"We need energy. We need effort. We’ve got to make shots," Gortat rattled off in rapid succession when asked what the Wizards can do, at a dismal 2-7, to improve. "I think there’s a lot of things we can do better. I think right now, as far as I know, I think we’ve got one of the worst benches in the league right now."
As you might expect, some wondered out loud about what this meant:
This will make for a rather quiet plane home... https://t.co/4pHATjfFzj— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) November 13, 2016
Soon after the remarks, Gortat apparently backtracked from his original stance.
Apologize for my frustration #wizNation :(— Marcin Gortat (@MGortat) November 13, 2016
Though you could make the point that Gortat was a bit harsh on the bench in public remarks, he also told the truth. In addition, the stats are there to prove it, according to hoopsstats.com:
- The Wizards' bench players are woeful on offense. They have a team differential of -17.6 points per 100 possessions, worst in the league. That is a lot worse than the 29th place Indiana Pacers who have a rating of -13.4. The bench scores a combined 25.3 points and dishes 4.7 assists a game, also worst in the league.
- On defense, the Wizards aren't the absolute worst, but they're still bad. They allow opponents to make 45.9 percent of their shots, 22nd in the league. Washington also allows opponents to score a combined 34.6 points and dish 8.2 assists per game, well above what they do on offense. When a bench unit has differentials as considerable as Washington's, it's not surprising to see that Washington's starters feel more pressure to play flawlessly. There's just no room for error.
If there is a silver lining to this, it's that the Wizards are still figuring each other out. But with a 2-7 record nine games into the season, Washington's still one of the worst teams in the NBA in the young season, and it won't change until they get more wins in the record books.
As for Gortat, I don't think he was totally out of bounds to say what he said. It's true, the bench stinks. A Trey Burke - Marcus Thornton - Jason Smith trio is not pretty to watch more often than not.
But hopefully, the bench makes some improvements as the season, and fast. They can't afford to keep losing games simply due to the second unit not picking up the slack.