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By the numbers: Markieff Morris' impact on the Wizards

By the numbers: Markieff Morris' impact on the Wizards

The discussion over whether the Wizards made the right move in dealing a first round pick for Markieff Morris continues, as does some debate over how good is the 26-year-old power forward. With that in mind, I looked back on stats from the 2015-16 season to gauge impact provided by Morris.

Now, as Mark Twain once said, there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics. These numbers don't tell the entire tale. They don't get into the temperment reasons why Morris wore out his welcome in Phoenix. They don't get into how often he played with a healthy Bradley Beal or Washington's strength of schedule during that stretch.

They also might not fully explain the impact of finally adding a young, athletic presence to a roster otherwise sporting older, under-the-rim types. They certanly don't quantify the financial bargain Morris becomes as the NBA heads into a wild free agency period. These numbers do show part of the story and perhaps what the Wizards can expect and then some now that Morris will be with the team from the start.

Morris was acquired during the All-Star break, but missed Washington's first game after the deal.

Rebounding

Pre All-Star break: 39.8 (30th)

Post All-Star break: 45.2 (6th)

Jared Dudley provided the Wizards with 3-point shooting and smart passing, but his lack of size and hops limited Washington on the boards. 

Defensive rating (points allowed per 100 possessions)

Pre All-Star break: 105.1 (21st)

Post All-Star break: 101.2 (5th)

Nobody is calling Morris a lockdown defender. The 6-foot-10 forward does have the bulk to battle bangers inside and foot speed to track down stretch-4 types on the perimeter. Dudley lacked the size and Kris Humphries, Washington's PF starter when the season tipped off, lacked the speed.

On/Off court

Morris (101.9) third in defensive rating among Wizards who played at least 25 games behind Garrett Temple and Nene. 

Second in net rating (2.4) behind Nene among those who played at least 25 games.

Record

Pre All-Star break: 23-28

Post All-Star break: 18-13

Of the top 15 teams based on winning percentage after the All-Star, 14 made the playoffs. The lone exception play home games at Verizon Center.

This note is more about the Wizards than Morris. He didn't play in four of the 31 post-break games and Washington won all four. Two of those three wins came against NBA cellar dwellers (at Lakers, at Nets) with the last one taking place at home over the Hawks in the regular season finale that also didn't include John Wall, Marcin Gortat and Beal. 

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Wizards take down another contender with win over Raptors in NBA 2K simulation

Wizards take down another contender with win over Raptors in NBA 2K simulation

Not only are the Washington Wizards dominating the NBA 2K simulation, but they are also doing it against some tough competition. 

With a 70-61 win over the Toronto Raptors, Washington has now won seven of nine simulations. Other victories have come against the likes of the Bucks, Lakers and 76ers. In the 2K world, the Wizards are consistently beating the best.

In the latest win, the formula remained the same as past simulations. Behind another big night from Rui Hachimura (21 points) and some added scoring from Bradley Beal (12 points), the Wizards offense was able to put up enough to get past Toronto. Timely runs in the second half and some stingy defense left the Raptors with no chance to mount a comeback as the final seconds ticked off the clock.

Here are some key takeaways from the Wizards win.

Rui keeps on rolling 

There has been no stopping the Wizards rookie in 2K as of late. With 21 points, he now has back-to-back 20-point performances. The first-round pick of Washington in 2019 has been doing it on both ends of the floor, sparking big plays with blocks and finishing at the rim.

Hachimura also stepped behind the line and showed some range on Tuesday, hitting a smooth-looking three-pointer.

It's been a great 2K run for Hachimura overall as of late, as he also took down Donovan Mitchell in the first round of the 2K Player Tournament.

Strong finish

Though the Wizards played well throughout, it was a dominant stretch toward the end of the third quarter and beginning of the fourth that sealed the win.

A 16-6 run to close the third coupled with a 16-3 run early in the fourth gave Washington a comfortable lead. After taking a 42-41 lead in the third, the Raptors would never lead again.


Dominant inside, efficient outside

Similar to other simulations, the Wizards once again did a lot of their scoring inside the paint. Washington outscored the Raptors 46-32 in the paint, finishing at the rim in multiple ways consistently. 

Thomas Bryant was once again a beast down low, throwing down dunks and recording a team-high 16 rebounds in addition to 10 points to complete a double-double.

Though the real NBA has become a three-point heavy game, it hasn't quite translated to 2K. The Wizards only attempted eight shots from behind the arc on the night, a number that could sometimes come from just a few possessions in a real game. Even more peculiar, Davis Bertans didn't register a single three-point attempt. 

Yet, the Wizards made the most of the attempts, going 4-from-8 from three. Of course, Bradley Beal was in the mix.

Run for the (simulation) playoffs?

In the 2K universe, the Wizards entered Tuesday just two games behind the Brooklyn Nets for the eighth spot in the East. With a win, the virtual team may have inched even closer to the playoffs. 

Simulation-wise, Washington could not have asked for a better stretch of play.

The 2K Wizards will be back in action Friday at 7 p.m. ET against the Rockets. 

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Wizards' Troy Brown Jr. says it was scary hearing Rudy Gobert contracted coronavirus

Wizards' Troy Brown Jr. says it was scary hearing Rudy Gobert contracted coronavirus

By the time Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus and the NBA subsequently suspended the 2019-20 season, a number of teams who'd played Utah leading up to the suspension had to self-quarantine as a precaution. 

One of them was the Washington Wizards.

They suffered a 10-point loss to the Jazz 12 days before Gobert tested positive, so they urged their players to self-quarantine for several days. Fortunately for the Wizards, no player ended up tested positive for the virus.

Washington's second-year wing joined Chris Miller on the Wizards Talk Podcast and gave a window into what his reaction was to the fact he had played the Jazz leading up to Gobert's positive test. 

"I wasn't touching [Gobert]," Brown said with a laugh. "I didn't go in for no layups or anything like that. But all jokes aside though, it was one of those things that was scary because I didn't know really what to expect coming out of it."

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Heading into the league's suspension, Brown was enjoying a strong season where he showed a lot of improvement from his rookie year. He was averaging 9.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists on much better shooting splits (45.3% FG, 34.5% 3P in 19-20 vs. 41.5% FG, 31.9% 3P in 18-19). 

Brown seemed to have much more success coming off the bench with a unit in which he had more ball-handling opportunities. We'll see if he can continue to grow when basketball returns, though the 20-year-old is forced to focus on the challenges that come with isolation. 

"It definitely is a lot easier being with my family and being in my own space and being able to make decisions for myself," Brown said. "Being in D.C. was kind of hard because I didn't have anybody else there besides my dog, living by myself in quarantine. I feel like it's those people that are struggling with the quarantine stuff being isolated by themselves because you don't really know what to do."

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