With the addition of Marcin "Polish Hammer" Gortat, I am really digging how our roster has rounded out. With our offseason additions I believe that Wall is poised for a huge year. He has never had the offensive talent around him to work with that he has this year.For starters, management and Wall himself, recognized the need for a true stretch 4. They went out and got Al Harrington. Some were very skeptical of this signing as he hadn't played basketball in a year, but it looks to be a good one. He flat out took over a few games this preseason with his outside shooting touch, and looks healthy and ready to go.
Then we have the improvement that Bradley Beal has shown. His improved handle and confidence has us all drooling,we'll just leave it at that.I, however, want to write on the improvement Gortat brings to the Wizards, especially on offense. More specifically, how he makes Wall's life easier, and why he will be a big reason Wall leads the league in assists AND makes the all-star team.
There are 2 things that Gortat brings to the table that Okafor, in all his goodness, could never dream of doing. Let's examine the first: PnR FINISHING. When was the last time you saw Okafor set a pick, roll hard to the rim, catch the pass in traffic, and finish over the top of somebody??! Rarely happened last year. This is why even in a 'bounce back season', Okafor shot .477 from the field, while Gortat in a down year shot 52%. Sure we can attribute this to Okafor taking many midrange shots, but that's exactly my point. What else was he going to do on offense? He's not a guy that rolls hard to the basket and finishes through contact with athleticism and power, despite how big he is.
Gortat has had 3.5 years in Phoenix to perfect the art of rim-rolling with the likes of Steve Nash and Goran Dragic. He is devastating rolling to the basket, and as a young 29 year -old (spent 4 years as a back-up), he will continue to finish plays with his athleticism in the near future. Can you imagine a line-up to close out some games of Wall-Beal-Webster/Ariza-Harrington-Gortat?? That's a bucket damn near every time! Picture John Wall runing a PNR with Gortat, with Harringon popping out, and Webster and Beal camping in the corners. Really just think about it...We have an elite passer, John Wall. An elite finishing big man in Gortat. 2 elite shooters in Beal and Webster from the corners. Not to mention Harrington who might as well be described as elite 3pt shooter if we're looking at power forwards. And if Nene has to miss games due to injury (highly expected), this line-up looks pretty dang good as a starting line-up too.
The 2nd thing he brings is transition opportunities. The guy can flat out run the floor. Many of you are picturing Gortat as some slow-footed, paint-clogging, lumbering, physical big man; that couldn't be further from the truth. When was the last time you saw Okafor beat the opposing team's big men down the floor, and get an easy 2 points? Didn't happen often. 'Nose Job' routinely beat his man down the floor in Phoenix in order to either set up early post position, or just receive a pass and slam it home. John Wall will absolutely love his new running mate, and this will only increase his assist opportunities.
Gortat will also improve the floor-spacing of the 1st unit, especially when you consider that we were going to start Booker at the 4. He is very comfortable knocking down that 10-15ft J.
All this being said, I am really excited to see how this team looks with Wall running the show. The Nene-Okafor duo was never a strong one offensively, and they didn't really complement each other. Gortat's offensive versaility should really bring a new dimension to our offense, one that Wall has never had. Keeping Nene's minutes down, now looks alot more plausible, and a Harrington-Gortat duo might be an even better fit anyways. I wouldn't be surprised if Gortat avgs. 16-10 this year, as he did avg. 17-11 the last time he played with an elite pass-frst pg.
Bold prediction: With new toys in his toybox, John Wall will lead the Wizards to the 6th seed this year. He will lead the league in assists( Rondo has noone to pass to and will be called on to score more), and will make his first all-star game appearance.