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NBA Draft Lottery: Playing the 'what if' game

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NBA Draft Lottery: Playing the 'what if' game

Here. We. Go.Tonight, sometime after 8:00 p.m., the NBA Draft lottery gods - or for the truly cynical, commissioner David Stern - reveal the Wizards initial selection in the 2012 draft. So far, we know the following: The Wizards have the second best overall odds - 19.9 percent - to land the overall No. 1 pick. The Wizards can pick no worse than fifth overall. The Wizards have a 55.74 percent chance of landing one of the first three picks. There is99.99 percent chance the Wizards miss out on Kentucky shot blocker Anthony Davis if they do land the first pick in the draft. This number is unofficial, but highly logical.
Which teamgets the springy unibrowed wonderwillbethe main story coming out of tonight's festivities. The "winning" team may decide a trade is in their best interest, but regardless it would be stunning if Davis was not the first name chosen on June 28, night of the NBA Draft.Only the Bobcats have better better odds at landing the first selection than the Wizards, followed by the Cavaliers, Hornets, Kings and Nets. For the entire lottery odds breakdown, click here.Beyond Davis, there appears be a group of four prospects in the mix for picks 2-5: Floridaoff-guard Bradley Beal, Connecticut center Andre Drummond, Kentucky small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Kansas power forward Thomas Robinson. If you want to talk odds, the newest Wizard likely comes from this quartet.From the time the order is revealed until the picks are made, said order could change many times over - at least the rumor mill will have us believing that over the next month. For now, here's a down and dirty look at what happens should certain teams jump ahead of the Wizards.If you want Beal, then you don't want to see: the Cavaliers, whodrafted Kyrie Irving with the overall No.1 pick last season,receiving another dose of good fortune(apparently as an homage to lady luck, the Cavs are once again sending Owner Dan Gilbert's son to be the team's on-stage representative.As a nod to that winning formula, the Wizards are sending Zach Leonsis, son of team owner Ted). Like the local team, Cleveland's primary weakness is its perimeter attack and pairing Beal with the reigning Rookie of the Year would make for some scary upside combo. Could see the Nets going small if they believe Deron Williams stays and their chances of landing Dwight Howard are at least reasonable.The Hornets will pass on Beal assuming they intend on retaining restricted free agent Eric Gordon. As it stands, this is my preferenced pick for the Wizards, though they might be able to land backcourt help with their two second-round picks.If you want Drummond,then you don't want to see: The logical argument that the Wizards should not take the incredibly raw center. Kidding, kidding, though with Nene and Kevin Seraphin inside and their needs outside, not really. As it stands, seems like the UConn freshman falls to four or five. Then again, it just takes one team to fall in love and apparently Drummond has been doing the getting in shape thing. Maybe the Hornets decide to bring the big man to the Big Easy since current center Chris Kaman is an unrestricted free agent. Should the Wizards fall to five, could be an interesting debate between taking Drummond orone of the remaining perimeter options like North Carolina's Harrison Barnes or Drummond's Connecticut teammate Jeremy Lamb.If you want Kidd-Gilchrist, then you don't want to see: Just about anyone ahead of the Wizards. Charlotte's current small forward options are rather pedestrian. Sacramento could part ways with the out-of-position Tyreke Evans this summer. Clevelandcould use aSF upgrade, though pairing MKG with Anderson Varejao and Tristan Thompson makes for a non-shooting frontcourt. New Orleans could use a healthy dose of aggressiveness, which Kidd-Gilchrist offers most of all. For the Wizards, my fear is that his lack of outside touch does not address their current need and his skills are in a general sense similar to Chris Singleton. That's not the same as saying they should pass onthe tough-minded winner. Thatis what doing your homework is all about.If you want Robinson, then you don't want to see: Hornets owner Tom Benson boogying on Bourbon Street. Okay, you might never want to see that, but in this case it could mean New Orleans solidifies its frontcourt with the chiseled rebounder. With two lottery picks (second one courtesy of the Timberwolves), the Hornets could target a big man early then look for a needed point guard later in the lottery. The Kings might crown Robinson with the second or third pick if given a chance.Unless the Nets move into the top 3, their selection goes to the Trail Blazers as part of last season's Gerald Wallace trade.Ben Standig blogs about the Redskins, Wizards, Hoyas and the D.C.area college basketball scene for CSNwashington. You can reach him by email at bstandig@comcast.net, follow him on Twitter @BenStandig and catch his musings at the D.C. Sportalist.

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2017-18 Wizards roster review: Markieff Morris

2017-18 Wizards roster review: Markieff Morris

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

Player: Markieff Morris

Position: Power forward

Age: 28

2017-18 salary: $8 million

2017-18 stats: 73 G, 27.0 mpg, 11.5 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 1.9 apg, 0.8 spg, 0.5 bpg, 48.0 FG%, 36.7 3P%, 82.0 FT%, 53.6 eFG%, 116 ORtg, 112 DRtg

Best game: 12/1 vs. Pistons - 23 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks, zero turnovers, 10-for-16 FG, 2-for-3 3PT

Season review: It took quite a while for Markieff Morris to get healthy in the 2017-18 season. He was sidelined to begin last offseason with the ankle injury he suffered against the Celtics in the playoffs, then in September had surgery on both his abdomen and groin. The sports hernia surgery was known, while the groin procedure was revealed once the season was over.

Morris only missed nine games in the entire season, but took time to find his rhythm early. He averaged just 9.0 points and 4.4 rebounds in 14 games in the month of November. He picked it up after that, though he never quite reached the level we saw from him in 2016-17 in terms of volume production.

Morris played less minutes, took less shots, scored fewer points and grabbed less rebounds than the season before. On the other hand, he was more efficient than ever. Morris shot 48 percent from the field, his best since 2013-14, and posted career-highs in three-point percentage (36.7) and effective field-goal percentage (53.6). 

The Wizards could use more scoring from Morris moving forward, especially at times when one of their primary options is injured, as was the case in 2017-18 when John Wall missed 41 games. An active and engaged Morris changes everything for the Wizards. 

When Morris scored 15 points or more this season, the Wizards went 15-8. The season before, they went 22-9 when he got to the 15-point mark. 

It's a bit difficult to project Morris' role for the 2018-19 season at this point, given the fact he's entering a contract year and the most logical area for the Wizards to make significant changes (if they choose to) is in their frontcourt. Also, as Morris discussed in his exit interview, he knows more time at center in small-ball sets could be in his future.

Regardless of what happens with the team, it's a huge summer for Morris individually. If he sets himself up well for a big year in 2018-19, he could earn a nice payday in what might be his last long-term contract given his age.

Potential to improve: Rebounding, screens, scoring

More player season reviews:

John Wall, PG

Bradley Beal, SG

Otto Porter, SF

Kelly Oubre, Jr., SF

Marcin Gortat, C

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2017-18 Wizards roster review: Marcin Gortat

2017-18 Wizards roster review: Marcin Gortat

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

Player: Marcin Gortat

Position: Center

Age: 34

2017-18 salary: $12.8 million

2017-18 stats: 82 G, 25.3 mpg, 8.4 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 1.8 apg, 0.5 spg, 0.7 bpg, 51.8 FG%, 67.5 FT%, 51.8 eFG%, 112 ORtg, 107 DRtg

Best game: 10/18 vs. Sixers - 16 points, 17 rebounds, 3 blocks, assist, 7-for-12 FG

Season review: Marcin Gortat is self-aware enough to know that what happened to him in 2017-18 was inevitable in many ways. He even publicly called it before the season.

He was one year older, with Ian Mahinmi healthy and in the rotation, and with the NBA continuing to move towards small-ball and big men who can play on the perimeter. As a result, Gortat saw his role in the Wizards rotation pared down noticeably.

Though he still started all 82 games, his minutes went down from 31.2 per game the year before the 25.3. Kelly Oubre, Jr., who played the majority of the season coming off the bench, logged more minutes than Gortat, though he was a starter.

Gortat's minutes were his fewest since the 2009-10 season, when he was a 25-year-old bench player for the Orlando Magic. His numbers this season followed suit. Gortat's points and rebounds per game were both the lowest since that 2009-10 campaign.

Gortat averaged a career-best 10.4 rebounds per game in 2016-17, but the minutes had a direct effect on his volume of boards. He pulled in 2.4 less per game this season despite his rebound percentage (17.0) being close to his career average (17.5). That career average, by the way, is 30th-best all-time an eighth among active players.

Not getting the same opportunities he had in years past, plus public misunderstandings with teammates, combined to make for a frustrating year for Gortat. He said on the Wizards Tipoff podcast midseason it was the worst year of his career. Gortat, though, did continue to make an impact setting screens for the Wizards and he rallied to finish relatively strong.

He had several solid outings in the playoffs, including his 16 points in Game 3 and his 12 rebounds in Game 5. The question is whether that is the last time we will see Gortat in a Wizards uniform.

Washington has played with the idea of trading Gortat for a while now. He popped up in rumors around the trade deadline in February, but remained on the roster. Now he has an expiring contract working in his favor, making it a bit more likely he gets dealt.

Gortat knows his future in Washington is uncertain, though he said following the season he would like to stay. It would not be surprising to him or anyone if he were traded this summer. If not, he's got one year left with the Wizards and could very well have his role decreased even more.

Potential to improve: Rim protection, midrange shooting, free throw percentage

More player season reviews:

John Wall, PG

Bradley Beal, SG

Otto Porter, SF

Kelly Oubre, Jr., SF

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