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Wizards 2017-18 roster outlook: Markieff Morris can be X-factor for the Wizards

Wizards 2017-18 roster outlook: Markieff Morris can be X-factor for the Wizards

As part of CSN's preview for the 2017-18 season, we are looking at each player on the Wizards' roster. Today, we preview Markieff Morris' season...

Player: Markieff Morris

Position: Power forward

Age: 28

2016-17 stats: 76 G, 31.2 mpg, 14.0 ppg, 1.7 apg, 6.5 rpg, 1.1 spg, 0.6 bpg, 45.7 FG%, 36.2 3P%, 83.7 FT%, 49.7 eFG%, 106 ORtg, 109 DRtg

2017-18 storyline: Morris emerged as a tone-setter in his first full season with the Wizards and was a key component of one of the NBA's best starting lineups. He was spectacular from mid-December to mid-February as the Wizards took off and climbed the standings as a contender in the East. Then, in the playoffs Morris was indispensible as a physical force matchup with Paul Millsap, Al Horford and others. When things got tense between the Wizards and the Hawks and Celtics, Morris was always there to step in and mediate. Morris has firmly established himself as a well-respected enforcer in the Wizards' locker room.

Morris remains under team control on one of the best bargain contracts in the NBA. He's due to make $8 million this season, a Wizards-friendly price given his value as a legitimate starting power forward. If Morris can continue to improve this season and next, he will earn himself a massive raise.

[RELATED: HOW THE NBA CAN PREVENT TANKING]

Morris seems like a good candidate to improve this year. He just turned 28 and will be entering not just his second full season with the Wizards, but his second season in head coach Scott Brooks' system. That factor should allow all the Wizards' returning players to expand their roles and Morris could benefit in particular. At times last year he was the Wizards' third option on offense, a guy who proved he could create his own shot and have plays run through him when needed. If he can find consistency there, the Wizards' outlook will dramatically change.

Morris can also be more consistent at rebounding. His 6.5 rebounds per game last year were solid, but he showed for extended stretches he is capable of grabbing eight or nine a night. The Wizards are good at rebounding with Marcin Gortat and Otto Porter in their starting five, but Morris could take them to the next level.

Potential to improve: Rebounding, consistency on offense, three-point shooting.

MORE WIZARDS' ROSTER PREVIEWS:

Can John Wall take another step after earning All-NBA?

Is this the year Bradley Beal becomes an All-Star?

What is the next step in Otto Porter's development?

[RELATED: WHO WILL BE MOST-IMPROVED ON THE WIZARDS THIS YEAR?]

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Wizards 2018 NBA Draft prospect profile: Jerome Robinson

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USA TODAY Sports

Wizards 2018 NBA Draft prospect profile: Jerome Robinson

The Washington Wizards hold the 15th and 44th overall picks in the 2018 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects projected to be picked around where the Wizards will select...

2018 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Jerome Robinson

School: Boston College
Position: Shooting guard
Age: 21
Height: 6-5
Weight: 188
Wingspan: 6-7
Max vertical: N/A

2017/18 stats: 20.7 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 3.3 apg, 0.9 spg, 0.1 bpg, 48.5 FG%, 40.9 3PT% (2.3 3PT/5.7 3PA), 83.0 FT%
Player comparison: Danny Green
Projections: NBC Sports Washington 29th, NBADraft.net 16th, Bleacher Report 19th, Sports Illustrated 17th

5 things to know:

*A three-year player at BC, Robinson developed into a big-time scorer before making the leap to the NBA. He averaged 18.7 points as a sophomore and then 20.7 points as a junior while improving his shooting percentages across the board. He went from 42.3 percent from the field as a sophomore to 48.5 in 2017-18.

*Robinson turned himself into an excellent three-point shooter. After shooting just 33.3 percent as a sophomore, he got that up to 40.9 percent as a junior and on 5.7 attempts per game. That trajectory bodes well for Robinson's chances at the next level.

*He has a quick release on his jumper, giving him the ability to be effective on catch-and-shoot plays off screens. Robinson could develop into a reliable scorer who doesn't need the ball in his hands as a primary focus of the offense. He also showed the ability to throw down some powerful dunks and finish with creativity at the rim. He didn't record a vertical leap at the NBA Combine, but playing above and around the rim didn't appear to be a problem in college.

*Though it didn't show in his last season at Boston College, Robinson was adept at forcing turnovers in his first two years. He averaged 1.6 steals per game across his freshman and sophomore seasons and 16 times in his career had three steals or more in a game.

*Questions for Robinson would include his versatility and speed. Some draft evaluators wonder if he will be able to get separation off the dribble at the NBA level. Also, he put up decent rebounding and assists numbers in college but didn't exactly stand out in either category.

Fit with Wizards: Robinson would give the Wizards depth at the shooting guard position and they need that. He could help Bradley Beal pare down his minutes and offer a scoring punch off the Wizards' bench. The Wizards could use a reliable shooter to help space the floor for Kelly Oubre, Jr. and others in the second unit.

The problems with Robinson's fit would be his lack of positional versatility and what appears to be a relatively low ceiling. He's not the freak athlete that some of his counterparts are at shooting guard. If the Wizards are choosing between Robinson and guys like Zhaire Smith and Lonnie Walker IV, they could view the latter two as more enticing because of their potential. Robinson would represent a safer pick while others could pay off big-time and have a greater impact on the franchise in the long-term.

Best highlight video:

More draft prospect profiles:

Kevin Knox, PF, Kentucky

Miles Bridges, SF, Michigan State

Robert Williams, PF/C, Texas A&M

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Kentucky

Zhaire Smith, SG, Texas Tech

Landry Shamet, PG/SG, Wichita State

Gary Trent, Jr., SG, Duke

Lonnie Walker IV, SG, Miami

Anfernee Simons, PG/SG, IMG Academy

Khyri Thomas, SG, Creighton

Chandler Hutchison, SG/SF, Boise State

Kevin Huerter, SG, Maryland

Mitchell Robinson, C, Western Kentucky

Troy Brown, SG/SF, Oregon

Donte DiVincenzo, SG, Villanova

Moritz Wagner, PF/C, Michigan

Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA

Keita Bates-Diop, SF, Ohio State

For more on the NBA Draft, check out our latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast:

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Draft prospect profiles on Moe Wagner, Michael Porter, Jr., Grayson Allen and more

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USA TODAY Sports

Wizards Tipoff podcast: Draft prospect profiles on Moe Wagner, Michael Porter, Jr., Grayson Allen and more

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hughes was joined by Nick Ashooh and Stefon Marquis to talk NBA Draft. 

They broke down five prospects and their potential fit with the Wizards: Moe Wagner of Michigan, Michael Porter, Jr. of Missouri, Grayson Allen of Duke, Collin Sexton of Alabama and Omari Spellman of Villanova.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!

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