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Summer League, Game 3: Wizards rebound for 1st win

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Summer League, Game 3: Wizards rebound for 1st win

LAS VEGAS -- Desperate to simply put for a more credible effort at summer league, the Wizards did just that Tuesday vs. the Dallas Mavericks. And on top of that, they won their first game 85-79.

"They were disappointed the way they played the previous two games," said assistant coach Roy Rogers, who was in charge from the sideline at Thomas & Mack Center. "Except for the first quarter, we had more energy and effort than we had in the first two games."

Instead of relying solely on Jarrid Famous (16) and Kelly Oubre (11) to do the scoring, the Wizards had five players reach double figures, including Damion James (15), Scott Machado (12) and Shawn Jones (12):

  • Oubre has a good enough handle to escape double teams and find the open shooter, though he has to clean up some of his passes (four turnovers). He was more economical in his output, taking just 11 shots after taking a total of 37 in the first two games. "We just have to keep him in attack mode because he's so shifty that he has an uncanny ability to get in the lane," Rogers said. "You think you have him in a tough spot and he just figures out a way."

  • Aaron White, a rookie second-round draft pick, came off the bench for the first time. He only had four points on 2-for-3 shooting and didn't attempt a three-pointer for the first time. "I thought Aaron had struggled a little bit in the previous two games so we brought him off the bench today and he responded well," Rogers said. "He gave us great energy, a great boost."

  • Justin Anderson, a guard-forward from Virginia who the Wizards worked out but passed up in last month's draft in favor of Oubre, continued to have a tough time with his shot for Dallas. He went 3-for-11 overall, including just 1-for-6 from three-point range. He was a combined 3-for-14 in his first two games. 

  • Jordan Crawford, who played for the Wizards from 2010-13 and is trying to play his way on the Mavericks, airballed the first shot of the game and barely grazed iron on a three-point attempt a few feet behind the arc. He was determined to play well against his old team but finished 3-for-13 for 12 points. He misfired on all seven of his threes.

  • Dwight Powell, taken by the Charlotte Hornets two drafts ago, shined and gave a glimpse why the Wizards were so high on him. He's now in Dallas. Powell had 18 points, six rebounds and four steals. He's a 6-10, combo post player who the Wizards were targeting until he was selected 45th overall in 2014. The Wizards picked 46th and sold their spot instead. Powell was just 1-for-9 on three-pointers but definitely could be groomed into a true stretch four option.

MORE WIZARDS: John Wall on making the same money as Reggie Jackson

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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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