Markieff Morris has been called a lot of things in his sixth NBA season. Just don't call the Wizards' starting power forward a "stetch four." He really doesn't like the label.
"That's not my game. That's what the game is now. I just shoot threes. I added it to my game. I feel like that's soft, too, stretch? What the hell is that?" Morris said after the Saturday's practice, before the Wizards play Game 1 vs. the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday. "They don't say stretch four when they name the lineups. They say power forward, right? So how can I be labeled a stretch four?"
Regardless of his disdain for it, Morris' acquistion at the trade deadline during the 2015-16 season changed the Wizards' fortunes going forward. Defending the likes of Paul Millsap, Atlanta's best player, had long been problematic and that included a six-game semifinals loss to the Hawks in two years ago.
The Wizards either had to send out a 7-foot, immobile Nene to defend him at the three-point line, Kris Humphries or Drew Gooden. If they went with a smaller player such as Jared Dudley, he'd get posted up in isolation which would force help and leave three-point shooters open.
Morris, who is 6-10, covers both bases. His three-point shooting in the last six games he played was 10-for-17. He can give Millsap a dose of his own medicine when he's shooting well from range.
"I'm just going to take what's open. If that's the shot that's open then that's what I got to do," Morris said. "Earlier in the season I wasn't shooting them as well or as much. Towards the end starting getting more open so I got to shoot them."
But, Morris insisted: "You say stretch four to Millsap. You say power forward to me."