Markieff Morris: Asset Or Liability?

This is my question for the Wizards. Is Markieff Morris producing more energy than he is taking? It seems as though sometimes he puts minimal effort out there on the floor. It’s in the little things. I have witnessed him drop or roll the ball to teammates rather than passing to  them. I have witnessed him avoid high fives. We need a good teammate.

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We need Markieff to produce like his twin brother Marcus is doing on the Celtics. I personally believe that Keef is capable of doing this. He just needs to get running more. Sometimes his athleticism seems lacking. This is obviously not the case considering he is in the NBA.

He has a pretty decent shot, but we need him to be multi-faceted. We need rebounds from the 28-year-old. The 6’10 forward only averages 5.6 rebounds in his career. This is the same amount of rebounds that he averaged last season. We need double-digit rebound games if he is going to be a starting forward in the NBA.

I like Keef, but his attitude and effort on the floor make it hard to do so. We need Keef to be chippy. We need him to fire up other players. If we wanna make the playoffs then we need more. The way he has been playing is just not cutting it. Hopefully he has been working this offseason and will come out next season ready to actually play like a winner. The Wizards are slowly putting the pieces together. My expectations are that Markieff can give us what we need. If this does not happen then he is wasting the Wizards’ time and money.

John Wall: Supernova

This is exactly what we need from the 27 year old; a supernova. We need the star to explode. Let’s not forget who we are dealing with. This is the same player who shocked the world in his one year spent at the University of Kentucky. With dazzling performances he pretty much left people’s jaws on the floor.

So why exactly is John Wall not still shocking the world? I believe it is due to being too comfortable. John Wall has been in the league for 8 seasons. His numbers over the years have been pretty consistent.

Why can John Wall not cross the threshold into superstardom? He is an all-star, which should not go unnoticed. But John Wall has shown glimpses into the depth of his skill level. Here is a taste of said glimpses:

I believe John Wall to be in the top 3 point guards  in the league. However, going to and watching Wizards games it seems as though John Wall just is not trying hard on a consistent basis. Sometimes he just does not make an impact out there. It is pretty impressive that he can be as good as he is without looking like he is trying his hardest. (The T-Mac effect)

John Wall needs the mentality of Kobe Bryant. Now, maybe John Wall is not going to have the legacy of Kobe Bryant. He is clearly one in a million. But my question is, why not? Why can’t John Wall leave a legacy behind him. John Wall needs to go his hardest at all times.

If this happens, I believe we are in for something special. If it does not, I believe John Wall will fade into the NBA as just another “good” player who’s star eventually burnt out…

Kelly Oubre Jr.: What’s Next?

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Things are changing for Kelly Oubre Jr., and I don’t just mean with his hair, tattoos, and fashion sense. The improvement of Oubre has been gradual but noticeable. This past season his focus was on his 3-point shooting. His 3-point percentage went up from .287 to .341. He went from making 54 3’s in 2016-17, to 126 made 3’s in 2017-18. That is a more than double jump by Kelly. His minutes have gone up and so have pretty much all of his other numbers. The question that has to be asked is: what’s next for the young player?

Oubre has great bounce and I believe driving will be the next step in his career. He shied away from it last year as he was constantly behind the 3-point line. If he can bring his intensity into the paint and combine that with a killer mindset, his play will go up drastically. In fact, I would even go so far as to say that if he improves in his driving, he may even beat out Otto Porter for the starting small forward spot. Now, I realize this is far off, but it is worth being talked about. If Porter does not improve his game much this season then I see Oubre taking his job at some point. It may not be soon, but it is coming. I personally hope Porter lives up to expectations, but it is realistic to say that he probably won’t.

Another area that I see Kelly Oubre improving upon this coming season is his basketball IQ. He sometimes is a victim of making many more mistakes than other more experienced players. Dumb plays happen, but if he is to cut these plays out from his repertoire than he can do some serious damage.

He is such a fun player to watch and the DC fans really do love the kid. His entertainment value is through the roof as he is very prevalent on the internet and social media. He makes headlines with his sometimes strange fashion sense but his play really does the talking for him. As I said before, his intensity is unmatched. This partly comes from his young energy but it is also due to his attitude towards the game. He works harder than most so he has been getting the opportunities that he needs and will likely keep getting them

Oubre demonstrates great hustle as well as sportsmanship and it appears that he just enjoys playing basketball. Oubre needs to go from young player to young STAR. Does he have that in him? I believe so. He makes plays when he is given the opportunity and his minutes have become plentiful. He is better than your average backup small forward. This is just a plain fact. While other areas of the country may not have recognized this yet, his time to be talked about will come. I believe it will come soon.

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Evolving Austin Rivers

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I miss the old Austin Rivers.

He seems to have blended into the league as your average guard. I followed Austin Rivers throughout high school and even got his autograph back in those days. I specifically remember him showing up to the gym in his custom gold Beats By Dre headphones and catching the eyes of everybody in there.

He was a McDonald’s All-American and played in various well-known basketball tournaments. He even led his high school team to a Florida 6A state championship. Following that Rivers continued to set a u18 FIBA Team USA record with 35 points against Canada.

Austin Rivers used to be a basketball machine. He was like a street baller out there. His handles reminded me of that of Jamal Crawford. He could take just about anybody’s ankles out from under them with his old crossover. I mean it, his handles were just plain filthy.

Coach K really put Austin’s skills to use at Duke while he was in college. He would have pulled up on anybody in the NCAA, and he did. This is why he left after one year.

Somewhere on his path in the league he became your average fundamental guard. I want John Wall to bring the beast back to life. I have not pinpointed exactly when the beast died. I don’t know whether the change in his game was due to Alvin Gentry, playing with his father, or just the change of pace that the NBA offered, but today’s Austin Rivers is not the one that I am familiar with.

Let me be clear, I think Rivers has a high basketball IQ, has a solid jumper, and passes well. What I’m saying is there is a side to Austin Rivers that most fans are not even aware of. This is the Austin Rivers that I want to see on the Wizards this year.

Wake up the beast.

What Exactly Can We Expect From Dwight Howard?

 

Let’s take a quick look into what to expect from Howard this season.

1. Scoring Inside

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Dwight Howard averaged 16.6 points in the 2017-18 season. That’s double the amount Marcin Gortat brought to the table with 8.4 points. With other teams in the league forming super rosters, scoring is a necessity down low to complement the main scoring done by Beal and Wall. While Dwight is becoming that of a veteran, this may be the perfect move to revitalize his career and bring in some 20 and 20 games.

2.  Entertainment

Howard is known as a showman. Whether it be his pranks pulled or his dunk contest performances, Dwight is a pure entertainer. One characteristic of his that is not reflected in his numbers is his smiling. Dwight always seems to have a smile on his face. This makes him a fan favorite wherever he goes. He will bring this to the court and may even be responsible for the Wizards to actually have some fun playing the game of basketball.

3. Rebounding

Obviously, Dwight is a rebound machine. Standing at 6’11 and 265 lbs., he is a force to be reckoned with. Last season Dwight averaged 12.5 rebounds per game. As previously stated, we want some 20 and 20 games out of him. A drop in his rebounding occurred when he was constantly moving teams, but last season he put up numbers similar to those of when he was on Orlando. Hopefully, the numbers keep climbing. The expectations are high for him to outshine the work that Gortat did. This is no small task. I believe Dwight is up to the challenge.

4. Inside Information

Dwight Howard has played for five teams (not including the Wizards). After a successful stint in Orlando, he bounced around from team to team. Dwight is now 32. Howard knows the ins and outs of the league and hopefully, he can pass along some of his knowledge onto the younger players on the team. I have a feeling he will evolve Ian Mahinmi’s game, which is very needed. I was shaky about Mahinmi becoming the starting center but this eases my worries. I like Mahinmi and enjoy his back up performances coming off the bench with high energy. Hopefully, Dwight can turn Ian into a better player overall in his short time here.

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5. A Better Attitude Towards The Game

Led by the tough play of John and Keef, the Wizards have a chip on their shoulder every time they come out. While intensity is not a negative, the players sometimes get distracted and let their emotions get the best of them. Dwight will bring a fun loving viewpoint towards the game that will hopefully rub off on the other players. The Wiz should remain physical but should not aim to be a dirty team. Famous scuffles with teams like the Raptors and the Celtics show the immaturity of the Wizards and sometimes cost them. Hopefully, Howard can get them to ease up and enjoy having fun during the game.

 

Let’s give the guy a shot to prove all the haters wrong.

 

Otto Porter: The Key to DC Basketball

With all-star performances by John Wall and Bradley Beal becoming the norm, DC basketball is on the rise. With the latest import, Dwight Howard, on the way, it seems as though the “big man problem” is no longer existent. Otto Porter may be the next step towards Wizards success and even a playoff birth.

His career has been on the up and up since the beginning of last season. At one point he even led the league in 3-point percentage. The expectations may be fairly low for him, but this season that needs to change. Otto Porter is better than your average player. The Georgetown alum needs to decide whether he wants to continue in this role or level up as a player.  Average numbers should no longer be expected from him. The city of DC needs more from the 25 year old.

John Wall and Bradley Beal need more. he is a knockdown shooter and a fantastic defender. He needs to add more elements to his game. My opinion: passing. If Porter improves his passing ability, the team may have more of a leader/veteran type role for him.

Another ability that he should add to his game is driving. He does not come across as that of a driver as he lacks in strength and intensity. If he decides to hit the weight room this summer this may be what the future holds for him. We need more than pure shooting. Pure shooting is Kyle Korver and JJ Redick. Otto is not this type of shooter so the duty needs to change.

This may be a lot to ask from the player, but it is necessary. It is difficult to imagine what exactly his play will be like if  passing and driving are added to his game, but we know it can only be positive. With super teams becoming common in the league, the Wizards need to do what they can to collect theirs.  Now, Otto Porter is loved by the fans of DC, but basketball is basketball and if he doesn’t add to their success, he adds to their downfall. A trade may need to occur if he does not take on this new role.

We have waited long enough. it is overdue.