Paul Pierce, the ring-wearing veteran chest thumper, got all the attention for his money back-to-back threes in the Washington Wizards third straight victory over the Toronto Raptors, 106-99. But Pierce is just the radio antenna on the very well-constructed skyscraper that is Wizards basketball. Big man Marcin Gortat and guards Bradley Beal and John Wall are the base and the windows–and it’s through them that the Wizards can see a bright future. Maybe even a bright future right now.
The 6’11” Gortat, a professional boxer’s son, is an immensely intelligent player–one minute reminding of Marc Gasol, the next Tim Duncan. (He’s also charming.) Gortat shot 11 of 15 to score 24 points (a quarter of the team’s total) and grabbed 13 rebounds. Throw in five assists for Gortat and you have to believe Washington may have the best big man in the East, Pau Gasol included. Along with Wall, the Wizards will need their radio antenna to really Pierce the heights, but Gortat is a big sturdy graceful foundation.