Gortat ready to take next step for Phoenix Suns

Dec 6, 2011, 5:52 PM | Updated: 6:07 pm

The Suns acquired Marcin Gortat in December of last year,
and at the time there were questions about what kind of
player the team added.

Gortat was 26 at the time, and had spent his entire career
backing up Dwight Howard in Orlando. At 6-foot-11 and 240
pounds, he had the size to be a quality NBA center.

But did he have the skill?


Gortat averaged 13 points and 9.3 rebounds a game for the
Suns, proving to be a good pick-and-roll partner for Steve
Nash and a rebounder unlike the Suns have had since the

The “Polish Hammer” finished the season strong and in the
starting lineup, averaging a double-double in the team’s
final 14 games, but he wants to get better.

That’s why Gortat trained with NBA great Hakeem Olajuwon
during the offseason.

“It was a great experience to work with the guy who has
the best post game of all time, it was a huge honor for
me,” Gortat said.

Gortat was joined by Suns teammate Garret Siler on the
trip, and said they both learned a lot.

“It was almost three hours every day for six days,” Gortat
said. “I believe my game improved, I improved my game.”

Gortat will look to prove he’s capable of carrying the
load, as he’s projected to enter the season as a starter
for the first time in his career.

That may be why, after all the time off, he’s excited to
get back on the court.

“I feel like I’m in great shape,” he said. “I’m ready to
start the season right now.”

Arizona Sports’ Craig Grialou contributed to this

Phoenix Suns

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, right, drives the lane as Milwaukee Bucks forward Bobby Portis ...
Arizona Sports

Nikola Jokic, 3 other Nuggets out for clash vs. Suns

The Denver Nuggets list Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray among a group of key players as out on Friday against the Phoenix Suns.
19 hours ago
(AP Photo/Abbie Parr)...
Tom Kuebel

Timberwolves’ Rudy Gobert fined for comments on officiating in Suns game

Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert was fined $25,000 for comments made that criticized officiating after the team's 107-100 loss to the Suns.
19 hours ago
(Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)...
Arizona Sports

How to watch the Suns, D-backs and Coyotes on Friday

It's going to be a busy night of athletics to end March with three of the Valley's four major sports teams in action on Friday.
19 hours ago
Devin Booker #1, Kevin Durant #35, Deandre Ayton #22 and Josh Okogie #2 of the Phoenix Suns stand o...
Kellan Olson

Phoenix Suns will force Denver Nuggets, NBA to pick their poison

The Phoenix Suns are going to be putting opposing defenses in challenging positions the rest of the season.
19 hours ago
Chris Paul #3 and Kevin Durant #35 of the Phoenix Suns celebrate after defeating the Minnesota Timb...
Kellan Olson

Phoenix Suns claw to scrappy win in Kevin Durant’s home debut

Kevin Durant's home debut did not go the way anyone expected but the Phoenix Suns were still able to get an important win.
2 days ago
Devin Booker #1 and Kevin Durant #35 of the Phoenix Suns stand on the court during a timeout form t...
Dan Bickley

Suns victory over Timberwolves outweighs celebration of Durant’s home opener

The Suns forged a collective triumph on a night that began as a celebration of one, beating the Timberwolves 107-100.
2 days ago
Gortat ready to take next step for Phoenix Suns