On Thursday, December 10th, the only Pole in the NBA played 4 minutes against the Utah Jazz (his team, the Magic, lost 111:120 in Salt Lake City). He collected 2 defensive rebounds and 2 fouls. Over the last 7 games he has averaged 7 minutes playing time per game, 1.4 points, 1.8 rebounds, about 0.5 blocks and 2 fouls. These averages fall way short of expectations. “Marcin is not playing as well as he did last year,” says Magic’s coach, Stan Van Gundy. “He averages fewer rebounds, runs less, lacks the energy that used to be a strength of his. I am not saying he is playing poorly, though. He is still helping the team.” The problem is that Gortat is not helping his teammates to the extent he could. After a very successful finish to the 2008/09 season and signing a multi-million dollar contract, he was hoping to take the next step in his career. That has not happened so far, though. He has been performing well below par from the very beginning of the current season even though, mainly as Dwight Howard’s back-up, his main tasks are limited to defence and rebounding. The man is clearly tired. After a long NBA season in which the Magic reached, and lost in, the Finals, Gortat ran a training camp for kids in Poland, prepared for the EuroBasket tournament with the Polish national team and later averaged over 30 minutes per game in that event. After returning to Florida, he immediately joined Magic’s training camp. “It is very difficult for me to handle all this from a physical standpoint. I am also burnt out mentally,” says Gortat.