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Unofficial coach Alan Anderson redirects 'relentless' energy

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Unofficial coach Alan Anderson redirects 'relentless' energy

A staple on the Wizards' sideline during the 2015-16 season is the highest-paid assistant coach in the NBA. Alan Anderson, who has been unable to play because of of surgically repaired left ankle, goes on every road trip as he has found himself in the role of motivator and mediator.

"Timeouts, shootarounds, practices, even though he's not able to participate with those guys he's been a good sounding board," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. "He puts across to them what he sees during a game. It's been worthwhile him going on the road trips with us to add some leadership."

When Kris Humphries made a career-high five three-pointers in a game vs. the Orlando Magic, he credited Anderson's insight with helping him take advantage of the defense. Last week when the Wizards were being routed by the Portland Trail Blazers, Anderson got in between a spat on the bench between Nene and Bradley Beal after the big man drew agitated about him not moving off the ball to create a passing angle. 

Sometimes, Anderson's animated behavior can be the most entertaining part of games.

"I just want to be with the team. When I'm not playing I want to be with the team some way, somehow," Anderson, 33, said. "Even though my energy isn't on the court, playing with them I can still bring some insight when the come off the court and give them some good positive energy.

"I just try to cheer my team on. It's good to always have some guys in your corner on the road especially. ... I know I like it when I'm playing to see you get your team going. I know they like it, too."

The Wizards' bench has been full of players out of uniform. This week, that includes Otto Porter (hip), Kris Humphries (knee) and Drew Gooden (calf). 

Anderson, who could stay behind on road trips to rehabilitate, has been working out and was on his way to do some individual drills after morning shootarounds. He had surgery for bone spurs in his left ankle in May after his season with the Brooklyn Nets ended. As he tried to work his way back on the court for training camp, Anderson's discomfort persisted and it was determined he still had a bone fragment that had to be removed. That procedure was performed in October.

He was added in free agency on a one-year deal to add depth to the wing, which already had Porter and rookie Kelly Oubre. A veteran who has had playoff success in Brooklyn, next to Paul Pierce, was needed for the position regardless of how much he contributes in the boxscores.

"That's all I can do with a suit on. The most I'm capable of doing," Anderson said. "I just try to always be relentless, always be aggressive. Always excitement. I've guarded all the best players on the other teams. That's been my job since I played in the league. I actually did a pretty good job on each of them. I just try to tell them what I use to try to help myself out.

"It's hard to stop those superstars. You can always try to be there as much as possible and make your presence felt. I just try to show them what I do."

MORE WIZARDS: NBA All-Star Game won't feature Wall as starter for East

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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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