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Wizards 2017-18 roster outlook: Chris McCullough has potential, but will he get any minutes?

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Wizards 2017-18 roster outlook: Chris McCullough has potential, but will he get any minutes?

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

Player: Chris McCullough

Position: Power forward

Age: 22

2016-17 stats: 16 G, 5.0 mpg, 2.3 ppg, 0.1 apg, 1.2 rpg, 0.1 spg, 0.5 bpg, 50.0 FG%, 14.3 3P%, 60.0 FT%, 51.6 eFG%, 37 ORtg, 98 DRtg

RELATED: HOW THE NBA CAN PREVENT TANKING?

2017-18 storyline: McCullough appeared in just two games for the Wizards in the 2016-17 season after joining them in the trade deadline deal that brought Bojan Bogdanovic to Washington.

McCullough was a mainstay on the inactives list in what was his second NBA season. Combined with the 14 games he played for the Nets last year, McCullough appeared in a total of 80 minutes all year.

McCullough's athletic potential is obvious, as he shows in practice all the time and as he showed in the 2017 Summer League in Las Vegas.

He can run the floor, play above the rim and even has a smooth jumper from long range. How and if McCullough can put it all together are the real questions.

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

In the Summer League, McCullough showed an ability to finish strong at the rim and grab rebounds, but his shot was cold and he spent considerable time on the perimeter. It's not clear yet what type of NBA style suits him best. Will he be a stretch-4 or is he best served by simply focusing on rebounding and defense?

The Wizards won't be able to give McCullough much of an opportunity this year, either, and that's even with the expectation Markeff Morris will miss several weeks of the regular season. They have depth ahead of McCullough including veterans Jason Smith and Mike Scott at power forward. McCullough will likely see some time in the G-League this year as he hopes to start reaching his vast potential. Keep in mind the Wizards have to decide on McCullough's rookie scale contract option for the 2018-19 season. The deadline is Oct. 31.

Potential to improve: Rim protection, offensive skillset, consistency

MORE WIZARDS' ROSTER PREVIEWS:

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

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

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

Markieff Morris: Markieff Morris can be an X-factor this season

Marcin Gortat: Will Marcin Gortat's role change or be the same this year?

Kelly Oubre: Will Kelly Oubre, Jr. make a big leap this season?

Ian Mahinmi: Can Ian Mahinmi make a bigger impact in his second season?

Tim Frazier: Will Tim Frazier be the solution at backup point guard?

Jodie Meeks: Jodie Meeks could make big impact off bench

Mike Scott: Mike Scott can add toughness to Wizards' bench

Jason Smith: Jason Smith's improvement as a shooter should help Wizards bench

Tomas Satoransky: Will Tomas Satoransky's role expand in his second year?

Sheldon Mac: Will Sheldon Mac be given a bigger opportunity?

Daniel Ochefu: Can Daniel Ochefu earn playing time in a crowded frontcourt?

 

SCROLL DOWN FOR MORE WIZARDS STORIES

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Wizards know Sixers' former 1st overall pick Ben Simmons presents unique threat

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Wizards know Sixers' former 1st overall pick Ben Simmons presents unique threat

The Philadelphia 76ers, amazingly, will have not one but two No. 1 overall draft picks making their NBA debuts on Wednesday night when the Wizards host the Sixers in their regular season opener at Capital One Arena.

Markelle Fultz is getting much of the hype and understandably. He was the most recent top pick, is from the D.C. area and the Sixers had to trade up to get him. But Ben Simmons is also ready to debut and the Wizards aren't about to overlook him.

Wizards head coach Scott Brooks has already watched some of the limited film available on the 2016 top pick and he likes what he sees.

"He's a problem. He can do a lot of good things on the court. He has great size and strength. His athleticism is off the charts," Brooks said. "He has size, he has length, he has jumping ability. He's going to be a heck of a player for a long time."

[RELATED: FELIX EARNS FINAL ROSTER SPOT AFTER LONG JOURNEY]

Simmons, 21, is 6-foot-10 but has the mobility of a guard. At the NBA Draft Combine in 2016, he recorded a 41 1/2-inch. max vertical leap, equal to Zach LaVine and higher than Aaron Gordon. His agility test time was better than Stephen Curry and Chris Paul.

Athletes like Simmons don't come around often. He's a difficult player to match up with, regardless of his inexperience and reputation as a poor shooter. Size and speed are two things that can't be taught.

Whom the Wizards throw at him will be interesting. Perhaps Kelly Oubre, Jr. or Otto Porter will get the nod. Brooks, though, insists it won't be up to one player.

"We have the versatility on defense where we can match up with different players. That can help us guard players like that. But you're talking about a guy who can put the ball on the floor and get to spaces and spots that normally a 6-10 guy doesn't. Your team defense has to be locked in," Brooks said.

Simmons missed all of last season with a foot injury, but was impressive this preseason. A player who can pass like this at 6-foot-10 is a serious anomaly:

[RELATED: SIXERS WON'T START FULTZ VS. WIZARDS]

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Wizards still have decision to make on roster before season begins

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Wizards still have decision to make on roster before season begins

Though the Wizards' top 15 players are set after they picked guard Carrick Felix for the final roster spot, they still have a decision to make on which players will join them for the start of the season, Wednesday night against the Sixers. 

The Wizards are considering keeping one of their rookies on two-way contracts for the start of the year. The most likely candidate is forward Michael Young with Devin Robinson still on the mend from a stress fracture in his left foot. 

Under two-way contracts, players are allowed 45 days at the NBA level. Young would spend most of his time this season in the G-League, but could help out early on with Markieff Morris rehabbing from sports hernia surgery. NBC Sports Washington reported this scenario last week.

[RELATED: FULTZ WON'T START VS. WIZARDS]

Head coach Scott Brooks avoided specifics, saying the Wizards could keep both Young or Robinson, or send both to the G-League to start the year.

"I'd like to keep them around, one for sure, maybe a couple of games, just to have them experience some time with us. I don't want to tell you which one," he said.

Robinson, 22, has been out since the start of training camp. He did not appear in any preseason games. Young, 23, played in two and scored one point.

The Wizards have two home games to begin the year before heading out on a road trip out west. They could keep Young with the team before the road trip begins.

Once the 45 days are up on a player's two-way deal, their team then decides if they want to convert the contract into an NBA deal.

[RELATED: BEST PLAYS FROM WIZARDS' PRESEASON]