Marcin Gortat by the Numbers: A Step Forward?

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

With the emergence of Jared Sullinger as a starting caliber power forward in the first months of his rookie season, many on this blog have been entertaining ideas of trading Bass to add quality depth to the center position. While redundancies have seemed to crop up in the rotation, specifically with Bass and Sully and Terry and Barbosa- any quick proposals to augment the roster with serviceable length (i.e., 6’11 plus forward or center) should be at least somewhat investigated to see if the proposals are in fact a step forward and not merely a step sideways.

These are some of Brandon Bass’ key stats to illustrate his production from this current season. Over 26.3 minutes per game he is averaging 5.1 RPG, 0.8 APG, 0.6 SPG, 0.7BPG, 2.6 FPG and 7.8 PPG.

Here are Robin Lopez’s key statistics at a similar playing time of 26.3 minutes per game as a basis of comparison: 5.7 RPG, 0.9 APG, 0.5 SPG, 1.8 BPG, 1.9 FPG, and 11.5 PPG. It is important to add a caveat concerning Lopez’s usage rate. His is about 25% greater than Bass’s -20.1% compared to 15.9%-. Looking at their respective field goal attempts, however, Lopez is actually a much more efficient scorer with roughly 8.8 field goal attempts per game (.554 FG%) to Bass’ 9.8 (.445%).

The take away is that Bass and Lopez have very similar production in the categories that are often emphasized at their positions, but Lopez is clearly a superior player in some important categories, particularly FG% and blocks. The rebounding numbers are not that impressive for Lopez who, at 7’ tall, is several inches taller than the undersized Bass. While the blocking numbers for Lopez over relatively limited minutes are impressive, any trade built principally around Bass and Lopez would mostly constitute a horizontal movement.

Marcin Gortat is intriguing. The purported rumors of chemistry issues between Gortat and the Phoenix coaching staff, his lessened role in the pick and role offense with the departure of Nash, and his recent decline of a contract extension with PHX suggests a trade will be done before the Feb. 21st trade deadline. The real questions surrounding a potential Gortat trade is what assets will Phoenix be looking for and, if the Celtics are in play, can they pay the asking price without disrupting the winning formula they’ve found since the start of the new year. Gortat obviously has size (6’11), rebounding acumen, shot blocking skills, and low post scoring ability, but do his numbers maintain their luster when averaged over the same MPG as Bass, the player he would most likely supplant in the rotation?

Taking each of Gortat’s key per 36 min. stats, dividing it by 36 and multiplying those by 26.3 (mpg) gives us an idea of what Gortat could bring to the Celtics without substantially affecting the minutes (and presumably production) of our other players. Here are the levelized numbers rounded to the nearest tenth: 8.2 RPG, 1.1 APG, .5 SPG, 1.4 BPG, 8.5 PPG, and 6.9 Field goal attempts per game. His point production is lower than Bass’s, but he take 3 shots less per game over the same amount of playing time. His rebounding remains very good, as do his blocking numbers.

Bass brings floor spacing with his pick and pop shooting ability and even in a down year he is still an above average mid-range shooter from ten to fifteen feet at 43.2% (in the 2011-12 season he shot 47.4% from the same range). Gortat, however, has also shown an ability to also hit from this range and is actually shooting better than Bass this current season at 45.3% from ten to fifteen feet (stats courtesy of basketball reference).

With a PG like Rondo feeding him for easy mid-rang shots, Gortat could fit into Boston’s offensive schemes rather seamlessly when replacing Bass. And unlike Bass, Gortat would bring the size and interior defensive presence that has been lacking since the infamous Perkins trade two seasons ago. No one knows, other than Phoenix’s GM, what it would take to foster a trade for Marcin but, considering the possibility he walks in the offseason without any return it seems pretty likely PHX will be pressed into a trade whether they like it or not.

I am skeptical of pulling the trigger on anything that would compromise the recent chemistry this team has worked so tirelessly to achieve but, if and when Gortat becomes available I hope Danny takes a long, hard look. If it takes two first round picks, Fab Melo with his tremendous upside and cap filler like Bass or Terry to facilitate a trade I would hope he really considers it. I like our team, the personalities, the defensive edginess with which they play, but if we want to beat a team like Miami we’ll need more size and interior presence. I think Gortat could be that player; a step forward and not sideways.

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