraphim, Nene, and other players. This is not a deep playoff team but with some luck and health, and if Wall plays, for 90 percent of the games, they have a shot to make the playoffs.
In Washington, with our recently basketball history, this is good enough for me. No more trades for big for small, old for young. No more morality moves Just win baby. As Larry Graham and his famous band sang: we have been waiting for so long.