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Examining the Wizards roster entering crucial summer of 2016

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Examining the Wizards roster entering crucial summer of 2016

Stop me if you heard this before, but the Wizards are focusing on the summer of 2016 as they ponder and makes moves ahead of the 2015-16 season. Washington added three veterans this offseason and re-signed Drew Gooden. All four have contracts expiring after this season. That's no coincidence. This is by design to ensure enough salary cap space remains for Kevin Durant or perhaps other notable free agents.

Again, this isn't breaking news, but rather a reminder. Here's a visual of the current roster and what it would look like following the 15-16 season (contract information from spotrac.com).

2015-16

Power forward - Nene, Kris Humphries, Drew Gooden

Small forward - Otto Porter, Jared Dudley, Martell Webster, Kelly Oubre Jr.

Center - Marcin Gortat, DeJuan Blair

Wing guard - Bradley Beal, Alan Anderson, Gary Neal

Point guard - John Wall, Ramon Sessions, Garrett Temple

Now here's what the team looks like entering the summer of 2016

Power forward - None

Small forward - Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre Jr.

Center - Marcin Gortat 

Wing guard - Bradley Beal 

Point guard - John Wall

• This remaining group reminds me of Filet Mignon: Not the biggest piece of steak (i.e. total depth, especially inside), but what's there is awfully tasty, especially if the four perimeter players progress as hoped. Add a healthy Durant and we're talking a divine feast, or in NBA teams, title contender. 

• Beal is eligible for an extension this summer. If the two sides don't agree on a deal, he would become a restricted free agent next summer. Either way, expect Beal in a Wizards jersey next season (and likely many more to come). 

• The organization holds team options for Porter, Humphries, Gooden, Webster and Blair. Retaining Porter, the No. 3 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, is an obvious no-brainer. Of the other four, only Humphries ($4.6 million) seems like a realistic bet to have his picked up. Never count out Gooden from ultimately sticking around, though he'll be 35 starting the 16-17 season. 

(Worth nothing that initial reports in 2014 had the Wizards agreeing to a three-year contract with Humphries with the third year a team option. Spotrac and other NBA salary sites show his 2016-17 salary as guaranteed.)

• Nene, Dudley, Anderson, Neal, Sessions and Temple would all enter free agency. Any or all could return depending on what transpires this upcoming season. Of this group, the versatile Dudley would seemingly be the most attractive piece.

• Not counted in this summary: Tomas Satoransky and Aaron White. Satoransky, a 6-foot-7 point guard selected early in the second round of the 2012 Draft, has remained overseas for the early part of his professional career. If minutes or a specific role played a major factor in his decision, such concerns would be eliminated in this scenario. Satoransky could slot into the third guard role behind Wall and Beal. White, Washington's 2015 second round selection, is expected to the spend the 2015-16 campaign overseas. Considering the bodies under contract, the 6-foot-8 forward will certainly have the opportunity to make the team with improvement.  

Obviously, the main prize next summer is Durant. Even if the Oklahoma City Thunder star and D.C. area native passes on playing for his hometown team, Washington can offer others big money, a large role and the opportunity to play with a pass-first point guard in Wall and presumably a knockdown shooter like Beal. All of that combined should put the Wizards in a strong position to attract talent. In the crazy world of NBA free agency, that's the important first step. 

MORE WIZARDS: Kevin Durant played softball Sunday with a Redskin and other DMV sports figures

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2017-18 Wizards roster review: Markieff Morris

2017-18 Wizards roster review: Markieff Morris

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

Player: Markieff Morris

Position: Power forward

Age: 28

2017-18 salary: $8 million

2017-18 stats: 73 G, 27.0 mpg, 11.5 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 1.9 apg, 0.8 spg, 0.5 bpg, 48.0 FG%, 36.7 3P%, 82.0 FT%, 53.6 eFG%, 116 ORtg, 112 DRtg

Best game: 12/1 vs. Pistons - 23 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks, zero turnovers, 10-for-16 FG, 2-for-3 3PT

Season review: It took quite a while for Markieff Morris to get healthy in the 2017-18 season. He was sidelined to begin last offseason with the ankle injury he suffered against the Celtics in the playoffs, then in September had surgery on both his abdomen and groin. The sports hernia surgery was known, while the groin procedure was revealed once the season was over.

Morris only missed nine games in the entire season, but took time to find his rhythm early. He averaged just 9.0 points and 4.4 rebounds in 14 games in the month of November. He picked it up after that, though he never quite reached the level we saw from him in 2016-17 in terms of volume production.

Morris played less minutes, took less shots, scored fewer points and grabbed less rebounds than the season before. On the other hand, he was more efficient than ever. Morris shot 48 percent from the field, his best since 2013-14, and posted career-highs in three-point percentage (36.7) and effective field-goal percentage (53.6). 

The Wizards could use more scoring from Morris moving forward, especially at times when one of their primary options is injured, as was the case in 2017-18 when John Wall missed 41 games. An active and engaged Morris changes everything for the Wizards. 

When Morris scored 15 points or more this season, the Wizards went 15-8. The season before, they went 22-9 when he got to the 15-point mark. 

It's a bit difficult to project Morris' role for the 2018-19 season at this point, given the fact he's entering a contract year and the most logical area for the Wizards to make significant changes (if they choose to) is in their frontcourt. Also, as Morris discussed in his exit interview, he knows more time at center in small-ball sets could be in his future.

Regardless of what happens with the team, it's a huge summer for Morris individually. If he sets himself up well for a big year in 2018-19, he could earn a nice payday in what might be his last long-term contract given his age.

Potential to improve: Rebounding, screens, scoring

More player season reviews:

John Wall, PG

Bradley Beal, SG

Otto Porter, SF

Kelly Oubre, Jr., SF

Marcin Gortat, C

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2017-18 Wizards roster review: Marcin Gortat

2017-18 Wizards roster review: Marcin Gortat

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

Player: Marcin Gortat

Position: Center

Age: 34

2017-18 salary: $12.8 million

2017-18 stats: 82 G, 25.3 mpg, 8.4 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 1.8 apg, 0.5 spg, 0.7 bpg, 51.8 FG%, 67.5 FT%, 51.8 eFG%, 112 ORtg, 107 DRtg

Best game: 10/18 vs. Sixers - 16 points, 17 rebounds, 3 blocks, assist, 7-for-12 FG

Season review: Marcin Gortat is self-aware enough to know that what happened to him in 2017-18 was inevitable in many ways. He even publicly called it before the season.

He was one year older, with Ian Mahinmi healthy and in the rotation, and with the NBA continuing to move towards small-ball and big men who can play on the perimeter. As a result, Gortat saw his role in the Wizards rotation pared down noticeably.

Though he still started all 82 games, his minutes went down from 31.2 per game the year before the 25.3. Kelly Oubre, Jr., who played the majority of the season coming off the bench, logged more minutes than Gortat, though he was a starter.

Gortat's minutes were his fewest since the 2009-10 season, when he was a 25-year-old bench player for the Orlando Magic. His numbers this season followed suit. Gortat's points and rebounds per game were both the lowest since that 2009-10 campaign.

Gortat averaged a career-best 10.4 rebounds per game in 2016-17, but the minutes had a direct effect on his volume of boards. He pulled in 2.4 less per game this season despite his rebound percentage (17.0) being close to his career average (17.5). That career average, by the way, is 30th-best all-time an eighth among active players.

Not getting the same opportunities he had in years past, plus public misunderstandings with teammates, combined to make for a frustrating year for Gortat. He said on the Wizards Tipoff podcast midseason it was the worst year of his career. Gortat, though, did continue to make an impact setting screens for the Wizards and he rallied to finish relatively strong.

He had several solid outings in the playoffs, including his 16 points in Game 3 and his 12 rebounds in Game 5. The question is whether that is the last time we will see Gortat in a Wizards uniform.

Washington has played with the idea of trading Gortat for a while now. He popped up in rumors around the trade deadline in February, but remained on the roster. Now he has an expiring contract working in his favor, making it a bit more likely he gets dealt.

Gortat knows his future in Washington is uncertain, though he said following the season he would like to stay. It would not be surprising to him or anyone if he were traded this summer. If not, he's got one year left with the Wizards and could very well have his role decreased even more.

Potential to improve: Rim protection, midrange shooting, free throw percentage

More player season reviews:

John Wall, PG

Bradley Beal, SG

Otto Porter, SF

Kelly Oubre, Jr., SF

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