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NBA Draft analyst: Morris better value for Wizards than 13th pick

NBA Draft analyst: Morris better value for Wizards than 13th pick

The answer won't be clear for several years, if at all, but the question has been out there for months.

Did the Wizards make the right move by dealing their 2016 first round pick for Markieff Morris?

Based on the perceived value of what the Wizards would likely have available with the 13th overall pick, the current analysis from ESPN NBA Draft analyst Chad Ford is yes.

Ford addressed his thoughts on the Wizards situation and the June 23 draft Thursday on ESPN 980's "Inside the Locker Room" with Brian Mitchell and Scott Jackson.

"You look at [everything] and probably say the Wizards made the right call here in that they got more value [with Morris] than they would have gotten with the 13th pick."

The analyst didn't just answer the question, but showed his work.

Ford laid out his overall thoughts on the draft, starting with the LSU's Ben Simmons being the likely No. 1 overall pick by the Philadelphia 76ers followed by Duke forward Brandon Ingram.

The next tier of 5-6 names includes guard Jamal Murray (Kentucky), Kris Dunn (Providence), Dragan Bender (Croatia) and Buddy Hield (Oklahoma). "I think all of those guys are solid players," said Ford of prospects that based on draft slots are typically discussed as future All-Stars. "They'll probably be starters in the league and make a positive contribution. ... Typically, you're still drafting high-level starters in the 5-7 range. Instead I think you're probably drafting average starters."

We're still a few picks away from 13 and the upside talk disappeared.

"After that, I think you're looking at role players throughout the rest of the draft," Ford said. "That means I think the value in this is draft is a little low." He added, "At nine, if you're drafting a role player, that's again not great value compared to other drafts."

Ford does see value in the draft among players projected in the "late 20s, even the early 30s." Washington dealt its second round pick (44) to Atlanta as part of the deal for 2015 first round pick Kelly Oubre Jr.

"I think most of these players that are going to get drafted are going to stick in the league and be in the league for a long time. There is value there, but if you're looking for guys who are going to the move the needle for your team especially in the next year or so, I just don't think there are a lot of guys in this draft."

Which brings us back to the Wizards, who didn't reach the postseason after advancing to the Eastern Conference semifinals in consecutive years. Assuming restricted free agent Bradley Beal stays with the team, Washington only has six players under contract for the 2016-17 campaign. However, those players represent the Wizards' starting lineup plus Oubre.

With plenty of uncertainty in the Eastern Conference outside of the NBA Finals participants known as the Cleveland Cavaliers, there is a chance for the Wizards to make a move. The odds of one of these rookies helping, or at least contributing as much as the 26-year-old Morris, are long.

"I think Washington is a team that's done with the rebuilding process," Ford continued. "They want to be a team that is a contender. Drafting the 13th pick in the draft, -- you saw this a little with Kelly Oubre last year -- he's not going to get a lot of a minutes. Not going to make a big impact on the team next season and this draft is a little weaker than that."

Ford suggested that Oubre, who was the 15th pick in a deeper 2015 class, "would probably be a top 10 pick in this year's draft." As for the trade, Ford believes Suns moved Morris more because of chemistry issues than talent.

The Wizards made the move because they needed immediate help at last season's trade deadline, but also because the power forward fills a need and does so at a relatively low cost ($8 million per). It's not that some players selected 13th or later won't become starters and possible All-Stars. The odds of landing such a player in the back-end of the lottery this year are long. That's why it appears Washington made the right move.

Click here for the entire interview.

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Bradley Beal's phantom foul and the Wizards' most important rally of the season

Bradley Beal's phantom foul and the Wizards' most important rally of the season

After calling an inconsistent game throughout the night, the referees made a decision with five minutes to go in Game 4 that nearly altered the entire series between the Wizards and Raptors.

DeMar DeRozan was chasing a rebound on the baseline and ran into Bradley Beal. Beal, who had a team-high 31 points, was levied a sixth and final foul with the score tied. 

Beal had unloaded for 20 points in 12 minutes in the second half, but now the Wizards would have to close it out without their All-Star shooting guard. Somehow, they were able to seal the win and tie the series.

Beal heard the whistle as he laid on the ground. He immediately hopped up and unleashed a tantrum that nobody could blame him for.

He jumped up and down, screaming at the referees, who had just called by all accounts a questionable foul and in a key moment of a playoff game.

Both Beal and head coach Scott Brooks were incensed and with good reason.

“I was beyond emotional, beyond mad, frustrated," Beal said. "I honestly thought they were going to kick me out of the game I was so mad, but I was happy they didn’t do that."

Beal is probably lucky the referees didn't take offense to his reaction because it continued when he was on the bench. He walked past his teammates and leaned over with his hands on his knees, still furious. Then he returned to the sideline to yell at the refs. Center Ian Mahinmi helped convince him to step back and cool off.

Beal has made a major difference in this series. He averaged 14.0 points in the first two games, both losses. He has averaged 29.5 points in Games 3 and 4, two Wizards wins.

Getting him out of the game was a major break for the Raptors, but they couldn't take advantage. The Wizards closed the final five minutes on a 14-6 tear. John Wall stepped up to lead the charge with eight of those points.

The Wizards still had one star on the court and he played like one.

“Just go in attack mode," Wall said. "When Brad went out, I knew I had to do whatever it took... I just wanted to do whatever, so that we could advance to Game 5, tied 2-2.”

Once Beal composed himself, his confidence grew in his teammates. He and Wall feel comfortable playing without each other because they have done so often throughout their careers.

This year, Wall missed 41 games due to a left knee injury. Two years ago, Beal missed 27 games. Early on in his career, he had trouble staying healthy. Now he is an iron man who played in all 82 games during the 2017-18 regular season.

Beal has grown accustomed to being on the floor a lot, but he realized he can still affect the game from the sidelines.

"I just gathered my emotions, gathered my thoughts and told my team we were going to win, regardless. I knew if we still had John [Wall] in the game I loved our chances," Beal said. "Face the adversity that I had to overcome, just gather myself and be a leader, being vocal and keeping everyone encouraged in the game.”

Wall and others did the heavy lifting in the end. The Wizards used Kelly Oubre, Jr. as the shooting guard with Beal out and he made key plays down the stretch, including a steal on Kyle Lowry in the closing seconds.

The Wizards were thrown a significant curveball and they overcame it to put themselves in good position now having won two straight.

“You have to have resolve to win in this league," Brooks said. "You win playoff games and you win playoff series with having that. We have that, and we have to continue to have that because we have to win two more games and one of them has to be on the road."

When it comes to the officiating, the Wizards deserve credit for their resilience and restraint early in Game 4. The Raptors had 16 free throws in the first quarter compared to the Wizards' four. Washington perservered and ended up with more free throws (31) than the Raptors (30) did for the game.

In Game 1, the Wizards appeared to be affected by a lack of foul calls. That came was called loosely by the referees, while this one was officiated tightly. Though Beal went off, the Wizards for the most part stayed the course and were rewarded for it.

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The Wizards supplied all the highlights and fireworks; 5 must-see moments from Game 4

The Wizards supplied all the highlights and fireworks; 5 must-see moments from Game 4

WASHINGTON -- As the home team in a dire situation you have to take advantage, and that is exactly what the Washington Wizards did in their 106-98 win over the Toronto Raptors.

Highlight reel play after highlight reel play, the Wizards ignited the crowd with some of their best plays from the entire season to make it 2-2 in the series. Here are just a few of them:

1. John Wall collects posters in the first half

The first one was perhaps the best. Everything was going wrong for the Wizards, poor turnovers, bad shots, a three from Toronto. Then John Wall had enough. Not only did he fly past his defender Kyle Lowry, but he went up and slammed one home past the 7-foot Jonas Valanciunas. Up until that point, the Wizards were shooting 1-for-7.

Rinse and repeat, except this time Jakob Poeltl was Wall’s victim.

2. Wall to Beal alley-oop in transition

With the Wizards’ offense faltering, the Raptors remained on the verge of blowing the game open throughout the second quarter. But with a steal from Otto Porter Jr., Wall hung up the ball for Bradley Beal to slam home. The alley-oop kept the Wizards within single digits in the second with an uninspiring offensive effort.

3. Otto Porter breaks out of the half

A subdued offensive start to the game was due in part to the production from Porter. In the first half he went 0-for-4 with one point in nearly 17 minutes of action.

Throw that away in the second half. He broke out of halftime with back-to-back threes and 10 of the Wizards’ 26 in a monster 26-14 run to take the lead back in the third.

He finished the quarter with 10 points, an assist, and two blocks.

4. The Polish Hammer throwing it home

Are you convinced yet that Marcin Gortat’s new haircut is doing him some good? Gortat squeezed through two Raptors’ defenders, threw it down, gave a Goliath-type roar to the crowd before officially bringing the hammer down. 

5. Beal being called for his sixth foul of the game

Agree with the call or not, there is no denying that Beal’s removal from the game lit a fire underneath the Wizards. From that point Washington went on a 14-6 scoring run to end the game, closing out for the win.

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