After this afternoon's practice, Orlando Magic center Marcin Gortat spoke about the differences between playing power forward and playing center; Gortat's trying to learn how to adjust to playing power forward, as he believes the key to his getting more minutes--to his being happier here--is to play that position effectively.
I wanted to get another perspective on Gortat's comments, however, so I sought out Brandon Bass. He's played both positions throughout his NBA career as well as here in Orlando. We focused on the distinct ways to defend those positions.
But before that, I asked Bass about the knee tendinitis that kept him out of Sunday's exhibition romp over the New Orleans Hornets. "It'd been bothering me for the last couple of days," he said, "and hopefully it'll be better tomorrow, I'll say that." He appreciated having Sunday night off to rest, but was quick to add, "If Stan [Van Gundy] wanted me to play, I was going to play. I'm not going to pull myself out [of a game] unless I really, really can't go."
To my question about defense, the five-year veteran responded:
"Playing the five, you just do a lot of zone. At the four, you gotta do a lot of moving. It's a lot of work. You gotta make two efforts: You gotta close out [on shooters], [and] get back to your man. Five? You just zone, and your man is right there rolling into you. It's a lot different. It's a lot tougher playing the four."
He then gave an example:
"Like, with Dwight [Howard], if he posts me up, I know he's going to bang, bang, bang, hook shot, or something. Versus guarding a perimeter player, you gotta show on the pick-and-roll, then you gotta close out to the three[-point line], move your feet, and stay down. Then you probably gotta move your feet because they want to drive and pull up, or whatever."
Bass added that he's more comfortable defending both power forwards and centers now. "I think I've made significant improvement from last year to this year," he said.
Another area in which Bass has tried to improve is his rebounding. An article appearing in the Orlando Sentinel earlier this summer--which I've been unable to locate online--mentioned that one area of emphasis for him is rebounds per minute. In light of that, I asked Bass about 7-rebound effort in just 20 minutes against the Indiana Pacers last week.
"I think, for me, that's a step in the right direction. I just want to continue to improve," he said.