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Two big names still up in the air for Monday as Wizards weigh option of resting starters

Two big names still up in the air for Monday as Wizards weigh option of resting starters

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- With the chase for a 50-win season still alive for the Wizards, though their seeding is no longer up for grabs, coach Scott Brooks said Monday morning that John Wall and Otto Porter will be game-time decisions.

If Wall (left thigh) and Porter (back spasms) can go, the regular starting five will begin tonight's game vs. the Detroit Pistons, who are playing their final home game at the Palace of Auburn Hills before relocating to downtown next season.

"I'm going to do what's best for our team, not what's best for our record," Brooks said. "Right now we're locked in. If we had a chance to move up obviously things would be a little different. But we're not going into the game where we're just going to relax, let the game come. That's an ugly look. We'd love to get 50. If it doesn't happen, like I told the guys, if we end up with 48, 49 it's a great regular season. We won our division.."

Wall had treatment Sunday and Porter went through shootaround and stayed later to work on his shot.

"I want to get to 50 wins, for sure," said Wall, who took a knee from Willie Reed in Saturday's loss to the Miami Heat. "We know we have a position locked. If I'm healthy enough to play, I'm going to play. But if it's sore enough that I can't run I don't want to jeopardize injury."

[RELATED: Tougher matchup for Wizards: Cavs or Celtics?]

Brooks said he will keep down the minutes of his starters regardless of who plays, so having them play 30 minutes or more is unlikely.

"Whoever plays tonight you still want to play well," Brooks said. "Play our minutes hard. We do want to get a pretty good run. Take it serious because we have playoffs right around the corner."

Here is a closer look at each Wizards starter...

John Wall: Missed two games. Both were schedule rests on back-to-backs since he was coming off surgeries to both knees May 5. He also had been playing under minutes restrictions. He averages 36.4 minutes per game, seventh-most in the NBA, behind LeBron James, Kyle Lowry, Jimmy Butler and James Harden. 

Bradley Beal: Missed a career-low four games. Last sat out Dec. 30 in a game vs. the Brooklyn Nets because of a sore ankle. He missed three in a row early in because of a thigh strain. He averages 34.9 minutes per game, 17th-highest, behind Damian Lillard, Paul George, Giannis Antetokounmpo, DeMar DeRozan and C.J. McCollum. 

Otto Porter: Missed one game though that's a bit misleading. Porter played in games that he didn't return in because of ailments several times but didn't miss the next game as a result. He appeared to get hurt two games ago in a loss vs. the N.Y. Knicks and didn't return to action after 22 minutes. He sat out vs. the Heat with back spasms and has had soreness in his right hip on and off this season. Still, his 32.8 minutes are a career-high. 

Markieff Morris: Missed five games because of foot and ankle soreness (both) since he went down in a game Dec. 12. His 31.3 minutes per game are just shy of a career-high average. 

Marcin Gortat: Hasn't missed a game but has seen his minutes cut signficantly since the All-Star break. Averages 31.4 minutes after being on a career-high pace of 34-plus. In the last 15 games, playing just 23 minutes per game with the emergence of Ian Mahinmi behind him.

[RELATED: Should Wizards' starters play or rest before playoffs?]

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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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2017-18 Wizards roster review: Kelly Oubre, Jr.

2017-18 Wizards roster review: Kelly Oubre, Jr.

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

Player: Kelly Oubre, Jr.

Position: Small forward

Age: 22

2017-18 salary: $2.1 million

2017-18 stats: 81 G, 27.5 mpg, 11.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.2 apg, 1.0 spg, 0.4 bpg, 40.3 FG%, 34.1 3P%, 82.0 FT%, 48.2 eFG%, 106 ORtg, 109 DRtg

Best game: 3/21 at Spurs - 21 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks, 2 steals, 9-for-17 FG, 3-for-6 3PT

Season review: The first half of Kelly Oubre, Jr.'s 2017-18 season went very differently than the second half. Through 46 games to begin the year, Oubre shot 44.9 percent from the field and 40.5 percent from the perimeter. Oubre then shot just 34.9 percent from the field and 27.4 percent from three in his last 35 games to close the regular season. That included a stretch from March 25 through April 5 in which he shot 2-for-35 from long range and 23-for-77 (29.9%) overall in seven games.

As his head coach described, Oubre had a tale of two seasons. By mid-January it appeared to be a breakout year, as he was scoring consistently and shooting at a high percentage. He was even limiting his mistakes on defense. Then, his shot went away and Oubre could never quite regain it.

All in all, Oubre's season represented a step forward. He proved he could be a top-six player in a playoff rotation and had extended stretches of success he can draw confidence from in the future.

Now Oubre enters his biggest offseason yet as a basketball player. He has just one year left on his rookie scale contract and will be in line for a considerable raise if he keeps developing. If Oubre takes even a slight step forward, he will make big money in his next contract. If he takes a major leap forward, like Otto Porter did when he was in the same position in 2016-17, he could earn way more money than the Wizards can afford as currently constructed.

That dynamic gives the Wizards a decision to make this summer on Oubre's future. He has significant trade value at this point, given his upside and his contract. He is due to make just $3.2 million next season and will be a restricted free agent in the summer of 2019. If they don't see a long-term future for him in Washington, trading him this offseason should not be ruled out.

It figures to be a busy summer for the Wizards and when it comes to Oubre there are a lot of factors in play. If they want financial flexibility, another option would be to deal Porter or another frontcourt starter and roll with Oubre as a less expensive option. Though his season was inconsistent, Oubre has shown enough to warrant consideration as a starter.

Regardless of what the Wizards decide, Oubre himself is in good shape. If he keeps getting better, he will earn a nice deal whether it's in Washington or somewhere else. He just needs to find consistency on both ends of the floor. 

He can do that on offense by tightening up his ball-handling and improving his ability to get to the rim. That would allow him to circumnavigate the type of shooting struggles that held him back late in the year.

Defensively, he has all the natural ability needed to be an elite player. He just needs to limit the gambles he takes that turn into blown assignments or unnecessary fouls.

Potential to improve: Consistency, efficiency, ball-handling


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