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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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Dwyane Wade's tour makes final stop in Washington as Heat-Wizards battle Saturday

Dwyane Wade's tour makes final stop in Washington as Heat-Wizards battle Saturday

WASHINGTON – Thomas Bryant and Troy Brown Jr. didn’t witness the vast majority of the Dwyane Wade NBA-playing era. Two of the Wizards’ kids still understand the significance of the Heat legend’s final tour stop in Chinatown.

“It’s definitely humbling to see guys I grew up watching play in front of me,” the 19-year-old Brown said at the morning shootaround ahead of Saturday night’s final Miami-Washington game of the regular season which tips at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.

The bigger picture note is Saturday marks the last time the future Basketball Hall of Fame guard plays in Washington.

Miami (35-37) is most definitely in play for the Eastern Conference playoffs, but Wade’s season-long sendoff overshadows all especially when on the road. 

Wade’s resume is staggering. Three-time NBA champion, all with the Heat. Thirteen-time All-Star. Eight-time All-NBA selection. Finals MVP. The NBA’s leading scorer during the 2008-09 season will reach 23,000 points for his career in the coming days.  

We’ll see what the Wizards (30-43) organization conjures up for a sendoff. Perhaps another jersey exchange involving the 2006 NBA Finals MVP. Bradley Beal, who wears number 3 in honor of Wade, made sure he snagged one from Wade when the teams played in Miami this season.

Bryant’s view of Wade extends beyond a legendary foe. The two shared a college coach – Tom Crean directed Wade at Marquette and Bryant with Indiana. The Wizards’ young center is also friend’s with Wade’s basketball-playing son, Zaire.

“It means a lot,” Bryant said of facing Wade. “I’m really close to his son Zaire and I worked out with [Dwyane] in LA a couple of times with Coach Crean. I talked to [Dwyane] a couple of times and tried to catch up with him. Just seeing the legacy he’s built up in this league and just for him to play as hard as he does even in this last year is amazing.”

Wade, 37, isn’t looking to go out quietly. He is averaging 14.2 points and 25 minutes a game while playing in 62 of Miami’s 72 games. If the Heat keep up their current pace, there’s a good chance Wade participates in the postseason for the 14th time in 16 seasons.

For much of the season, it appeared one if not multiple teams qualifying for an Eastern Conference playoff berth would finish the season with a losing record. Second-half surges from Detroit, Brooklyn and most recently Miami may upend that dodgy narrative.

The Heat won eight of 10 before falling 116-87 at top-seed Milwaukee Friday night. Miami enters Saturday one-half game ahead of Orlando (35-38) and 2.5 over Charlotte (32-39).

The Wizards, who began at least a subtle pivot toward the future in Thursday’s loss to the Denver Nuggets, are six back of the Heat in the loss column with nine games to play.

Brown made his first career start in the 113-108 setback against the Nuggets with Trevor Ariza (groin strain) sidelined. Head coach Scott Brooks also went with a bigger lineup by inserting Thomas Bryant next to Bobby Portis with Jeff Green coming off the bench.

Since Ariza didn’t participate in the morning shootaround, there’s a logical thread that has Brown making his second career start. For the memory bank, nothing likely tops the first time. That is unless number two means facing Miami’s famous No. 3.

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Wizards vs. Heat: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

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Wizards vs. Heat: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

The Wizards take to the court on Saturday night and host the Miami Heat for one of their last regular season home games. 

The Wizards have dropped their last three games (against the Nuggets, Bulls and Jazz) while the Heat are riding a three-game win streak (over the Spurs, Thunder and Hornets).

The Wizards are desperate to recover the six games removed they sit from a playoff spot. Washington needs to claw their way over the Heat to even the series and propel a playoff push.

The #WizHeat game takes place on Saturday, March 23rd at 7:00 p.m. at Capital One Arena and will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington.

WIZARDS vs. HEAT HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Wizards vs. Miami Heat
Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.
When: 7:00 p.m. ET
TV Channel: The Wizards vs. Heat game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington  
Live Stream: You can live stream Heat vs. Wizards on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the NBC Sports App.
Radio: Wizards Radio Network, 1500 AM

WIZARDS vs. HEAT  TV SCHEDULE

6:00 PM: Wizards Outsiders (LIVE)
6:30 PM: Wizards Pregame Live (LIVE)
7:00 PM: Heat vs. Wizards (LIVE)
9:30 PM: Wizards Postgame Live (LIVE)
10:00 PM: D.C. Sports Live (LIVE)

WIZARDS vs. HEAT INJURY REPORT

Wizards: Dwight Howard (OUT, Back), John Wall (OUT, Achilles), Ariza (DAY TO DAY, Groin)
Heat: Justise Winslow (OUT, Thigh), Rodney McGruder (OUT, Knee)

WIZARDS vs. HEAT PLAYERS TO WATCH

Wizards: Bradley Beal is averaging 27.4 points, 6.9 assists and 6.3 rebounds over the month of March. He has resumed a much larger leadership role on the court with John Wall and Dwight Howard remaining out.
Heat: This will be Dwyane Wade’s final visit to Capital One Arena on his farewell tour. Wade has averaged 14.1 points, 3.3 assists and 3.2 rebounds in his last 10 games. There will definitely be emotional postgame interactions to look for.

WIZARDS vs. HEAT SERIES HISTORY

Number of All-Time Meetings: 128 regular season games (four playoff games)
Regular Season Record: Heat lead 83-41
Playoff Record: Heat lead 4-0
Last Meeting: Heat won 115-109 on 1/4/19
Last 10: Heat lead 7-3
 

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