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After film session with coach Scott Brooks, Markieff Morris responds with big game vs. Pistons

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Associated Press

After film session with coach Scott Brooks, Markieff Morris responds with big game vs. Pistons

Following a three-game stretch where he accrued just 18 total points, Wizards power forward Markieff Morris was summoned by head coach Scott Brooks on Friday morning for a one-on-one film session ahead of their matchup with the Detroit Pistons. 

Brooks had reviewed the tape on the Wizards' off-day on Thursday and had a few things he wanted to point out. Morris, in Brooks' opinion, was not his usual self, not the guy he had seen at times over the past few weeks and certainly not the player he had coached last season.

"He was showing me clips of last year and how I played last year," Morris said. "Basically, I was just playing three-point line to three-point line... he told me my activity was low and I stand around the three-point line too much."

Instead of bullying opponents with his aggression in the pain, Morris was tentative and instead relying on outside jumpers.

Those shots weren't falling and, with John Wall already out, his lack of offensive production was magnified. 

Brooks needed a change from Morris and against the Pistons he got it.

Morris hit his first three shots and had seven points in his first eight minutes. He finished with a season-high 23 points on 10-of-16 shooting with seven rebounds, three assists and two blocks. 

RELATED: WIZARDS REVEAL NAME, LOGOS FOR G-LEAGUE TEAM

Morris also helped contain Pistons' leading scorer Tobias Harris to 15 points and two rebounds, below his season averages. It was Morris' best game of the season by a good margin and it came at a good time for a Wizards team which had lost five of their last seven entering the matchup.

"I felt good. It was about time I had a good game, man," Morris said after the 109-91 win. So, that film session did the trick, right?

Another feather in the cap of Coach Brooks?

"No, not at all," Brooks joked when asked if he was the reason. 

RELATED: WHERE WIZARDS STAND IN LATEST POWER RANKINGS

"He came out with the force that I saw many times last year. By playing hard, it gives you a chance to play well. I thought he did that tonight. He's coming back from his surgery. I think that's behind him. He knows that with John out, we're down a man and he doesn't have to take over the scoring, but participate and get involved in more of the scoring."

The surgery may be behind Morris, but he's not fully back to form. Morris is still dealing with discomfort in his left ankle stemming from the Wizards' playoff series against the Celtics in May. He hasn't fully regained his explosiveness, but he's getting there.

"Hell no," Morris said when asked if he's 100 percent. "[I'm at] 85 or 90. It takes some time. I came back three weeks before I was supposed to."

RELATED: JOHN WALL TALKS FOR FIRST TIME SINCE KNEE PROCEDURES

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: John Wall goes 1-on-1 to talk Bryce Harper's future, celebrity softball and the Summer League

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USA TODAY Sports

Wizards Tipoff podcast: John Wall goes 1-on-1 to talk Bryce Harper's future, celebrity softball and the Summer League

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, John Wall went 1-on-1 to talk Bryce Harper's future, the celebrity softball game and the Summer League.

Chase Hughes and Chris Miller broke down the parallels between Wall and Harper and why Wall has chosen to stay loyal to Washington in his own contract decisions. Plus, can the Wizards really tone down the talking this season?

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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Kawhi Leonard going to the Raptors may actually be good news for the Wizards and the East

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USA Today Sports Images

Kawhi Leonard going to the Raptors may actually be good news for the Wizards and the East

Through nearly three weeks of NBA free agency and almost a month of trades, the Eastern Conference had remained eerily quiet. The Wizards had arguably been the most aggressive team in the East, as all the biggest moves had occurred in the West and, most notably, LeBron James changed coasts.

That all changed on Wednesday as the Toronto Raptors pulled off a trade with the San Antonio Spurs to land Kawhi Leonard, a two-time defensive player of the year. The full deal includes All-NBA guard DeMar DeRozan going to San Antonio along with big man Jakob Poeltl and a protected 2019 first round pick. The Raptors also get guard Danny Green, according to ESPN.

Here are some takeaways from the trade...

This is good, potentially great news for the Wizards

The worst-case scenario for the Wizards and most of the East would have been if Leonard got dealt to either the Sixers or Celtics, as the potential would have been there for a dominant team. The Sixers, in particular, could have conceivably traded for Leonard without giving up much in the way of pieces that can help them now. They would have teamed Leonard with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid and would probably be the favorites to reach the NBA Finals. Instead, the Sixers struck out and now face the prospect of taking a pretty big L on this offseason, given all the guys they were tied to going into it.

Leonard and the Raptors will be good and they may even be better than they were last season. Though the Raptors won 59 games in the regular season, they disappointed in the playoffs. Leonard could change that, but he won't have the help to make them an unstoppable force. Kyle Lowry is good, but he's an aging player and they don't have a third star, at least not yet. They have a lot of recent first round picks that could, in theory, make the leap.

This deal is good for the Wizards and could become great if Leonard leaves in free agency next summer. If he does, the Raptors will be in deep trouble.

What will the Lakers do?

When James signed with the Lakers, most assumed they would then add at least one star to run with him. But now that Leonard is going to Toronto, it's very possible they don't add one at all. James might actually have to play with Lonzo Ball in addition to Lance Stephenson, Rajon Rondo and JaVale McGee. Sure, they can sign Leonard next summer or find another star then, but this is shaping up as of now to be a lost year for James.

As consistitued, they aren't winning anything of substance. It's just so surprising James would be cool with this level of talent around him considering what he could have done this season if he signed with Philly or some other team.

People are looking at the wrong contract

Much of the instant reaction to the Leonard trade was praise for the Raptors in ridding themselves of DeRozan's deal. That's a headscratcher. DeRozan is set to make over $27 million in the next three years, the third being a player option, but he's an All-NBA player who turns 29 next month. In the context of NBA contracts, that isn't too bad.

Lowry's contract, on the other hand, is borderline awful. He's 32 with his numbers heading in the wrong direction and he's due to make $31 million next season and $33.3 million the year after. It's not like the Raptors freed themselves of their worst deal.

Masai is making moves

This is a risk for the Raptors and you have to respect it. Their general manager, Masai Ujiri, had seen enough of the DeRozan-Lowry duo falling short in the playoffs. He fired head coach Dwane Casey and pulled off a trade for Leonard, who at his best is one of the premier players in the NBA.

There is considerable risk in this move with Leonard having missed 73 games last season with a quadriceps injury and given the fact he can opt to test free agency next summer. If he really does want to join the Lakers, he could leave the Raptors empty-handed.

But it's a risk that is probably worth taking. Everyone assumed the same future for Paul George and he ended up staying in Oklahoma City. It's not a guarantee Leonard leaves and now the Raptors have a year to convince him to stay. Ujiri should get praise for this deal because it's bold and he did one of the hardest things a GM can do in finding a top-5 talent for his team.

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