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Wizards' Markieff Morris to be a father soon with training camp right around the corner

Wizards' Markieff Morris to be a father soon with training camp right around the corner

Wizards forward Markieff Morris has a lot to look forward to next month besides the start of 2017-18 training camp in Richmond. Morris and his girlfriend are expecting a baby daughter, their first child, with a due date of Sept. 6. Morris has some time, but it will certainly require an adjustment.

Morris feels ready for the challenge.

"It’s just real chill right now. I try to keep her off her feet as much as possible and try to stay by her side," he said. "I'm getting ready for the kid and staying up all night... I'm a laid back-type of guy. I know she’s going to be chill and laid back like me. It can’t be too much."

Morris has been spending much of his offseason back home in Philadelphia along with his twin brother Marcus. They have been training for the new season, a regiment that has included boxing at a local gym. In Philly he recently held his second annual basketball camp and sixth annual backback giveaway.

[RELATED: PODCAST - Morris on Celtics rivalry, NBA video games preview]

Morris was in D.C. over the weekend for another backpack drive, his second annual giveaway in Southeast Washington. Morris arrived at the Ridge Road Community Center and exited a black Range Rover with fellow NBA player Thomas Robinson to a long line of kids and their parents. Inside were tables and tables of backpacks for all ages and both boys and girls. Morris, Robinson and Morris' family members each wore shirts and hats that read F.O.E. (Family Over Everything).

That's a fitting motto for what Morris was trying to accomplish with his charity venture.

"This is like a home to me. My mom is from here. My entire family is from the D.C. area. So, once I got here I knew right away that I had to get in the community," he said. "I just want to give back to the kids. They’re the future. I’m making sure they know that anything is possible. The city needs stuff like this, guys giving back and coming to the city.

"What we try to do is to try to do everything from the inside. We don’t look for sponsors, we aren’t looking for people to broadcast it. We do it on our own. My mom and my uncle actually run the whole thing. Everyone here running the camp is from the community here at the rec center or my family. We just try to keep it that way. We really don’t even want cameras here. We just do it for the kids and the community."

[RELATED: Morris sees Irving's situation with Cavs as 'unfortunate']

Morris, 27, recalls going to Rasheed Wallace's basketball camp when he was a kid. He knows firsthand how meeting an NBA player can inspire a child with basketball dreams.

"I always remember it. I was at Rasheed Wallace’s camp. I think I was about 10 or 11 and I got to interact with him. That’s something that will stick with kids forever. They will never forget that when they get older," he said.

Morris has a lot on his mind these days, but he is heavily focused on getting back to work with the Wizards. He said their Game 7 loss to the Celtics still bothers him and that "I still feel like we're the better team." He thinks "every game is going to be like Game 7" against the Celtics, who now have his brother Marcus on their roster, this upcoming season.

As for what Morris hopes to improve on himself, he's got a few areas in mind.

"Just keep improving on the 3-point shot, scoring more and staying more consistent. I was a little up-and-down this year, but it’s a long season. You have to forget about the 20 games before and just be more consistent. Rebound the ball more and get a little bit more edge on my bones and muscles. I’m a pretty stiff-type guy, so I’ve gotta figure out how to get loose," he said.

[RELATED: Keef and Dolph: an odd couple friendship within the Wizards' organization]

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Wizards at Nuggets: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

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Wizards at Nuggets: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

John Wall, Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards battle Nikola Jokic, Gary Harris, Paul Millsap and the Denver Nuggets on Monday night.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch…

WASHINGTON WIZARDS AT DENVER NUGGETS

Where: Pepsi Center
Tip-off: 9:00 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (coverage begins at 8 p.m. with Wizards HangTime)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM

Three things to watch...

Smith may be out again

The Wizards are unlikely to have Jason Smith on board when they face the Nuggets on Monday night, as he continues to work his way back from a sprained right shoulder. Smith was injured in the season opener on Wednesday and has yet to practice since. He did conditioning drills on Saturday at Capital One Arena, but that was it.

If Smith can't go, the Wizards can again rely heavily on Kelly Oubre, Jr. in the starting lineup with Otto Porter at the four and Mike Scott coming off the bench behind them. That combination did work against the Pistons, who have a solid frontcourt, but it won't get any easier against Denver. Paul Millsap joined them in free agency and he's one of the best power forwards in the business. Plus, they have Nikola Jokic at center and he's a handful.

[RELATED: WAIT...WHAT'S 'WOLF SEASON?']

No MMA with Millsap

Now that Millsap is in the Western Conference, the Wizards see him much less often and that is a real shame. He and Markieff Morris developed an excellent one-on-one rivalry last season that was highlighted by Millsap, then with the Hawks, saying the Wizards were "playing MMA" during their first round playoff series. Morris fired back by saying what would come next was "double MMA" and took other shots at him, like how the term 'stretch four' "is soft" but that it works for Millsap.

Morris remains out following the sports hernia surgery he had in September, but he can do some talking from the bench, as he said he would once he returned to the team earlier this month. Don't be surprised if Morris is a little more vocal during this game.

[RELATED: HOW MAHINMI LOST WEIGHT, WHY HE LOVES D.C.]

Talented young trio

Millsap is the best veteran on the Nuggets, but they are building their future around three very intriguing young players. Jokic is just 22 and in their backcourt are Gary Harris (23) and Jamal Murray (20). Jokic averaged 16.7 points, 9.8 rebounds and 4.9 assists last season. Harris averaged 14.9 points and shot 50.2 percent from the field as a 6-foot-4 guard. Murray put up a solid 9.9 points in 21.5 minutes as a rookie after going seventh overall in the 2016 draft.

The Nuggets are a team on the rise and offense is their calling card. Last season they were third in the NBA in points per game (111.7) yet 27th out of 30 teams in opponents points per game (111.2). They had the second-worst defensive rating in basketball. Millsap should help those numbers over time, but expect this one to be a high-scoring affair because the Wizards are also a team known more for their offense these days.

[RELATED: KELLY OUBRE CAN SEE WHY DURANT MADE A FAKE TWITTER ACCOUNT]

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LaVar Ball says Wizards 'better beware' with matchup vs. Lakers approaching, Marcin Gortat fires back

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LaVar Ball says Wizards 'better beware' with matchup vs. Lakers approaching, Marcin Gortat fires back

John Wall, when asked about Lonzo and LaVar Ball over the weekend on our Wizards Tipoff podcast, said that Lonzo is a "nice kid" but the trash-talking his father does will be "taken personally" by other NBA players. He explained how Lonzo will "be targeted" because of those comments.

Wall stopped short of saying whether he himself had taken them personally. Well, now LaVar is going after his Wizards.

In a video posted by Ball Is Life on Monday, Ball calls out the Wizards, who they host on Wednesday at the Staples Center:

"Washington is coming in here Wednesday? They better beware because Lonzo ain't losing again, not in the same week."

Wizards center Marcin Gortat saw the video soon after it was posted and tweeted that Wall is going to "torture" Ball for 48 minutes:

The Wizards play the Nuggets on Monday night, but it's hard not to look ahead at Wizards-Lakers which just got even more interesting.

For Wall's full comments on the Ball family, plus his explanation of 'Wolf Season,' check out the Wizards Tipoff podcast:

[RELATED: WIZARDS PICKING UP OUBRE'S OPTION WAS EASY CALL]