Marcin Gortat to Goran Dragic: "Avast! Land ho!" (Christian Petersen/ Getty).
The Phoenix Suns are not having anything close to a good season. After losing franchise talisman Steve Nash to the Los Angeles Lakers this summer, they've dipped to 12-25 (second-worst in the West) and seem to have few potential avenues toward improvement. From this vantage, it looks like that won't come until this June's draft.
Until then, though, the Suns have several more months of this season left to play. Everyone on the roster will have to stay motivated. Veteran center Marcin Gortat, for one, isn't going to quit on the team any time soon — even if he has to say it by describing the team in pessimistic terms. From Jessica Camerato of CSNNE.com (via PBT):
"Basically I just don't want to feel like a loser and escape," he told CSNNE.com. "The team needs you and then all of a sudden you escape because you said you wanted to be traded or you asked for a trade? It's not like that.
"If someone's going to decide to trade me, it is a business. I'll understand that. But now I'm on the Phoenix Suns and I'm going to help."
At 6-11, Gortat is averaging 11.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks per game. While he turned down a multiyear contract extension in October, according to the Arizona Republic, he said he will not demand to be moved. His contract expires after the 2013-14 season.
"Right now I feel like it's hard to leave this sinking boat, you know what I mean, just go to a different team and escape from everything," he said. "I started with this team in training camp. I've been here for three years right now. This is my third year and basically I'm trying to help this team, help this team as much as I can. That's the main goal, but I learned also that this is business. Whatever's going to happen is going to happen." [...]
"I've never escaped in my entire life from anything like that," he said. "I never took any shortcuts. Basically I'm just going to try to play and help my team as much as I can."
Gortat is doing the noble thing here, and the fact that he explained himself while saying the Suns are really bad doesn't really undo any of that. Players should be confident in their teams, but at a certain point they have to be honest about the win-loss record.
In fact, Gortat's ship analogy makes a lot of sense. Although the idea of "going down with the ship" has never been standard, it is customary for the captain to leave a sinking ship only when everyone else on board is safe. Gortat, by virtue of being a veteran who played a big role for the Suns in past years, is a sort of captain of the team (though Jared Dudley and Jermaine O'Neal officially hold those designations). So it stands to reason that he wouldn't leave just because things are getting difficult.
Our next step, obviously, should be to assign other seafarers' ranks to the rest of the Phoenix Suns. Unfortunately, they cannot all be listed as "ordinary seamen."