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Markieff Morris okay with NBA players resting, says game has changed

Markieff Morris okay with NBA players resting, says game has changed

Wizards forward Markieff Morris has weighed both sides of the debate around resting players in the NBA and does not believe it should be a big deal for guys to take a night off every once in a while.

Strong opinions have been shared from both sides, including from Morris' teammate John Wall, who told CSN recently that he thinks the game has gotten "softer." Morris, though, can see why taking a night off might make sense every once in a while.

"For me, it just depends on what your body tells you, man. It's a long and brutal season," Morris said. "For us, last week we had like three back-to-backs or something like that with a day in between to rest. It gets tough. For a player like LeBron [James], I can understand that. You've played more minutes than [Michael] Jordan and all those guys. It's like one game here and there, it won't hurt."

Morris is right that LeBron has logged more minutes than Jordan. Despite being 32 and likely with a few more years left in the NBA, LeBron has already played 49,341 minutes in 1,252 games including the playoffs across 14 seasons. Jordan played 48,485 minutes in 1,251 games across 15 seasons. That means, coincidentally, that on Saturday night against the Wizards LeBron officially passed Jordan in games played. 

Jordan, according to Steve Clifford, the coach he employs as owner of the Charlotte Hornets, does not believe in resting players. And he is not alone, as other legends from his generation like Charles Barkley and Karl Malone have weighed in with strong opinions on the matter.

Morris thinks those guys need to chill out and understand that this isn't the 1980s and 90s.

"That's the old school, man. At the end of the day I've got the utmost respect for those guys. They paved the way for us, but it's different now, man. The league is different. A lot of things have changed since back in the day. You've gotta adjust with that. It just is what it is."

Morris was referring to advancements in sports science and training methods. The decision to rest a player is often made with the consultation of a team's medical staff and, as Gregg Popovich has argued, they are trying to preserve players and extend their careers.

Though Morris picks that side in the argument, he doesn't advocate for players to rest often. He knows doesn't think players should abuse the practice.

"You get your chance to play. When you ain't on the court, it's tough. This is our livelihood. This is what we do. You can never take the game for granted," he said.

[RELATED: Wizards coach Scott Brooks has little sympathy for NBA players who rest just to rest]

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Wizards release statement on the passing of John Wall's mother

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Wizards release statement on the passing of John Wall's mother

The Washington Wizards announced the passing of John Wall's mother, Frances Pulley on Friday. 

Wall's mother had been battling cancer before her passing. She was 58. 

In a statement on Twitter, the Wizards said, "Sending thoughts and love for John Wall and his family after the passing of his mother, Frances Pulley. She will forever be a part of our #DCFamily."

Zach Leonsis, the senior vice president of strategic initiatives at Monumental Sports & Entertainment, also released a statement

"Thinking of @JohnWall and his family right now. Keeping you guys in our prayers. So terribly sorry for your loss and know that she will be remembered forever. #DCFamily

Wall's Kentucky coach, John Calipari also expressed his condolences for his former star: 

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Bradley Beal sees a young John Wall in the Grizzlies rookie sensation Ja Morant

Bradley Beal sees a young John Wall in the Grizzlies rookie sensation Ja Morant

WASHINGTON -- It is not often you see a rookie find initial success in the NBA to the degree Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant has, already with borderline All-Star numbers at the age of 20. And oftentimes, opponents are careful throwing out player comparisons for guys his age, wanting to see more before they anoint anyone.

Morant, though, is a different case and questions from media members at Wizards practice this week as the team gets set to face him for the first time naturally led to parallels to great players. On Thursday, Brooks brought up unprompted how much Morant reminds him of Russell Westbrook, his former player in Oklahoma City.

And on Friday, Bradley Beal invoked a teammate of his when breaking down what makes Morant so good.

"He loves to get up and down. He's really fast with the ball. It reminds you of John [Wall] in a lot of ways. He plays with his pace," Beal said.

Through 19 games this season, Morant is averaging 18.7 points, 6.4 assists and 1.3 steals per game. He is shooting 42.2 percent from three on 2.2 attempts.

The threes have been surprising to most, as he shot a relatively modest 36.3 percent his final year in college at Murray State. But also surprising maybe just how lethal he has been at attacking the rim.

Sure, that was a big part of his game in college. But this is the NBA where athletes are much bigger and stronger. And he isn't the biggest guy either, weighing in at 175 pounds according to Basketball-Reference.

But despite lacking in size, he has shown an ability to finish through contact rarely seen from any player.

"I think he has a no-fear type of mentality. So, you have to respect his aggressiveness," Beal said. "He'll get respect from a lot of players in the league, a lot of refs in the league because of his aggressiveness and... with all the posters he has. So, he's an assassin. You gotta respect his game."

Beal likely won't draw the defensive assignment on Morant. That will probably go to Ish Smith and back-up point guard Chris Chiozza, who is with the team while Isaiah Thomas recovers from a left calf injury.

Beal knows it is going to be tough for the whole Wizards team to contain Morant. He said the trick will be trying to stay in front of him, though he knows that is easier said than done.

Really, Morant is such a unique player that the Wizards can only gameplan and prepare so much until they actually experience facing him for the first time.

"He's gonna be a handful," Beal said.

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