Marcin Gortat: Phoenix Suns Center Quietly Becoming One of Best Big Men in NBA

Kevin BonnevilleContributor IIIJanuary 24, 2012

Gortat is off to a great start this season.
Gortat is off to a great start this season.Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Currently with a 6-10 record on the season, there have been very few bright spots for the Phoenix Suns so far this year. There have been improvements on the defensive end of the court by Phoenix, but for the most part, they have struggled at shooting the basketball and putting points on the scoreboard.

One of the biggest bright spots for the Suns on both sides of the court this season has been the play of Marcin Gortat. Coming over last season as part of the deal that sent Jason Richardson to Orlando, Gortat was arguably the Suns' best player during the final couple months of last season.

The Polish Hammer got off to a slow start to begin this year due to a thumb injury that he suffered during a preseason game against the Denver Nuggets. The splint on Gortat's thumb clearly bothered the big man's shooting touch from the field and his aggressiveness on defense.

Ever since Gortat had that splint removed though, he has been a much different player and has continued on with the big numbers that he put up at the end of last season.

Gortat has scored double digits in points in every game since Jan. 4. He has shot the ball well in every game except against the New York Knicks in the Big Apple when everyone and their mother couldn't put the ball in the hoop. Other than that, the 27-year-old has shot better than 50 percent in every game.

The former second-round pick has stepped up his game on the defensive end as well. Gortat had 29 rebounds in his first five games of the season, but he has had 128 boards over his past 11 contests, including double-digit rebounding totals in nine of 11 games. He has also been blocking shots at a great rate too.

Heading into this season, I was a bit suspicious on whether Gortat could continue building on his game. After all, we saw a great second half of a season from Robin Lopez a few years back and he has done next to nothing since that stretch.

Gortat is a different player though. He has been the model of consistency ever since he came over from the Magic. It has gotten to the point where you can lock him in for a double-double almost every single night he is on the floor. You could never do that with Lopez.

If Gortat can continue playing at this high of a level, the Suns suddenly have a big piece that they can build around for the coming seasons. With Grant Hill and Steve Nash at 39 and 37 years old respectively and with very little young talent on the current roster, that has to excite Suns fans heading into an offseason where the organization will have lots of money to spend.