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Why the Pistons wanted the other Morris twin

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Why the Pistons wanted the other Morris twin

The Morris twins were reunited for a night, Friday night in Washington. After the Philadelphia natives, University of Kansas products and four-year NBA veterans spent their entire lives together, the separation came suddenly last July when the Suns shipped Marcus to the Pistons.

That left Markieff, now with the Wizards, alone to fume in Phoenix. Marcus handled the parting with far less public outrage, not that Pistons head coach and president of basketball operations knew that would happen.

"I didn't have any idea," Van Gundy said before Detroit and Washington met at Verizon Center. "We just knew that we liked Marcus. He was a good player, a professional guy, hard worker."

While identical in appearance, Markieff was the more prominent player during their first four NBA seasons, though Marcus was hardly a slouch. The power forward averaged career-highs last season in scoring (10.4), rebounds (4.8), assists (1.6) and minutes (25.2).

Through 54 games with the Pistons this season, his numbers are even better. He entered Friday averaging 13.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 36.2 minutes. Despite Friday's loss, Detroit (27-28) needs six wins to surpass last season's total.

MORE WIZARDS: MORE EXCITED FOR THE VICTORY OR THE CHICKEN?

Meanwhile, Markieff Morris' stats plummeted, as did the Suns' record. Phoenix entered the All-Star break 14-40 and on its second head coach of the season. Multiple in-game incidents highlighted Markieff's season for all the wrong reasons. The contentious vibe, one not experienced in Detroit, eventually led to Thursday's trade.

"We never had any problems from our end with it," Van Gundy said. "I mean, Marcus was upset when it happened, upset at Phoenix, but it never had any effect on what we were doing in Detroit. He was a real professional."

That's the tact Markieff plans on taking in Washington, where he was reunited with former teammates. Marcin Gortat and Jared Dudley spoke highly of Morris following the deal.

"You know, it’s just guys that actually know me, and not on the outside looking in," Morris said. "Guys that I’ve actually played with and been in the locker room with. Things happen. It’s in my past. All I can do is move forward and learn from it. I’m happy to do it. And getting compliments from those guys means a lot. We’re good friends, we keep in touch. They know me as a person."

Now Morris, who scored six points in 22 minutes, and the Wizards must adjust on the fly. Following Friday's win, only 29 games remain and Washington remains outside the playoff picture. So does Detroit, which made its own All-Star moves, notably adding forward Tobias Harris from Orlando. Harris led the Pistons with 21 points in the wire-to-wire loss.

"It's just a learning thing," Van Gundy said of incorporating new players at this point in the season. "You have to take practice time to do some things which takes your practice time away from other things. We have not been playing well defensively. I would have liked to spend a lot of time on the defensive end of the floor. We had to spend more time on offense then we liked just to be organized. That's all part of it."

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Wizards' second pre-draft workout to feature possible first-round pick, NCAA star

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USA Today Sports Images

Wizards' second pre-draft workout to feature possible first-round pick, NCAA star

The Wizards will have some recognizable names at their second pre-draft workout on Wednesday including potential first round pick Aaron Holiday of UCLA, NBC Sports Washington has learned.

Here is the list with some notes on each player...

Aaron Holiday, guard, UCLA (6-1, 185)

The brother of two NBA players (Jrue and Justin), Holiday played three years at UCLA and averaged 20.3 points, 5.8 assists and 1.3 steals as a junior. He also shot 42.9 percent from three on 6.2 attempts per game. He registered a 6-8 wingspan at the NBA Combine.

Potential fit with Wizards: possible first round pick, likely won't be there in second round; would solidify backup point guard position

Devonte' Graham, guard, Kansas (6-2, 175)

The Big 12 player of the year, Graham averaged 17.3 points and 7.2 assists as a senior. He posted a 6-6 wingspan at the combine. His uncle played for the Cincinnati Reds in the 1990s.

Potential fit with Wizards: second round pick; would provide backup point guard depth

Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, forward, Kansas (6-8, 195)

A big-time three-point shooter, Mykhailiuk shot 44.4 percent from three on 6.6 attempts per game as a senior. He averaged 14.6 points and 3.9 rebounds.

Potential fit with Wizards: second round pick; could be a three-point threat off the bench

Moritz Wagner, center, Michigan (6-11, 241)

Originally from Germany, Wagner was a standout in the NCAA Tournament as the Wolverines went all the way to the final. He averaged 14.6 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.0 steals as a junior. He also shot 39.4 percent from three and measured at nearly 7-feet in shoes at the NBA Combine.

Potential fit with Wizards: second round pick; could develop into a capable stretch-five

Johnathan Williams, forward, Gonzaga (6-9, 225)

Williams began his career at Missouri before transferring. He averaged 13.4 points and 8.5 rebounds as a senior. 

Potential fit with Wizards: undrafted free agent; possible G-League forward

Zach Thomas, SF, Bucknell (6-7, 228)

Thomas was the Patriot League player of the year with averages of 20.5 points and 9.1 rebounds per game as a senior. He shot 40 percent from three for his college career.

Potential fit with Wizards: undrafted free agent; possible G-League forward

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2018 NBA Mock Draft: What's changed after the combine

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USA TODAY Sports

2018 NBA Mock Draft: What's changed after the combine

Something that used to be a rare occurrence has now happened four years in a row.

The Phoenix Suns had the best odds of winning the NBA lottery, and they did, landing the number one pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. 

Over the last four years, the team with the NBA's worst record has landed that top spot each year. Before this stretch though, dating back to 1985, only four teams that had the worst record still won the lottery.

Nine teams have also jumped at least five spots to get to No. 1 during that period as well.

Now the order is set (until any trades of course) and teams have had a chance to check out many of the top players at the combine.

CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST 2018 NBA MOCK DRAFT 

This draft is loaded with big man prospects too, from DeAndre Ayton, Jaren Jackson Jr., Marvin Bagley, and Mohamed Bamba, along with countless others likely going in the top-14. 

There's also the very intriguing Luka Doncic, who most still believe won't go back to Real Madrid, even with him leaving the door open. 

A few names jumped into the first round since the last mock draft, which is something we always see after the combine. 

As for the Wizards, we know they need an athletic big man, and sitting at pick No. 15, they may just get one, although he brings a lot of mystery. 

CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST 2018 NBA MOCK DRAFT