Chicago Bulls v Phoenix Suns

Marcin Gortat vents he’s no longer even considered in Phoenix


Not a lot of people noticed outside the Valley of the Sun, but Marcin Gortat was playing at a near All-Star level when paired with Steve Nash last season, as the big in a lot of his pick-and-rolls.

This season it is not the same in Phoenix. Nash is in Los Angeles and the Suns are 4-7 and struggling along. The Polish Hammer went from averaging 15.4 points per game and getting nearly 12 shots a contest last year to 11 points and 9 shots.

And he vented about it to Przeglad Sportowy’s Marcin Harasimowicz — a Polish publication — and Gothic Ginobili has the translation. He was asked how this season is going compared to last.

Unfortunately, in my case – for worse. I’m certainly not the player I was last season, I need to find my place in the new order. I’m still capable of helping this team, and regularly recording a double double, but when the ball sticks to one person on offence, it’s hard to find a good rhythm….

Unfortunately, my two strongest plays – the pick and roll and post-ups have been taken away from me. It’s not easy, we have a lot of plays that don’t include me. And my chemistry with Goran Dragic hasn’t been quite equal to what I had with Steve. These are things that we need to work on….

Unfortunately, I don’t think I’m even an option for (coach Alvin) Gentry. He doesn’t even take me into consideration. The situation is critical. We’re playing the same thing we’ve been playing last year, but the truth is we have a completely different set of players. I don’t think it really works. I can’t get frustrated now though, I have to stay positive.

Note to Gortat — communication is global now. What you say in Polish to a Polish reporter for a Polish publication will find it’s way back to the United States quickly now.

Last season 21.6 percent of the Suns shot came off a pick-and-roll, another 20.4 percent on spot ups, while just 7.5 percent were isolations. So far this season 18.6 percent of shots are pick-and-roll (a Gortat strength), 21.3 percent on spot ups and 8.5 percent in isolation. They are 19th in the league in offensive efficiency this season.

I’m not sure anyone expected anything different this season — with Nash gone and Michael Beasley, Goran Dragic and Luis Scola getting most of the touches. Well, nobody except Gortat.

Gortat reportedly turned down discussion of a contract extension in Phoenix (he is making $7.3 million this season $7.7 million the next). The publication also said he could be traded, but frankly on the rebuilding Suns there isn’t a player that’s not available.

Slimmed-down Kyle Lowry scores 26, Raptors beat Clippers

DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Johnson, Kyle Lowry
Leave a comment

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) Kyle Lowry scored 26 points in 21 minutes, leading the Toronto Raptors to a 93-73 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday night in a preseason game.

The All-Star point guard, who arrived at training camp noticeably slimmer after a summer of healthy eating and grueling workouts, shot 7 for 10 from the field and 11 for 12 from the free throw line.

JJ Redick led the Clippers with 15 points, while Blake Griffin – who knocked the shot clock off its mooring with a thunderous dunk during warmups – added 14.

CLIPPERS: Paul Pierce made his only shot and scored two points in 9 minutes off the bench. He was booed after leading the Washington Wizards to a sweep of the Raptors in last season’s playoffs.

RAPTORS: Jonas Valanciunas, fresh off a strong EuroBasket performance in helping Lithuania earn an Olympic berth, had 10 points and 12 rebounds. Luis Scola scored 13 points and DeMar DeRozan finished with 11.

NEWCOMERS: Offseason acquisitions DeMarre Carroll, Bismack Biyombo, Scola, and Canadian Cory Joseph all had solid debuts for the Raptors.

BACK IN VANCOUVER: The game drew a capacity crowd of 19,000 that included former Vancouver Grizzlies guard Mike Bibby. The Grizzlies played in Vancouver for six seasons before moving to Memphis.

“It’s an amazing city,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “Without saying too much, I miss Vancouver. It’s just a great city, it really is. It’s vibrant, it’s just nice. Deserves a team, along with Seattle.”

UP NEXT: The Clippers open a two-game series against Charlotte in China next Sunday. The Raptors play the Golden State Warriors in San Jose, California on Monday.

Kobe Bryant returns as Jazz beat Lakers 90-71 in preseason

Kobe Bryant
Leave a comment

HONOLULU (AP) Kobe Bryant scored five points in his first action since undergoing surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in the Los Angeles Lakers’ 90-71 loss to the Utah Jazz on Sunday.

Bryant was 1 of 5 from the field, with his only made basket coming on a 3-pointer from the left corner. He made both of his free throw attempts.

Derrick Favors had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Jazz in the preseason opener for both teams.

JAZZ: Favors scored 12 points in the first half. Gordon Hayward added 11 points and nine rebounds, Rudy Gobert had 10 points and eight boards, and Trey Burke added 10 points.

LAKERS: Guard Lou Williams, who won NBA Sixth Man of the Year honors with Toronto last season, scored 14 points off the bench. Nick Young was the only other Los Angeles player to score in double figures, finishing with 10 points.

BRYANT’S BACK: Bryant played the entire first quarter and sat the rest of the way despite numerous second-half chants of “Kobe! Kobe!” by the sellout crowd of 10,300 at the Stan Sheriff Center. His first shot, a jumper from the corner, hit the side of the backboard.

“I felt good. It felt good to get out there,” Bryant said. “(My legs) feel strong, I didn’t feel tired at all. It’s just about getting the timing down.”

ANOTHER RETURN: Lakers forward Julius Randle started and played 21 minutes, finishing with seven points and seven rebounds. Randle, the seventh overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft, broke his right tibia in last year’s season opener and missed the rest of the season.

ROOKIE WATCH: D'Angelo Russell, the No. 2 overall pick, started at point guard and finished with five points, three rebounds, two assists, two turnovers and a steal in 21 minutes.

UP NEXT: The teams will rematch Tuesday night in Honolulu.