It may have been a short stint, but before Marcin Gortat was leading the charge for the Wizards in the NBA Playoffs, he was one of dozens of D-Leaguers trying to make it to The Association.
The 30-year-old played on the Anaheim Arsenal during the 2007-2008 season, appearing in five games and averaging 9.8 points and 6.8 rebounds before his call-up to the Orlando Magic. The Arsenal relocated to Springfield, Massachusetts for the 2009-2010 season where they became known as the Springfield Armor. More recently, the franchise moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan where they will debut next season.
Despite Washington's loss to the one-seeded Pacers on Thursday night in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, eliminating them from the playoffs, Gortat certainly had a postseason to remember. Playing on basketball's biggest stage for the first time since 2010, the veteran center provided the grit and grind for his unproven team throughout their eleven playoff games.
The "Polish Hammer" averaged 13 points on 49% percent shooting, while grabbing down 9.9 rebounds and swatting 1.8 shots in 34.9 minutes per contest. His biggest performance came on Tuesday in Game 5 against Indiana as the Wizards were facing elimination. He recorded the double-double, dropping 31 points and producing 16 huge boards as Washington defeated Indiana 102-79 to save their season.
Although his time was brief, it is certainly nice to see D-League alumni having success in the NBA. And for this talented Wizards' squad, it appears as though Gortat and his teammates are just getting started.