More photos » Alex Gallardo - AP
He might be balding but he's no shrinking violet.
One thing we can say for sure about Marcin Gortat, he's not afraid to speak his mind. After Wednesday night's drubbing at the hands of the Philadelphia 76ers, Gortat ripped into his new team for one of the worst defensive performances we've seen out of the NBA's worst defensive team.
When a player, especially a player who's new to the team, speaks up like this, it can go two ways. The rest of the team can see his words as a wake-up call and react in a positive way. Or he can create division in the locker room with guys pointing fingers and resenting the "new guy" for speaking out of school. We'll see what happens next.
Take it away, Marcin:
"I came from a team where everybody was competing and trying to do what the coach told you. We just totally changed our rotations and what we said before the game. We were not playing hard enough and we have a lot of work in front of us."
Straight forward enough start to things. He puts the blame on the team for not following the game plan and states the obvious about having a lot of work to do. But then he goes further.
"I think we need to be in the gym everyday for three hours, learn the rotations and everything from the beginning. There are so many things we are doing bad and I can't find an explanation."
Now Marcin is suggesting that the way the Suns go about their business is part of the problem and here he gets into potentially dangerous territory.
"I'm trying to get some rebounds and stops, but unfortunately there is not too many opportunities to rebound because the 76ers are scoring 120-something points. It is just frustrating. It is frustrating as hell; I'm not going to lie. It is a reality check for me, going from a team who is winning to a team who is losing and we are the worst defensive team in the league."
So the lack of defensive rebounding is a result of giving up too many points, which has a certain logic to it except the 76ers still had 12 offensive rebounds and 18 second chance points. The comment about going from a winning team to a losing team is refreshingly candid, but potentially decisive. It's not like the Suns are the 76ers, who haven't had playoff success in years.
"We have to be more serious about everything we do. When you pass through that door up front over there, this is time when you pack it in and are getting ready for the game or the practice. We got to read the scouting report, which guy likes to do what and learn it. It's a lot of work."
And now he specifically calls out his teammates for lack of preparation and attacks the very culture of the Phoenix Suns. This isn't a team used to wearing their game face all the time. This is a team who wants to play loose and have a positive, upbeat attitude.
Good stuff from Marcin. Should be interesting to see where this goes from here.
Here's a little diddy about the offensive side of things which has some issues as well.
Phoenix Suns Offensive System Depends On One Man, Channing Frye - Desert Dirt - SB Nation Arizona
That, my friends, is why Channing Frye is the key to the entire Suns offense. He's the guy that starts the engine.
Happy New Year!