As part of CSN's preview for the 2017-18 season, we are looking at each player on the Wizards' roster. Today, we preview Markieff Morris' season...
Player: Markieff Morris
Position: Power forward
2016-17 stats: 76 G, 31.2 mpg, 14.0 ppg, 1.7 apg, 6.5 rpg, 1.1 spg, 0.6 bpg, 45.7 FG%, 36.2 3P%, 83.7 FT%, 49.7 eFG%, 106 ORtg, 109 DRtg
2017-18 storyline: Morris emerged as a tone-setter in his first full season with the Wizards and was a key component of one of the NBA's best starting lineups. He was spectacular from mid-December to mid-February as the Wizards took off and climbed the standings as a contender in the East. Then, in the playoffs Morris was indispensible as a physical force matchup with Paul Millsap, Al Horford and others. When things got tense between the Wizards and the Hawks and Celtics, Morris was always there to step in and mediate. Morris has firmly established himself as a well-respected enforcer in the Wizards' locker room.
Morris remains under team control on one of the best bargain contracts in the NBA. He's due to make $8 million this season, a Wizards-friendly price given his value as a legitimate starting power forward. If Morris can continue to improve this season and next, he will earn himself a massive raise.
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Morris seems like a good candidate to improve this year. He just turned 28 and will be entering not just his second full season with the Wizards, but his second season in head coach Scott Brooks' system. That factor should allow all the Wizards' returning players to expand their roles and Morris could benefit in particular. At times last year he was the Wizards' third option on offense, a guy who proved he could create his own shot and have plays run through him when needed. If he can find consistency there, the Wizards' outlook will dramatically change.
Morris can also be more consistent at rebounding. His 6.5 rebounds per game last year were solid, but he showed for extended stretches he is capable of grabbing eight or nine a night. The Wizards are good at rebounding with Marcin Gortat and Otto Porter in their starting five, but Morris could take them to the next level.
Potential to improve: Rebounding, consistency on offense, three-point shooting.
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