This time last year the Phoenix Suns and their fans thought they found the franchise center that has eluded them since the infamous ‘coin toss’ in 1969. A year later the team and fans still feel the same way, just about a different player.
During the 2009-2010 season Robin Lopez sparked the imaginations of Suns fans who have longed for a big man more than Oliver Miller used to long for a large meal in the 90s. While many thought he could be the young big man the team had been searching for for decades, Lopez disappeared this season faster than he emerged last.
With fans disappointed and concerned, the Suns acquired Marcin Gortat from the Orlando Magic. Gortat’s play has helped reignite the fan base’s optimism about the center position.
Since arriving in the Valley Gortat has improved his production significantly from the numbers he was putting up in Orlando. in 25 games with the Magic he was averaging only 4 points, 4.7 rebounds and .8 blocks per game. In his 51 games as a member of the Suns he’s averaging a much improved 12.7 points, 9.7 rebounds and 1.4 blocks. (Not to mention he leads the team, and possibly the league, in great sound bytes.).
Even though Gortat emerged as a viable candidate for the starting lineup months ago, he didn’t get his first chance to usurp Lopez until March 27th. In the seven games since then he has shown that he doesn’t plan on giving back that starting spot anytime soon. In those seven games he is averaging 13.7 points, 12.1 rebounds and 2 blocks.
Gortat’s play has caused some to call for the end of the Robin Lopez era in Phoenix while others have preached patience. One thing is for sure, Gorat won’t be going anywhere. He might just be the answer the Suns have been searching for.