Washington Wizards’ Markieff Morris to Return – Should He Start?

BOSTON, MA - MAY 15: Markieff Morris
BOSTON, MA - MAY 15: Markieff Morris /

Washington Wizards forward Markieff Morris will be eligible to return to the team. But should he be starting or coming off the bench?

Washington Wizards forward Markieff Morris is serving his one-game suspension, which he received for leaving the bench during the Draymond GreenBradley Beal scuffle, Wednesday night against the Suns. Which means Morris, who has yet to play a game this season due to injury, will be returning to action in Friday’s bout with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

This is huge news for the Washington Wizards, as it will add back in a major piece that, by default, will make the bench stronger. The question is, should his production be coming in the starting line-up or off the bench?

Last season, Morris was a huge part of the success of the Washington Wizards. He averaged 14 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.1 steals per game while being a key player on defense.

He was even a bit of a spark on the offensive end as well. Scott Brooks has flat-out said that Morris will be returning to his normal role of starting power forward. The question is, is this the right move?

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Now, this may seem strange like a very strange question, given that Morris has been very good as a Wizard. However, the Wizards starting five of John Wall, Bradley Beal, Kelly Oubre, Otto Porter, and Marcin Gortat have been great so far this season, averaging more minutes per game than any other five-man crew in basketball.

Their net rating leads the NBA at 24.5, and their defense is 3rd at 89.7. In addition, Kelly Oubre has been fantastic. He’s put up a line of 11.5 points, 6.2 boards, .7 assists, 1.3 steals, and 1 block per game. In addition, he’s shot 45% from the field and 44% from 3 on 4.5 attempts. Oubre’s offensive rating per 100 possessions is 117, against his defensive rating of 103. The kid has been good.

There may be some problems with Oubre going to the bench.

Adding either Oubre or Morris to the bench unit will only make the bench stronger. I do, however,  question Oubre being the one to make the move. Being the 4th or 5th option is great for Kelly. It means he can wait for open shots. He can crash the boards and get 2nd chance points. It also allows him space to make plays when teams are worrying about the likes of Wall, Beal, and Otto.

With the bench unit, Oubre is going to have to be one of the top options, along with Jodie Meeks. Having to be the main play-maker off the bench could also cause some problems for Kelly. I’m concerned he will press.

There is a chance he tries too hard to force shots and be that top guy that Brooks is expecting him to be on the bench, and that he loses confidence and struggles. I’d love to see Morris as the anchor of the bench unit, but we will see how this works for now. I hope we don’t see Oubre’s minutes take a huge hit, as he has been very productive early in the season.

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It will be great to have Markieff Morris back in action Friday, no matter what the role is, and Kelly Oubre has filled his starting spot nicely to start off the season. At this point, you’ve got to have faith in Scott Brooks. I just hope it doesn’t affect the chemistry this starting line-up has built.