Memories are flooding over Marcin Gortat today.
His pro basketball career gained traction here. In his three and a half seasons with the Orlando Magic, he developed from a fringe NBA player with potential into a legitimate NBA starter with a bank account to match.
“It was a great three and a half years that I spent here,” Gortat said Sunday, after the Phoenix Suns completed their shootaround at Amway Center. “I met a lot of great people. I learned a lot. I learned a lot of discipline. I learned a lot about basketball. I still have good feelings about this team and about this city.”
On Dec. 18, 2010, the Magic traded Gortat, Vince Carter, Mickael Pietrus, a 2011 first-round draft pick and cash for Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu and Earl Clark.
Only Gortat and Turkoglu remain with those teams.
Gortat averaged 15.4 points and 10.0 rebounds a game last season in Phoenix.
He benefited immensely from playing alongside pick-and-roll guru Steve Nash, and now, by his own admission, he and new Suns point guard Goran Dragic still are learning each other’s tendencies.
Gortat hopes to redeem himself after his last game against the Magic went poorly for him. Matched against Dwight Howard and facing a defense that took away his pick-and-roll game, and perhaps a bit psyched out, Gortat scored just four points in a 103-93 Phoenix loss.
“I think I made two airballs,” he said. “Hopefully, this year’s only going to be one. I would like to win the game.”
Josh Robbins covers the Orlando Magic and the NBA for the Orlando Sentinel. You can reach him via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and connect with him on Facebook at facebook.com/JoshuaBRobbins. Follow him on Twitter at @JoshuaBRobbins.