Why the New York Knicks Need Marcin Gortat

Jeremy KaufmanSenior Analyst IJune 17, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 07:  Marcin Gortat #13 of the Orlando Magic goes up for a shot over Andrew Bynum #17 of the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Two of the 2009 NBA Finals at Staples Center on June 7, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Upon asking a typical New York Knicks fan what players the team needs to obtain via free agency, the usual suspects will be mentioned in no time: Dwayne Wade, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh. However, the key to success for the Knickerboxers may very well be taller, more affordable, and much more foreign than any of the three aforementioned players.

The man whom I am referring to is Marcin Gortat, and this is why the New York Knicks must sign him this offseason.

While the Knicks’ record may not be a clear indicator of this, the Knicks actually have a pretty solid team put together. As of this current time, the Knicks’ rosters boasts rebounding machine David Lee, game breaker Nate Robinson, defensive stopper Jared Jeffries, and all around talent Wilson Chandler, not to mention several other players who likely have bright futures in the NBA.

However, the Knicks are sorely missing one key thing that, if obtained, can potentially make their team a playoff contender. What the New York Knicks need is a true center who can provide the team with a post presence on offense while closing down the inside lanes on defense.

Marcin Gortat would fill this role admirably. At 6’11" and 240 pounds, Gortat possesses the size and talent to make an impact on both ends of the court. While his statistics are severely limited due to playing behind superstar center Dwight Howard, Gortat has the potential to average as many as 15 points per game as a starter, as seen during the brief times in which Howard was unable to go in 2009. Furthermore, Gortat has solid rebounding and shot blocking ability, and his international style of play fits perfectly into coach Mike D’Antoni’s unique run and gun system of play.

Marcin Gortat’s game seems to fit well with the New York Knicks, but what are the chances the Knicks will actually sign him?

Well, the chances are better than what you would think.

First of all, Gortat has publicly announced recently that his preference would be to come play for the New York Knicks. Furthermore, he has also publicly stated that he strongly dislikes coach Van Gundy on the Magic, and that he was essentially looking forward to leaving the team as a result. Therefore, it is safe to say that he won’t be resigning in Orlandoany time soon.

So, he’s a solid center, and he wants to play for us, but does Knicks management want him? I think they do. As of 2009, Gortat is currently earning less than a million dollars a season. Since Gortat isn’t exactly a proven commodity yet in the NBA, he will likely be sufficed with as little as five million a year to become the starting center for the New York Knicks.

Therefore, even though the Knicks are being salary conscious in their efforts to land LeBron James in 2010, a simple cost- benefit analysis would clearly indicate that signing Marcin Gortat would be beneficial towards the ambitions of the team.

And so, the talk of New York basketball will likely continue to center around the likes of LeBron James and maybe Stephen Curry as we pass through yet another basketball offseason. However, I for one will anxiously await the decision of polish center Marcin Gortat, hoping that the Knicks are fortunate enough to land this diamond in the rough.