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Wizards starters have best net rating of any lineup in the NBA even before Markieff Morris returns

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Wizards starters have best net rating of any lineup in the NBA even before Markieff Morris returns

The Wizards have the best five-man lineup of any in the NBA seven games into the season. It's made of their starters in that span – John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre and Marcin Gortat. 

That group has outscored opponents by 69 points on the floor together, according to the latest stats from Basketball-Reference.com. 

Note that immediately trailing the Wizards are the Warriors, defending NBA champs, with two former MVPs and four max-salary-level players among the five. 

MORE WIZARDS: Hot start to NBA Power Rankings

The Wizards starters have logged 125.7 minutes together on the floor despite only being intact for six games (Porter sat out the Wizards' loss to the Suns with illness). Only two other five-man lineups have played more minutes together. 

That's all about to change when Markieff Morris returns to the starting lineup after recovering from offseason hernia surgery and serving a one-game suspension. 

As Wizards reporter Chase Hughes noted earlier this week, the Wizards have fared well with Oubre slotting into Morris's place, but re-inserting Morris into the starting five could make the team even more dangerous because it allows Oubre to anchor the bench.

Swapping in Morris shouldn't disrupt that success and pushing Oubre to the bench will only help the second unit. With Morris' return getting closer and closer, the Wizards have to feel good about how they have operated during his absence and the potential of their roster once he is back in the fold.

The potential Hughes references is the Wizards' ability to swap Oubre and Morris in and out with great production from each.

Last season, the Wall-Beal-Porter-Morris-Gortat lineup outscored opponents by 8.1 points per 100 possessions while playing 69 games together. That's a huge sample size (1347.4 minutes) of consistently high production. For some context, that was second best in the Eastern Conference among lineups that played more than 250 minutes together.

Subbing in Oubre bumped that net rating to +18.3, albeit over 39 games. Furthermore, playing the super-small "death lineup" of Wall-Beal-Porter-Oubre-Morris, which the Wizards used in 30 games, put up a +15.8 net rating per 100 possessions. 

So the moral of this story is that the Wizards have two very good options at power forward. When Morris returns, the Wizards can use Oubre to anchor the bench or play alongside Morris very effectively in a small lineup. 

It's a good place to be just in time for the Cavaliers. And if Oubre continues to excel, he could force his way into the starting conversation down the road. 

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


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.


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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!