When he’s not rolling to the paint, tapping back offensive rebounds or earning praise as one of the best screeners in the NBA, Washington Wizards center Marcin Gortat is coming up with new nicknames. He can’t help it. He already calls himself the “Polish Hammer” and “Polish Machine,” but apparently that’s not enough.
Following the Wizards’ 112-107 win over the Indiana Pacers on Friday night, Gortat spoke to CSN’s Chris Miller and unveiled a new moniker for himself and teammate Markieff Morris.
“We are the Phoenix Outlaws right now,” said Gortat, using his tried-and-true formula of heritage/city + noun = moniker. “We are the Phoenix Outlaws, me and Keef.”
Gortat, who finished with 14 points and 16 rebounds aginst the Pacers, created a formidable frontcourt with Morris, who scored a season-high 26 points on 11-of-18 shooting while pulling down 10 rebounds. Before tip-off, Pacers Coach Nate McMillan credited Gortat as a screening maestro; after the game, McMillan spoke of Gortat’s physicality in the paint against Indiana’s bigs. McMillan also described Morris as having a “solid game.”
So, on such a night when both were rolling, Gortat decided to troll his past.
Gortat played two-plus seasons in Phoenix before the he and the team reached an impasse on a contract negotiation. Before the 2013 season, the Suns shipped Gortat to Washington. Then last February, the Suns jettisoned Morris, who had lost trust in the franchise after it traded his twin brother, Marcus.
This history remains on Gortat’s mind. When you give him a microphone — or a Twitter app — he’ll find an opportunity to zing his former employer.
When asked by a reporter what he saw in Morris’s performance against the Pacers, Gortat subtly referenced the Suns.
“I see a guy with incredible talent, with very good work ethic. He’s a great, great teammate. A guy who has been called one time a cancer, a team cancer,” Gortat said. “And I would love to have a team cancer like that any day in a game with me. He came here and he’s taking us to the playoffs right now.”
Though Gorat may be all-in with the whole Phoenix Outlaws thing, he hasn’t exactly sold his fellow outlaw on the new nickname.
“Yeah, he said it about three times but I ain’t rolling with it,” Morris said. “I don’t want to give Phoenix no credit. I’ll figure out a better nickname than that.”