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Markieff Morris' best game of the season a great sign for the Wizards

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Markieff Morris' best game of the season a great sign for the Wizards

Markieff Morris put in his best game of the season so far on Thursday night against the Lakers despite not yet being in midseason physical shape, suffering a new injury midgame and afterwards revealing that he's still dealing with discomfort from the ankle injury he suffered in the playoffs against the Celtics.

Morris is a walking injury list, yet his outing against the Lakers was about as efficient as offensive performances get. Morris dropped 16 points in 17 minutes on 6-of-7 shooting with five rebounds. He was 2-for-2 from three and 2-for-2 from the free throw line.

Not bad for a guy who was playing just his fourth game following a six-week recovery from sports hernia surgery.

"I definitely don’t feel myself yet," he said.

Adding to his plight was the fact his left knee stiffened up in the first quarter. He left for the locker room and returned in the second quarter, but he spent much of his time the rest of the night staying loose on an exercise bike in the tunnel at Capital One Arena.

[PODCAST: PAUL PIERCE GOES 1-ON-1 TO TALK WIZARDS]

That knee is on the same leg as the ankle he hurt in May when Al Horford stepped under his jumpshot in Game 1 of the Wizards-Celtics playoff series. Morris joked that he's had dozens of MRIs, X-rays and catscans on his ankle and all of them came back clean.

Whether the two injuries are related or not, they are more of an annoyance at this point than anything. Morris showed on Thursday night he still has enough to help change games with his offense.

The Wizards got him started early in the post, as he knocked down a fadeaway jumper over Kyle Kuzma in the first quarter. Then, he popped two three-pointers to begin the second half, doubling his season total.

“I was stiff as hell when I hit those threes, man. I guess I prayed on them," he said.

Beyond John Wall and Bradley Beal, Morris is one of the Wizards' best options for creating his own shot. He can score in the post and stretch the floor with a decent three-point shot. He's also valuable on defense when committed, especially against stretch-fours, which have given the Wizards trouble in the past.

It might be a few weeks before Morris can handle 30-plus minutes and produce consistently. For now, he proved Thursday night he can still make a considerable impact.

[RELATED: GIANNIS GOT A SHOE DEAL; WHAT ABOUT WALL?]

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Breaking down the Wizards' 2018 draft class

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Breaking down the Wizards' 2018 draft class

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hughes and Chris Miller analyze the Wizards' two picks the night of the draft.

They went in-depth on first round pick Troy Brown, Jr. and why the Wizards took him when some big names were still on the board. They also broke down why the Wizards chose to pick a draft-and-stash guy in the second round.

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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Ernie Grunfeld uses second round pick on draft-and-stash prospect Issuf Sanon

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Ernie Grunfeld uses second round pick on draft-and-stash prospect Issuf Sanon

The Washington Wizards selected international prospect Issuf Sanon with the 44th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft on Thursday night.

Like Wizards first round pick Troy Brown, Sanon is just 18 years old and does not turn 19 until Oct. 30. President of basketball operations Ernie Grunfeld said that Sanon is a draft-and-stash prospect and will play at least the following year for Olimpija, a professional team in Slovenia.

Here’s what you need to know about Sanon:

Height: 6-4

Weight: 172

2017-18 stats: 20.5 mpg, 6.0 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 1.4 apg, 1.2 spg, 0.2 bpg, 42.9 FG%, 28.3 3PT%, 50 FT%

*Sanon is a defensive-minded combo guard that is not expected to be ready for the next few years. However, he thrived defensively, allowing just 0.471 points per isolation possession, according to the NBA. That ranks in the 92nd percentile. In the past two seasons in Ukraine’s second division, Sanon averaged 4.6 steals per game.

*While playing in the 2017 U-18 Euros for the Ukrainian National team last summer, Sanon broke out, averaging 19.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 3.4 steals per game. 

*During the middle of the 2017-18 season, Sanon changed teams. He moved from Ukraine’s Dnipro to the more competitive Olimpija in Slovenia.

*The biggest area of improvement for Sanon is developing his offensive game further. While he is just 18 and very raw, Sanon’s numbers have dipped since his move to Olimpija, especially shooting wise. Sanon’s strength comes in transition and his 6-4 frame helps him when slashing to the rim.

*Though he will not play for the Wizards anytime soon, he will come to the United States and play on the Wizards’ Summer League team.