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Morris speaks: 'Just ready to move on'


Morris speaks: 'Just ready to move on'

After 4 1/2 seasons with the Phoenix Suns, Markieff Morris is on the move. 

"I had a couple great years in Phoenix, man," Morris told reporters in Phoenix while riding a hoverboard to his car shortly after learning he was traded to the Wizards. Washington sent Kris Humphries, DeJuan Blair and a protected 2016 first round pick to Phoenix for the athletic power forward.

"Just ready to move on," Morris continued. "My time here was great and I thank the organization for giving me a chance to play here and drafting me. I'm just ready for this new environment in Washington."

Most of those aforementioned great times took place before the current season.

For the struggling Suns (14-40), the deal was about the future, one they decided Morris wouldn't be part of anymore.  Phoenix now owns three first round picks in the 2016 draft. The 2015-16 went off the rails early in the campaign and led to the firing of head coach Jeff Hornacek. 

After averaging 15.6 points during the 2014-15 season, Markieff Morris' scoring dropped to 11.6 points in 37 games this season. He was suspended two games by the Suns after throwing a towel at Hornacek during an in-game argument. Recently Morris shoved teammate Archie Goodwin during another in-game argument. 

The overall bad vibes started in July when Phoenix traded Markieff's twin, Marcus, to the Detroit Pistons. The Morris twins took what were considered discounted contract extensions in 2014 to ensure they would remain together. Soon after Marcus' trade, Markieff said on Twitter, "My future is not in Phoenix."

Despite the recent incident, Morris and Goodwin remained "really close," Goodwin told the Arizona Republic. "For me to have to see him leave so fast is one of those things to where I really wasn't ready for it. But like I say, you've got to continue to move forward. I know he's going to do great things in D.C. and we're going to just continue to improve here.

"I know that he has some feelings toward people here. So for me to see him get out of a situation where he can clear his mind and go in with a free conscience, I know he's going to play really good."

That's the hope in Washington. The Wizards took a calculated risk, but the payoff could be immense, pairing the big man with the dynamic backcourt tandem of John Wall and Bradley Beal.

Forward Jared Dudley, who previously played with Morris in Phoenix, envisions his new/old teammate eventually moving into the starting lineup where his strong mid-range shot will be paired with the pass-first Wall. Dudley welcomed Morris to his new home after Thursday's win over Utah

Earlier, Morris departed the only place he's called home in the NBA.

"I thank them for having me," Morris said of Suns fans. "I had a great five years here. That's all I can really say. I just thank them."

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2019 NBA Draft prospect profile: Bruno Fernando

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2019 NBA Draft prospect profile: Bruno Fernando

The Washington Wizards will have the ninth overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects who could fall around where the Wizards will select...

2019 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Bruno Fernando

School: Maryland
Position: Center
Age: 20 (turns 21 in August)
Height: 6-10
Weight: 237
Wingspan: 7-3
Max vertical: 33.5 in.

2018/19 stats: 13.6 ppg, 10.6 rpg, 2.0 apg, 0.6 spg, 1.9 bpg, 60.7 FG% (5.1/8.4), 30.0 3PT% (0.1/0.3), 77.9 FT%

Player comparison: Jusuf Nurkic, Bam Adebayo

Projections: NBC Sports Washington 24th, NBADraft.net 12th, Bleacher Report 19th, Sports Illustrated 28th, Ringer 37th

5 things to know:

*Fernando tested the NBA draft waters last year before returning to school and clearly helped his stock by doing so. He went from a likely second round pick to someone who could fall in the lottery. Fernando is ranked in most mock drafts as the third-best big man in this draft behind Zion Williamson and Jaxson Hayes.

*He is one of the best rebounders in this class. He averaged 10.9 boards per game as a sophomore and had five games of 15 or more. That includes a 19-rebound performance against Nebraska on Feb. 6. Fernando is a strong, physical forward so there is reason to believe those skills will translate to the next level.

*Concerns about Fernando include his lack of an outside shot. He attempted only 13 threes in college and did most of his damage around the rim. But the potential for Fernando to become a reliable scorer in the NBA appear to be there. He has soft touch around the rim and can finish with power.

*Defensively, Fernando needs some work. He has the physical tools with his size and long arms, and he averaged 1.9 blocks per game in college, but some evaluatiors criticize his defensive instincts and discipline. As long as Fernando can block shots and rebound in the NBA, he should be fine on that end of the floor.

*Fernando is originally from the country of Angola and has played for their national team in several international tournaments. Angola basketball is famous for being the subject of one of Charles Barkley's most memorable quotes. During the 1992 Olympics, he said of USA's next opponent: "I don't know anything about Angola, but I know they're in trouble."

Fit with Wizards: Fernando would fit the Wizards in a variety of ways. Rim protection and rebounding are their biggest needs and he would help them to different degrees in both areas. With rebounding in particular, he could be a big plus.

But two questions about Fernando could give the Wizards pause. One is if they can justify taking him ninth when he may fall into the teens and second is what his ceiling will ultimately be. Does he have All-Star potential or will he top out as an Enes Kanter-type rebounding specialist?

Ideally, the Wizards would find someone with very high upside to give them hope for a true franchise building block moving forward. There may be better options than Fernando at No. 9, even if they play positions that are less of a need for the Wizards.

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Former Terp Kevin Huerter makes NBA All-Rookie Second Team

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Former Terp Kevin Huerter makes NBA All-Rookie Second Team

With Dallas' Luka Doncic and Atlanta's Trae Young leading the way, the top five NBA draft picks from 2018 have been selected as the top five NBA rookies this season.

Doncic and Young were unanimous first-team selections for the NBA All-Rookie team, which was announced Tuesday. Phoenix's Deandre Ayton, Memphis' Jaren Jackson and Sacramento's Marvin Bagley III are also on the first team, which was chosen by 100 voters who cover the league.

Ayton, Bagley, Doncic, Jackson and Young were the first five picks in the last year's draft.

This marks the first time since the 1984 draft that the first five picks ended up as first-team all-rookie -- the selections that year being Hakeem Olajuwon, Sam Bowie, Michael Jordan, Sam Perkins, Charles Barkley. That was the entirety of the rookie team that season; the NBA didn't start doing first- and second-team selections until 1988-89.

The Hawks had two all-rookie selections this season, with Kevin Huerter on the second team to join Young. Also on the second team were a pair of Los Angeles Clippers, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Landry Shamet, along with Cleveland's Collin Sexton and New York's Mitchell Robinson.

Rookie of the year will be announced at the NBA Awards show in Los Angeles on June 24. Doncic, Young and Ayton are the finalists.

Doncic and Young join other unanimous first-team all-rookie picks over the last decade: Ben Simmons and Donovan Mitchell (2018), Malcolm Brogdon and Dario Saric (2017), Karl-Anthony Towns and Kristaps Porzingis (2016), Andrew Wiggins (2015), Michael Carter-Williams (2014), Damian Lillard (2013), Kyrie Irving (2012), Blake Griffin (2011) and Tyreke Evans, Brandon Jennings and Stephen Curry (2010).

Others receiving votes: Phoenix's Mikal Bridges, New York's Kevin Knox and Allonzo Trier, Minnesota's Josh Okogie, Dallas' Jalen Brunson, Brooklyn's Rodions Kurucs, Chicago's Wendell Carter Jr., Charlotte's Mile Bridges, Detroit's Bruce Brown, Sacramento's Harry Giles III, Orlando's Mo Bamba and Indiana's Aaron Holiday.