Trade Deadline Countdown Day 1: Marcin Gortat

Ball?

With 7 days left until the NBA Trade Deadline, the Liberty Ballers crew will provide you one trade each day to bandy about. Since there are no actual games being played, we've got to keep occupied somehow. Also, I intend on using 'bandy' more in conversation. That is all.

The Sixers need a big man. Spencer Hawes is coming off his best game as a Sixer (17 and 10!) but he's a sieve on defense, having gotten exploited by Luis Scola until a tweaked ankle forced him out. So if Thorn and Stefanski are intent on making a post-season event that I've read is referred to as "Playoffs", they'll need a big guy that can play some defense.

Enter: Marcin Gortat

The Polish Hammer played a few years backing up Dwight Howard in Orlando before he was involved in the December mega-deal that sent him to Phoenix with Vince Carter and Mickael Pietrus. It didn't take 'Cin (pronounced Chin) long to get his Polish feathers ruffled about the way they play basketball in the southwest. Here's what he said after they gave up a ton of points in a loss to, of all teams, the Sixers.

According to Bright Side of the Sun's Seth Pollack, he's an average NBA starter right now, but he has games where he looks like a perennial all-star. Here's the defensive stuff that I was interested in:

Defensively, he ranks in the top 30% in pick and roll defense against ball-handlers and isolation defense. He's average (around 50%) in defending the roll man or post ups. He's very poor (bottom 10%) defending spot-up shooters.

Considering he's only started 6 games in his career after backing up Dwight and playing behind Robin Lopez (for whatever reason) in Phoenix, I think there's a good chunk of potential that's been left untapped in the big man. His advanced statistics look delectable -- his defensive rebounding rate (26.3) and true shooting percentage (59.5) would be tops for the Sixers and his 0.155 WS/48 is second on the team behind Elton Brand.

Hit the jump for the deal. But before you do, wish Marcin a happy birthday! He turns 27 today, which means he should be getting my copy of 13 Going On 30 in the mail any moment now.

Philadelphia receives:

Marcin Gortat - 4 years, 28.1 million

Phoenix receives:

Thaddeus Young - 1 year, 2.9 million (RFA in '11-'12)

Darius Songaila - 1 year, 4.8 million

Link

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It's not the sexiest trade, and in fact when you're losing Thad and Dong, it probably makes us less sexy. But Thad is going to demand a lot of money this offseason (and rightfully so), but it doesn't seem like the Sixers are going to shell out the money to match an offer, and he seems to be on the block. Thad's been a very nice player for the team, having done all that Collins has asked of him, including limiting his game to the bare bones of what he's really capable of.

At just 22 and with his level of athleticism, it's tough to give up on him this early. He's having a career year playing almost exclusively at the 4, but it appears like his defensive inadequacies will prevent him from ever being a full-time starter at the position. Giving big coin to tweener bench players isn't a recipe for success for a team that is on pace to finish .500 or less for the 6th straight season. If they can get a player of Gortat's caliber who happens to play in a position of need, they should pull the trigger.

Losing Dongaila would severely put a damper on our nickname parade, but I'm sure we could come up with a few politically incorrect ones for Gortat if given the opportunity. His semi-hefty expiring looks mighty appealing this deadline and with the rumors that the Sixers may buy out Jason Kapono, he's the guy most likely to move within the week.

Gortat would walk into the starter's spot, giving Collins a rock solid front court that can go to war for him. Hawes and Marreese Speights would be the first two bench options with Tony Battie and Craig Brackins retaining their positions next to the training staff and Gatorade boys.

So there's your first potential trade of the week. Pull the trigger? Come back tomorrow for a shiny new made up trade.

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