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Morning tip: Wizards figure out Porter-Oubre combo can work


Morning tip: Wizards figure out Porter-Oubre combo can work

Otto Porter and Kelly Oubre look similar and occupy the same spot on the floor for the Wizards on the wing. But in the last two games, especially with this team still lacking bodies because of injuries to Bradley Beal, Nene, Alan Anderson, Gary Neal, Drew Gooden and DeJuan Blair, they have shared the court together.

Porter, a 6-8 small forward, played as the stretch power forward for the Wizards (15-16) in Friday's 103-91 win vs. the Orlando Magic. Oubre, a 20-year-old rookie who had started five games while Porter was out with a thigh bruise, played the entire fourth quarter as the small forward.

“It can be both. We both can play together," said Oubre, who coach Randy Wittman credited with playing his best defense of the season using his 7-2 wingspan for various deflections in addition to his seven points and five rebounds. "We both gel on the court. We both kind of feed off each other’s energy while we're on the court so you can expect big things from us when we're on the court.” 

Porter has scored 21, 20 and 20 points in his three games since returning to the starting lineup and is averaging 9.3 rebounds. Oubre was solid in his absence, averaging 8.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and shooting 75% from three-point range.

It was a matter of time before Porter regained his staring job but Oubre's growth has made him a must in Wittman's rotation no matter the injury circumstance. Some of his better work won't appear on the stat sheet and his athleticism is immediately apparent.

“He's definitely learning a lot, especially defense," said Porter, in his third season. "He's learning how to use his length and things like that. With him out there it gives us another lengthy person that can play defense and also rebound for us. That's what we need.”

Porter, 22, was the No. 3 pick in 2013. Oubre was taken No. 15 overall in June, and the Wizards made a draft-night deal to get him from the Atlanta Hawks. Both come with high expectations but Oubre is getting a chance because of the injury rash. 

"I control what I can control. Otto is a great player. He came back and he was hot fast and coach made a decision to put him back in the lineup and that was a great decision," said Oubre. "All I can do is continue to do what I’ve been doing, trying to get better to help this team. I can't do anything more or anything less.” 

And that's the key. Oubre isn't trying to do too much and despite his cockiness leading up to the start of the season is incredibly level-headed and sure of himself. Perhaps some of that is because he went against Kevin Durant long before he played in the NBA and knew he belonged. He also shares the same personal workout coach as Beal, Drew Hanlen, who spoke glowingly of his work ethic and basketball IQ.

"After Otto starts the three, he played majority the four obviously. Kelly played all 12 minutes in the fourth or close," Wittman said after Friday's win. "That's what we've been doing for the most part here. We got to keep doing it until we get healthy, until you get guys back. ... The good thing about this is there are eight guys here who know they're gonna get to play right now with the injury situation. I think they're using that opportunity.” 

RELATED: Famed NBA ref Joey Crawford to retire after 39 seasons

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2017-18 Wizards roster review: Tim Frazier

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2017-18 Wizards roster review: Tim Frazier

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

Player: Tim Frazier

Position: Point guard

Age: 27

2017-18 salary: $2 million

2017-18 stats: 59 G, 14.2 mpg, 3.0 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 3.3 apg, 0.8 spg, 0.1 bpg, 39.5 FG%, 30.4 3P%, 76.7 FT%, 44.5 eFG%, 105 ORtg, 107 DRtg

Best game: 1/27 at Hawks - 4 points, 14 assists, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks, 2-for-5 FG

Season review: The Wizards tabbed Tim Frazier to be their backup point guard nearly a year ago when they sent a second round pick to the New Orleans Pelicans on the eve of draft night. They viewed Frazier as the solution to their years-long search for a capable backup behind John Wall. Frazier had thrived as a replacement starter in New Orleans and the Wizards saw him as worth a draft pick, even though he had just one year left on his contract.

Frazier began the season as the primary backup point guard, but ultimately lost the job to Tomas Satoransky once Wall went out with a left knee injury. Frazier became the starter and Satoransky the backup, but through two weeks Satoransky outplayed him and became No. 2 on the depth chart once Wall returned. Then, when Wall went down for months late in the season, Satoransky started and Frazier backed him up.

Frazier never found consistency as he moved back and forth between roles. His minutes, points and assists averages were all career-lows.

The Wizards added competition to their roster for Frazier and Satoransky midseason, first by signing Ramon Sessions in March and then adding Ty Lawson just before the playoffs began. That led to Frazier being inactive for four of the Wizards' six postseason games.

All in all, it was a frustrating year for Frazier. He even had to deal with a broken nose and surgery to repair it after getting inadvertently kneed in the face by Bobby Portis in a game against the Bulls in February.

Frazier has been part of small group of Wizards players continuing to work out at the team facility this summer. He has been there along with Wall, Ian Mahinmi and Jason Smith. That said, it does seem likely Frazier returns given how the Wizards used him this season. He was completely out of the rotation for extended periods of time.

Helping his cause in that regard is that the Wizards have his Bird rights, meaning they can re-sign him while going above the salary cap. They currently have five open roster spots and not much money to spend. Frazier could represent a cheap option and help them fill out their roster.

Potential to improve: Shooting, on-ball defense, consistency

More player season reviews:

John Wall, PG

Bradley Beal, SG

Otto Porter, SF

Markieff Morris, PF

Marcin Gortat, C

Kelly Oubre, Jr., SF

Tomas Satoransky, PG

Ian Mahinmi, C

Ty Lawson, PG

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Markieff Morris goes 1-on-1; no All-NBA votes for Beal?

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Markieff Morris goes 1-on-1; no All-NBA votes for Beal?

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chris Miller caught up with Wizards power forward Markieff Morris. Morris looked back on the 2017-18 season and gave his side on what needs to be fixed.

Chris and Chase Hughes also had a heated debate about Bradley Beal not receiving any All-NBA votes. Chase is an awards voter and defended his ballot. Chris wasn't having any of it.

They also went into the conference finals and what it would mean if the Rockets beat the Warriors.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!