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Markieff Morris says Wizards are close to hitting their stride after inconsistent start

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Markieff Morris says Wizards are close to hitting their stride after inconsistent start

It was in the month of December last season when the Wizards hit their stride, when they put behind them an inconsistent start and took off on a run that cemented them as one of the best teams in NBA. Though it was early December when that happened in 2016, Wizards forward Markieff Morris believes the Wizards are close to a similar run.

"It's coming. Don't worry about it," Morris said. "Trust me, it's coming."

From Dec. 8 through March 11 last season, the Wizards went 34-11, the best record in basketball during that span. They were 7-13 when it began and 41-24 by the time it was over.

At 17-14 after 31 games, the Wizards are outpacing themselves from this time last year when they were 15-16, but they haven't put everything together quite yet like they did during the 2016-17 season. Their longest win streak this season is just four games. Due to injuries and trouble against sub-.500 teams, the Wizards have yet to go on an extended run.

PODCAST: JOHN WALL GOES 1-ON-1

But Morris is seeing signs of life in the Wizards' locker room and can sense they are close to turning a corner.

"We'll get John [Wall] back and all the way back the way he needs to be. We'll get [Otto Porter] back. I'm almost there myself," he said.

Wall continues to work his way into midseason form after missing nine games due to a pair of knee procedures on his left knee. Porter has missed two games due to a right hip contusion.

Morris missed seven games to start the year after having offseason sports hernia surgery, but has not been himself in the months since. He's averaging just 9.9 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. His backup, Mike Scott, has been producing about the same (9.8 ppg, 3.7 rpg) while shooting a much higher percentage.

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Morris was a big reason for the Wizards' taking off last year in December. During the 34-11 stretch, he averaged 15.0 points, 7.1 rebounds 2.0 assists and 1.1 steals while shooting 47.1 percent from the field.

Morris says his own improvement is a reason why he thinks the Wizards are close to breaking out. He's starting to get over problems with his right hip and left ankle by utilizing days off to rest and spending more time in the weight room.

"It's how I feel when I wake up," he said. "I feel it when I'm working and then the days after games, I feel better the next day."

There have been times this season where Morris' lack of production has appeared to be a missing piece for the Wizards, but he sounds confident that will change and soon.

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Utah Jazz make guard Rodney Hood available, would Wizards be a fit?

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Utah Jazz make guard Rodney Hood available, would Wizards be a fit?

Momentum is building towards Utah Jazz shooting guard Rodney Hood getting dealt before next month's NBA trade deadline. Marc Stein of the New York Times reported on Saturday that multiple teams have already expressed interest in the four-year pro:

Hood, 25, is on an expiring contract and would provide scoring for a team in the market for offense. He's averaging 16.7 points this season on 41.3 percent from the field and 38.6 percent from three.

Hood isn't a very efficient player, but he can stretch the floor. He's also big for his position at 6-foot-8 and is a very good free throw shooter (86.2%).

The Wizards could use help at the shooting guard position with Bradley Beal logging heavy minutes. They have an improved bench after making several upgrades last offseason, but shooting guard Jodie Meeks has yet to establish a consistent role in their rotation due to his low shooting percentage.

The Wizards don't necessarily need offensive help, but Hood could help take pressure off of Beal. He could also play in lineups with both Beal and John Wall.

It's unclear what the Jazz want in return for Hood and whether the Wizards could make a worthy offer. If Utah is taking the longview to build for the future, that could mean a first round pick and the Wizards have already parted with their last two.

Regardless, if the Wizards decide to target shooting guards in the next few weeks, expect Hood's name to come up.

RELATED: DID THE WIZARDS' TEAM MEETING BACKFIRE?

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Wall: A few teammates didn't respond well to recent team meeting

Wall: A few teammates didn't respond well to recent team meeting

Do NBA seasons even count if an emergency team meeting hasn't taken place yet? 

In what's becomming an annual right of passage for underperforming NBA teams, the Wizards recently held a team meeting to address some of the biggest issues that have been dogging them all year. 

While these meetings typically act as motivating springboards that help bring teams together, the Wizards' recent family therapy session might have done the opposite. 

Enter John Wall. Wall, who's already publically voiced concerns over the team's (lack of) effort this season, recently spoke about how the meeting might have rubbed some of his teammates the wrong way:

"At our team meeting, I think a couple guys took it in a negative way," Wall said after the team's win in Detroit. "It hurt our team. Instead of using it in a positive way like we did in the past and using it to build our team up, it kind of set us back a bit."

That's certainly not a ringing endorsement from Wall, and definitely not something you want to hear after a team meeting. Currently, however, the Wizards are back to their winning ways, coming off a nice road win in Detroit. So maybe it worked! 

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