The post-ups are there for Markieff Morris and Marcin Gortat, particularly after a matchup with the Dallas Mavericks, but their offensive output was modest as each made just five shots in the 113-105 loss.
The way teams are defending the Wizards (16-18), intent on containing John Wall and Bradley Beal, means 1 vs. 1 coverage is often given elsewhere on the floor. Morris, Gortat and Otto Porter automatically benefit. The latter two are having career seasons.
Defenses habitually give up the roll man, often Gortat or Morris, by switching a smaller player onto them to stop the ball when Wall or Beal run the pick-and-roll.
Tuesday in Dallas, the Wizards immediately went to post-ups with Gortat as he was being defended by Dirk Nowitzki. The Mavericks have been playing the career power forward at center, trying to hide him because he's less mobile at an advanced stage and can spread to the three-point line which could present matchup problems for some bigs.
On the surface, it looked like a good idea until Gortat missed four consecutive shots, with the first three coming on hooks. Gortat is averaging 11.5 points on a career-high 57 percent shooting and a career-high 12.0 rebounds. He's tied for the third-most paint touches at 6.4 and is shooting 66 percent on them, better than fellow centers Andre Drummond (63.4%), Hassan Whiteside (63.3%) and Steven Adams (65%).
Gortat's accuracy drops to 51.8 percent in post-ups. Morris is better with post-ups (50%) than isolation plays (45.2%), but at 6-10 he's sometimes facing coverages from guards such as Wes Matthews who defended him for Dallas during key spots in the second half.
Morris has struggled shooting overall, however, at 42.9 percent and approaching a career-low at 29 percent from three-point range. His averages should be above 12.8 points and 5.8 rebounds.
Morris has made 58.2 percent of his 98 shots in the restricted area. Gortat, though bigger and stronger, is modestly better 64.7 percent in the restricted area on 170 attempts. He'd be much higher if he hadn't missed on 8 of 24 dunk chances (Morris is 20-for-20).
The play of Wall, Beal and Porter has kept Washington among the elite from close range. At less than 5 feet from the rim, the Wizards shoot 59.9 percent for ninth-best in the league. From 5-9 feet, they're 43.8 percent which is fourth-best.
As good as those overall numbers look, Morris and Gortat can make them better if they can be more efficient. Given the makeup of the roster, they'll have to be in games like Tuesday's.
Morris has to make defenses pay, like the Indiana Pacers in a game last month, for doing this in his screen-roll with Beal. They commit to Beal on the ball and allow Morris to dive to the basket without much attention by banking on him not being able to get the rebound or finish if he does.
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