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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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NBA set to reportedly crack down on closeouts, initiating contact

NBA set to reportedly crack down on closeouts, initiating contact

Despite the NBA season just getting underway, the Association is still looking at a few rule tweaks. 

According to a report from Bleacher Report's Howard Beck, the NBA will look at tweaking how they call two fouls: "aggressive" closeouts and when shooters initate contact to a shot to draw a foul. 

The former has been a growing issue in NBA games, and, according to Beck, was brought to the attention of league offices after Golden State Warriors center Zaza Pachulia slid his foot under San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard during Game 1 of last year's Western Conference Finals. 

The Wizards had to deal with closeout injuries of their own last season. Last March, Orlando Magic forward Terrance Ross apologized to Bradley Beal after hurting Beal's ankle on a closeout:

RELATED: WIZARDS ANNOUNCE 2017-2018 TRAINING CAMP ROSTER

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Wizards announce 2017-18 training camp roster

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USA Today Sports

Wizards announce 2017-18 training camp roster

The Wizards released their 19-man training camp roster on Thursday, including their two players signed under two-way contracts and two veterans joining the team on training camp invites.

Devin Robinson of the University of Florida and Michael Young of Pittsburgh are the two two-way players. They were signed as undrafted free agents following the 2017 NBA Draft. Under the NBA's new system of two-way deals, they will spend the majority of their time in the G-League with an alotment of 45 days at the NBA level.

The two veterans on training camp invitations are combo guard Donald Sloan, a five-year NBA veteran who played last year in China, and Carrick Felix, who last played in the NBA in 2013-14 with the Cavs and spent last year with the Long Island Nets of the G-League.

Here is the full roster:

PG John Wall

SG Bradley Beal

SF Otto Porter

PF Markieff Morris

C Marcin Gortat

C Ian Mahinmi

PF Jason Smith

PG Tim Frazier

SF Kelly Oubre

PF Mike Scott

SG Jodie Meeks

PG Tomas Satoransky

SG Sheldon Mac

C Daniel Ochefu

PF Chris McCullough

SF Devin Robinson

PF Michael Young

PG Donald Sloan

SG Carrick Felix

Wizards training camp begins Sept. 26 in Richmond, Va. For a full training camp preview, check out our Wizards Tipoff podcast:

[RELATED: PODCAST: CHENIER ON GETTING HIS JERSEY RETIRED]

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