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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. 

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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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Bradley Beal loves Sixers' Joel Embiid's trash-talking, just don't try it on the Wizards

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USA Today Sports Images

Bradley Beal loves Sixers' Joel Embiid's trash-talking, just don't try it on the Wizards

There may not be another athlete, regardless of sport, that is as good at social media as Sixers center Joel Embiid. It's partly why he has become so popular among fans and media despite only having 31 NBA games under his belt.

It has apparently even earned him a nickname as the 'Social Media King.' 

Everyone seems to be laughing, expect Heat center Hassan Whiteside perhaps. Embiid and Whiteside have been in an on-court and off-court beef for a while now. Last year Embiid called Whiteside "BBQ chicken" after one matchup, suggesting he 'cooked' him. Whiteside also made headlines for suggesting Embiid's social media prowess earned him All-Star votes.

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After a matchup between the two this preseason, Whiteside tweeted his team's record against Embiid's Sixers. So, Embiid fired back with a series of tweets, some of which were hilarious:

The Wizards host the Sixers for the regular season opener on Wednesday and, with Embiid's social media antics in the news, Bradley Beal was asked for his opinion after Monday's practice. He's amused.

"Jo-Jo is my boy. I like Jo-Jo. We have the same trainer and work out in the summers. That was crazy. That was really crazy. He was letting his feelings be known," Beal said. 

"But I like it, it keeps guys competitive. Same with Whiteside. I think that's what we need a little bit. I don't think there is necessarily going to be any fighting or any hands thrown or anything like that. It's a competition thing. Who is the better big and who is going to prove it?"

Beal enjoys Embiid's trash-talking from afar and considers him a friend. Just don't bring that stuff to D.C.

"When he plays us, we're going to try to shut him down as best as we can. We aren't trying to hear none of that talking and I'm gonna let him know about it, too," he said.

Markieff Morris may be out, but the Wizards have plenty of players who won't back down to trash-talking, Beal included.

[RELATED: HOW WILL WIZARDS GUARD BEN SIMMONS?]

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Wizards Tipoff podcast, Ep. 44 - Jodie Meeks on meshing with Wizards, John Wall's recruiting visit

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NBC Sports Washington

Wizards Tipoff podcast, Ep. 44 - Jodie Meeks on meshing with Wizards, John Wall's recruiting visit

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman personal injury lawyers, Wizards shooting guard Jodie Meeks joined the show to talk about his first month with the Wizards.

Meeks was signed this offseason as a free agent, but already feels comfortable playing with Tim Frazier, John Wall and Bradley Beal. Speaking of Wall, Meeks recalled first meeting him and what it was like to host Wall on his recruiting visit at Kentucky.

After the Meeks interview, host Chase Hughes broke down why Carrick Felix made the final roster spot. Plus, an update on Markieff Morris and what the Wizards are planning to do with Mike Young and Devin Robinson.

You can listen to the episode 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!

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