Markieff Morris has been a Wizard less than two weeks, but you couldn't tell he's the new guy by looking around the locker room after Sunday's 113-99 win over the Cavaliers.
Keef, as he introduces himself, was sitting at his locker with two toddlers -- 2-year-old Andrew Gooden IV and 4-year-old Justus "Juju" Dudley, sons of teammates Drew and Jared. The boys were peppering him with questions as he combed his beard.
Morris had just wrapped up his most effective game yet for Washington, finishing with 9 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals and an assist in 21 minutes off the bench. The Wizards built such a big lead in the third quarter, he wasn't even needed in the fourth.
While a thunderous tomahawk dunk was his most highlight-worthy play, he really shined on defense (albeit against a Cleveland team missing LeBron James).
The Kansas product brought physicality to the defense and was aggressive going for the ball. He helped limit Kevin Love to 12 points, not enough to ease the scoring burden on Kyrie Irving in a meaningful way.
For comparison, the Wizards were +22 with Morris on the floor; while the Cavs were -14 with Love in the game.
Washington coach Randy Wittman was pleased with his forward's contributions.
"I thought [Morris] took another step and he's just getting more and more comfortable," Wittman said after the game. "He makes the extra passes, he's a good passer. He sees the floor in roll situations ... So there's no question that I have a smile on my face with Alan healthy and Markieff here."
But Morris wasn't ready to pat himself on the back just yet.
"I think I did average of what I can do," he said of his performance after the game. "Defensively, I'm 100 percent there. Offensively, I think I'm about 80 percent, 85 percent. Just got to keep going over the plays and watching film and getting better that way."
Though Morris went 4 of 8 from the field, he only scored on dunks and layups. He missed both jump shot attempts and has not yet hit a 3-pointer in a Wizards uniform.
But he admitted he felt confident on the defensive end.
"I just bring intensity. I'm the type of guy, you put me out there and I'll do anything for the team, whether it's rebound, play defense, score," he said.
"I'm just trying to lead by example. And on that second unit, be the guy that you can put on the forward and to stop him, and I think I'm that guy."
Morris's eagerness to contribute in any role, even off the bench, is consistent with how much he says he values a sense of cooperation and family among teammates. After all, he played with his twin for his entire life up until this past summer.
The brothers have adopted "F.O.E" -- short for Family Over Everything -- as a kind of motto, sporting matching tattoos of the acronym. The 6-10 forward was even decked out in an F.O.E. hat and necklace in the Wizards locker room Sunday.
And he sounded happy to find that kind of environment with his new squad.
"[The Wizards] have got a super family atmosphere. All the guys stay together. We got text messages going on all the time," he said when asked how he's settling in. "I played with a couple guys and it feels like a family atmosphere. It feels like home."
"Juju? That's my guy."
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