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Wizards preseason recap at the half: Part 2

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Wizards preseason recap at the half: Part 2

We continue our statistical look at the Wizards halfway through their preseason slate, a line in the sand they cross tonight across the border in Toronto. Yesterday we calculated the guards. Today, the frontcourt (at least those that have played more than a game or two)

Martell Webster: 13.8 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 45.5 FG pct, 33.3 3ptFG pct, 87.0 FT pct, 24.0 mpg

- Though he's only 25, the 6-foot-7 swingman has been around the NBA block and his experience, his professional on-court stylings have been apparent. One of the wildcards entering training camp, Webster's role figured to be that of perimeter threat off the bench. Ultimately that's what it might be, but so far he's been the team's top small forward and a tenacious rebounding threat. Also has quickly developed chemistry with rookie Bradley Beal and has valued possession with only one turnover through four games. At the least appears to have eclipsed Cartier Martin (only 14 minutes, none in last two games) in the battle for wing minutes.

Trevor Ariza: 8.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 29.0 FG pct, 33.3 3ptFG pct, 90.9 FT pct, 2.0 tpg, 19.8 mpg

- With so many primary options out, Ariza's been thrust into a larger role. Like the rest of the starters during the first two games, he struggled offensively, leading to a bench role for him and others. Ultimately Ariza's defensive exploits make him an ideal starting option considering the number of NBA scoring stars at small forward, but the Wizards might be hard pressed to go that way with Nene and perhaps John Wall out - and if Ariza's field goal percentage continues hovering below 30 percent. Heck, 40 percent is hardly ideal, though that's around what he's shot over the last three seasons. Tied with Beal for team-high 1.25 steals.

Jan Vesely: 4.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 43.8 FG pct, 50 FT pct, 0.25 tpg, 27.3 mpg

- After a less than energetic start to the preseason, Vesely's been a battler on the boards and defensively. So there's that. Offensively, hey, he's knocked down a couple of jumpers outside of 10 feet. His credible basketball instincts flashed on a rather nice drive and drop pass to Emeka Okafor early against the Nets. Last season he served as a running mate for John Wall on the wing, though the Wizards haven't been fast-breaking much to date. Once that part of the attack kicks in, Vesely's field goal percentage should rise. Still not sure how Randy Wittman plans on using him in the rotation once everyone returns as there do not appear to be enough minutes for him and fellow energy players Trevor Booker, Chris Singleton along with the other frontcourt options. He's working, he's trying, he's providing effort. We see glimpses of what is role could be, just yet to see the hype that goes with having been a high lottery pick.

Brian Cook: 6.7 ppg, 2.7, rpg, 58.3 FG pct, 55.6 3ptFG pct, 50.0 FT pct, 1.0 tpg, 14.0 mpg

- Giving Cook some attention over the other notable non-roster player Shavlik Randolph (3.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg) largely because the Wizards currently lack a "stretch-four" and the nine-year veteran is certainly making the case he can be just that. That is, if roster space exists. Hardly ideal as anything more than a deep threat, but the coaches can trust Cook on the court if needed. With so many kids on the roster, that attribute can go a long way. That is, if roster space exists.

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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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