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Could Howard, Johnson movement prove tasty for Wizards?

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Could Howard, Johnson movement prove tasty for Wizards?

Minutes before his franchise selected Bradley Beal in the 2012 NBA Draft, Wizardsowner Ted Leonsis said he would find it "unacceptable" should hisbasketball team wind up in the lottery again next year. Fair enough, but it'snot solely up to the players, coaches and management in Washington when itcomes to landing a postseason berth. The other 14 teams in the Eastern Conference will have something to sayabout the playoff race. Well, other than the woeful Charlotte Bobcats, ofcourse. Therefore tracking free agency and other transactions through the prismof the Wizards is not enough. Monitoring the others in the Southeast divisionis however, a good starting point.First off, Washington is not catching Miami unless LeBron James has apetulant moment and insists on taking his talent to some beach other than SouthBeach. In addition, even with the addition of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, theBobcats are not jumping past the Wizards in the standings unless 1980's MichaelJordan dons a uniform.

That leaves the Atlanta Hawks and Orlando Magic, two playoff teams that ifthey were to stay intact likely remain ahead of the Wizards in the divisionstandings. Based on the recent buzz, the idea of either squad looking the samenext season appears iffy at best.Obviously, we start in Orlando where Dwight Howard is fast tracking hisquest to make James' "decision" process seem reasonable bycomparison. The broad-shouldered All-Star center is onlyinterested in playing for and signing a long-term deal with the Brooklyn Nets.The thought of a "Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers for Andrew Bynum" deal makessense for both sides, but apparently, Howard is not interested in a left coaststay.Bully for Dwight, but there is not much the Nets can offer Orlando in returnthat will make the deal interesting for the Magic. Outside of landing a Bynumor coming up with an outside the box deal that brings upside talent the MagicKingdom, Orlando's status as a perennial playoff contender dramatically dips ifHoward is not manning the middle. At some point, the Magicmay realize it's time to move on no matter what. That time might be approaching and if so, the Wizards could take advantage with a rise in the standings.Speaking of the Nets, they are reportedlyin talks with the Hawks about Joe Johnson. Put me in the camp that saysAtlanta must break up the Johnson-Josh Smith-Al Horford dynamic that has provenunworthy of a deep playoff run. Johnson, the one player who actually received max money during the fabledfree agency summer of 2010, is himself an All-Star, but not a franchise player.If Atlanta can find the right deal that brings back talent (Marshon Brooks?) Orfrees up cap space, they have enough talent onboard to remain playoff worthy,though they could take a step back. The drafting of Vanderbilt sharpshooter JohnJenkins might be part ofa contingency plan. Therefore, if you're gauging the Wizards playoffs hopes and dreams, dealing Howardlikely moves Washington up a slot in the Southeast. Trading Johnsonlikely bringsthe Wizards and Hawks closer together.Of course, if the Nets land Howard and Johnson AND DeronWilliams, another team will have just moved into the playoff lock category. So, there's that..

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2017-18 Wizards roster review: Mike Scott

2017-18 Wizards roster review: Mike Scott

To wrap up the 2017-18 season, we are looking at each player on the Wizards' roster. Today, we evaluate Mike Scott's season...

Player: Mike Scott

Position: Power forward

Age: 29

2017-18 salary: $1.7 million

2017-18 stats: 76 G, 18.5 mpg, 8.8 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 1.1 apg, 0.3 spg, 0.1 bpg, 52.7 FG%, 40.5 3P%, 65.8 FT%, 59.0 eFG%, 109 ORtg, 111 DRtg

Best game: 12/9 at Clippers - 22 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 9-for-11 FG, 3-for-4 3PT, 28 minutes

Season review: The 2017-18 Wizards season was full of unpredictability and the most positive surprise had to be the comeback of Mike Scott.

The Wizards signed Scott to a veteran minimum contract last offseason after a workout at Capital One Arena. This came just months after he had felony drug charges dropped in the state of Georgia, he lost 25 pounds and rehabbed a leg injury. That spring he had wondered, and justifiably, if his NBA career was over.

Scott overcame all of those odds to not only return to the NBA, but re-establish himself as a productive player off the bench. No one was more consistent start-to-finish in the Wizards' second unit than Scott was.

Scott earned a significant role in head coach Scott Brooks' rotation out of the preseason and stayed there. He reached double-figures in 31 of his 76 games, second only to Kelly Oubre, Jr. on the Wizards. 

Scott's primary value was on offense. He scored inside and out and got his points with remarkable efficiency. He led the Wizards and was tied for 11th in the NBA in effective field-goal percentage. He was second on Washington in field goal percentage and third in three-point percentage. 

Scott closed the season strong, reaching double-figures in scoring in seven of the last nine regular season games. He carried that over into the playoffs with 46 points through their first three games against the Raptors. 

Now comes the question of how much money Scott earned himself with his comeback year and whether the Wizards can afford keeping him. Since they are in the luxury tax, they will have little money to spend this summer. 

The way to keep Scott would be to use the remainder of their taxpayer mid-level exception, but that figures to be only about $1.9 million, not much more than what Scott made in 2017-18. Given how well he played this season, it would not be surprising if he earns much more than that.

Potential to improve: Free throw shooting, forcing turnovers, ability to guard bigs

More player season reviews:

John Wall, PG

Bradley Beal, SG

Otto Porter, SF

Markieff Morris, PF

Marcin Gortat, C

Kelly Oubre, Jr., SF

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Markieff Morris is helping his brother gameplan to defend LeBron James

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Markieff Morris is helping his brother gameplan to defend LeBron James

Wizards forward Markieff Morris is all-in on his brother Marcus and the Boston Celtics beating the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals. Not only is he showing up to games in his twin brother's jersey, he is helping Marcus break down film on LeBron James.

James was held to just 15 points on 31.3 percent shooting with seven turnovers in Game 1 and Marcus got some credit for stopping him. In the two games since, James went off for 42 and 27 points, each time posting 12 assists to complement. Though Cleveland lost Game 2 as well, they punched back with a 30-point win in Game 3.

The Morrises are combining forces to make sure that doesn't happen again, according to Jay King of The Athletic. They stayed up until 2 a.m. on Sunday morning reviewing plays. 

Game 4 between the Cavs and Celtics is on Monday night. If Boston wins, they will take a 3-1 lead in the series, which will be very difficult for the Cavs to overcome. Yes, they mounted the most famous 3-1 comeback in NBA history, but this isn't the same Cavs team that accomplished the feat in 2016.

There is of course some irony in Markieff helping the Celtics, given he was so integral in the rivalry between the Wizards and Boston. But, as he has shown many times over the years, it's family over everything.

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