Only five players per team can be on a basketball court at a given time, so common sense would suggest that when a top-5 pick is used at a specific position, it’s often not a good sign for the incumbent starter.
Case in point, Phoenix Suns center Marcin Gortat.
The Suns took Maryland big man Alex Len with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft Thursday night, leaving many to wonder if the Polish Hammer’s days in the Valley are numbered.
But for those looking at a potential departure date for Gortat, who averaged 11.1 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in 61 games last season, not so fast.
“We’re not looking to move him,” Suns general manager Ryan McDonough told Arizona Sports 620’s Burns and Gambo Friday. “As you guys I’m sure know, Alex had foot surgery, and he’s not ready to play.
“Marcin is one of our best players here. He’s a core guy for us. He is one of the more athletic bigs in the league, he screens, he rolls, he finishes and he blocks shots.”
McDonough may hold Gortat in high esteem, but keeping him in Phoenix might not make a lot of sense given his expected price tag after the 2013-14 season and the potential logjam moving forward between he and Len in the middle.
“I don’t know,” said McDonough when asked about Gortat’s long-term future with the organization. “We’ll see after July 1 what he and his agent have in mind. I haven’t had any discussions about that yet, but we do have him under contract for another year.”
In regards to the short-term, however, the Suns GM was a little bit more clear on Gortat’s role with the team.
“We’re going into the year with him as our starting center.”
Gortat, who has started all 127 games he’s played in over the last two seasons, is coming off an injury of his own — a Lisfranc sprain in his right foot that ended his 2012-13 season in early March.