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Wizards 2017-18 roster outlook: Will Marcin Gortat's role change or be the same this year?

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USA Today Sports

Wizards 2017-18 roster outlook: Will Marcin Gortat's role change or be the same this year?

As part of CSN's preview for the 2017-18 season, we are looking at each player on the Wizards' roster. Today, we preview Marcin Gortat's season...

Player: Marcin Gortat

Position: Center

Age: 33

2016-17 stats: 82 G, 31.2 mpg, 10.8 ppg, 1.5 apg, 10.4 rpg, 0.5 spg, 0.7 bpg, 57.9 FG%, 00.0 3P%, 64.8 FT%, 57.9 eFG%, 117 ORtg, 108 DRtg

2017-18 storyline: Following the 2016-17 season, Gortat expressed doubt about whether he would be back with the Wizards, knowing he is entering his mid-30s and given the presence of Ian Mahinmi, another capable veteran center. But Gortat wasn't traded and was never close to being dealt. Now he is days away from entering his fifth season with the Wizards, still serving a key role in their starting lineup.

That role is centered around screens and rebounding, two things he did very well this past year. His 10.4 rebounds per game were a career-high and the most for a Wizards player since Brendan Haywood in 2009-10. Gortat posted just the third double-digit rebounding season for a Washington player in the last 20 years. He had 6.2 screen assists per game this past season, tied with Rudy Gobert for the most in the NBA. 

[RELATED: HOW THE NBA CAN PREVENT TANKING]

It's a specific role and Gortat is excellent at it. But like any player, his role can expand. For Gortat, that could be as simple as receiving more looks on offense. There were times last season where the Wizards targeted him early for post-up opportunities, to get him in rhythm. On defense, it could be a matter of him just finding more chemistry with Markieff Morris. Or, finding a way to play with Mahinmi on the court at the same time. Defensive rating doesn't tell the whole story, but Gortat's 108 DRtg this past season was far from the 100 and 103 he put up in his first two years with the Wizards. 

It should be noted that a healthy Mahinmi will affect Gortat directly. If Mahinmi can stay on the court this season, he will take a good chunk of minutes in the frontcourt and Gortat will have to adjust. Putting up the same rebounding numbers may not be easy, but his abilities to set screens is highly valued by coach Scott Brooks.

Potential to improve: Consistency on offense, free throw shooting, defense.

MORE WIZARDS' ROSTER PREVIEWS:

Can John Wall take another step after earning All-NBA?

Is this the year Bradley Beal becomes an All-Star?

What is the next step in Otto Porter's development?

Markieff Morris can be an X-factor this season

[RELATED: WHO WILL BE MOST-IMPROVED ON THE WIZARDS THIS YEAR?]

SCROLL DOWN FOR MORE WIZARDS STORIES

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John Wall has MRI on left knee as early-season injury saga continues

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John Wall has MRI on left knee as early-season injury saga continues

Point guard John Wall was a notable absence at Friday afternoon's Wizards practice, as he sat out after having an MRI done on his left knee earlier in the day. 

Despite playing well against the Hornets in the team's last game, Wall is still feeling discomfort and now the Wizards wait to hear the test results. Wall may not play against the Blazers on Saturday night.

"John is definitely going to be questionable tomorrow," head coach Scott Brooks said. "We'll see how he feels [Saturday morning] and then make a decision from there."

Wall's knee issue dates back to two weeks ago. He first complained about swelling in his knee after a game against the Sacramento Kings.

[RELATED: MORRIS HAS GROWN VERY CLOSE TO WALL AND BEAL]

Wall has since had his knee drained, but the problems have persisted. Wall says his mobility is affected most.

Wall, 27, has missed two games for the Wizards this season, one due to a sprained left shoulder and another because of his knee. He is averaging 20.3 points and 9.2 assists per game.

Wall had one of his best games against the season in Charlotte on Wednesday. Despite playing through pain, he managed 31 points and 11 assists. He played 41 minutes because the game went to overtime.

If Wall can't go against the Blazers, the Wizards will rely heavily on backup point guard Tim Frazier. Either way, they have a tough assignment at that position with Damian Lillard of Portland.

[RELATED: MORRIS IS A BIG FAN OF MIKE SCOTT]

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Markieff Morris sees a lot of himself in Wizards teammate Mike Scott

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Markieff Morris sees a lot of himself in Wizards teammate Mike Scott

The early returns on backup forward Mike Scott have been quite good for the Wizards. Signed to a one-year deal in free agency, Scott is off to a strong start.

He's averaging 8.6 points and 3.4 rebounds while shooting 53.4 percent from the field and 44.8 percent from three. His 59.7 effective field goal percentage is second on the team behind Otto Porter.

At his best, Scott has proven to be instant offense and an efficient scorer. He's reached double figures in seven out of his last 12 appearances while shooting 59 percent.

Scott is the backup to Markieff Morris and Morris likes what he sees so far.

"He fits perfect. We should have been gotten him," Morris said on the Wizards Tipoff podcast. "I feel like me and him are going to have a couple great years together, if you ask me."

[RELATED: MORRIS STANDS UP FOR RAPPER MEEK MILL]

There are some similarities in the games of Morris and Scott. They are close in size and can score both inside and out. They offer a respectable three-point shot with a strong midrange and post game to complement.

Others have pointed it out and Morris sees it, too.

"I think he's trying to steal my game," he joked. "We kind of resemble each other a lot more than what I thought before he got here."

Morris of course has a twin in real life, Marcus who plays for the Celtics. But Scott is like his twin on the Wizards' bench, figuratively speaking.

"It's kind of hard to distinguish between the two sometimes when they're making shots because they play the same way," guard Bradley Beal said. "They can knock down threes, they can give you the post up game, they can handle the ball. They are definitely one in the same, in a sense."

"There's a lot of similarities. They have a lot of the same mannerisms," head coach Scott Brooks said. "They have this real, tough, calming influence on the group. I like guys that have that edge to them."

Morris also discussed his relationship with John Wall and Bradley Beal, how his season has gone so far and who Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons remind him of on the podcast.

Listen to the full interview right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!