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Talking Wizards, Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky

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Talking Wizards, Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky

My recent draft profile on Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and his potential fit with the Wizards somehow made its way toLarry Vaught, the award-winning sportswriter for The Advocate Messenger and knower of all things related to the Kentucky men's basketball program (Here's a picture of him interviewing Ashley Judd to prove it).Anyway, Larry subsequently and kindly asked me for my take on Kidd-Gilchrist, the Wizards, and John Wall's tenure with the franchise in relation to other Kentucky prospects. Though posted this week, my responsescame before the recent Emeka Okafor-Trevor Ariza deal. I don't think that changes anything with regard to what I had to say, just giving you the lay of the land. I've been an advocate of the Wizards taking Bradley Beal for weeks, but who knows if the Florida shooter will be available.Anyway, said questions and responses are below...Question: What does your gut instinct tell you about how high Kidd-Gilchrist might go in the draft?Standig: Could he go two? Sure, but if Charlotte keeps the pick seems like Robinson makes the most sense. Washington and Cleveland need shooters and guys like Bradley Beal and Harrison Barnes are around. I cant see MKG getting past five, but in my mock thats where I have him. Again, anywhere two to five would not stun me. He definitely has his supporters.

Question: Will his lack of a consistent outside jump shot scare some teams off?Standig: Scare off, maybe not, but shooting the ball is a major problem for some of the teams picking high in the draft. Charlotte, Washington and Sacramento were the three worst 3-point shooting teams in the league last season. Simply looking for a shooter could be short-sided though. Just depends on how high MKGs upside is in the minds of those teams.

Question: His winning attitude is talked about a lot, but does that make a big difference on draft day or not?Standig: I definitely think that helps. The Wizards certainly lacked that aspect the last season and a half before making the deal for Nene. Still, not sure that matters the most to say a team like the Bobcats lacking talent. Hes also so young, not sure veterans will let a kid lead, not right away anyway.

Question: How would he fit with the Wizards and former UK star John Wall, the drafts top pick in 2010?Standig: Talk about a dynamic duo in the open court. Wall loves going up tempo and MKG showed he can do damage on the break. Again, Wizards need shooters. Wall shot 7.1 percent from 3-point range last season (not a typo). Looking at a likely starting five with Kidd-Gilchrist, the only knockdown shooter for Washington is Nene and youre talking free throw line and in. Could be great in open court, but the half-court offense could be problematic.

Question: Would the way Wall has played have any impact on the Wizards taking another UK player?Standig: I dont think so. They also worked out Darius Miller last week and I can see Doron Lamb being a good fit.

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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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