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Markieff Morris Roundtable: Breaking down the Wizards' big trade and what it means for the future

Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

1. How does the Morris trade rank compared to the other times the Wizards have traded first rounders in the Ernie Grunfeld era? ('04 for Jamison, '09 for Foye/Miller, '14 for Gortat)

Ben Becker - Nothing compares to trading the fifth overall pick for a year of Mike Miller and Randy Foye, but don't let that criteria lead you to believing this is a good trade. Getting just top-9 protection on this pick is a big disappointment given that they'd have the 12th pick if the draft was today.

Lyndie Wood - Better than the Foye/Miller trade, certainly. But that's a very low bar.

Alan Jenkins - This is a wait and see type of situation. The Wizards rolled the dice on a guy who's been toxic in the locker room, got into a fight with his teammate during a game, and threw a towel at his coach. He's a role player and an additional stretch-4 the Wizards were looking for. He's very solid when he decides to play it's just, will he choose to play every night? He averages 11.6 pts and 5.2 rebs per game. He's a player who has the potential but does not have the best attitude. There's too much gray area here at the moment.

Albert Lee - I'd say it's third place to the Jamison and Gortat trades, but that's simply because of the uncertainty of what Morris will do in DC once he's here. Hopefully, it won't be another version of the Foye/Miller deal.

Mitchell Northam - We'll have to wait and see. Hopefully, it's at least better than the Foye/Miller deal.

Mike Prada - Not nearly as bad as Foye/Miller because Morris has much more upside. Not sure it's as good as Jamison (a proven player) or Gortat (a proven player at his position). Somewhere in between.

Nick Bilka - I would say this ranks pretty similar to the Gortat trade. In both instances, you got potentially solid players for a first round pick to the Suns with some risk involve. With Gortat, the Wizards faced the risk of trading a first rounder for a one-year rental. The Wizards will have Markieff locked up at a great deal for several years, but the risk lies with his inconsistent play and temperament.

Bullet Nation in Exile -

  1. Jamison
  2. Gortat
  3. Morris
  4. Foye/Miller
The Foye/Miller trade was an utter disaster so no contest there. Jamison was long-time fixture and star and that trade isn't getting moved off the #1 spot. Trading a mid-first round pick for a starting two-way center is a good deal and the Markieff Morris acquisition would need to go about as well as possible to grab the second spot. If Morris plays more-or-less to his potential and assimilates into the locker room, then the Wizards have a modern 4 just entering his prime on an affordable deal with the cap about to explode. If his play is substandard, I'm sure Sam Hinkie will take him for a second round draft pick. If he goes off the deep end again, he's a candidate for the stretch provision and the Wizards will have a massive bill instead of a young player on a rookie contract.

2. Is the trade enough to get the Wizards back into the playoffs? Should it affect Ernie Grunfeld and Randy Wittman's future either way?

Ben Becker - Lyndie Wood and Kevin Broom have shown how unlikely it that the Wizards make the playoffs. Sneaking into the eighth spot likely gets them crushed by Cleveland; last year notwithstanding, it's hard to see them putting up much of a fight as a seven seed against Toronto. Maybe, just maybe, there's a silver lining in the fact that a trifecta of sadness -- missing the playoffs, losing the pick, and Morris just not being all that good -- will finally get Ted Leonsis to listen to the devoted and knowledgeable fans who want him so desperately to move on from Ernie Grunfeld.

Lyndie Wood - No, I don't think it's enough for the playoffs. The Wizards have a lot of ground to make up, and Detroit and Charlotte did a much better job at re-tooling with trades. I hope I'm wrong about that. As far as Grunfeld and Wittman go, I don't think the Morris trade or anything that happens this season (short of like, a finals appearance) should have any impact on their future outlook. We have a large body of work to judge both men from, we don't need to zoom in on this one move or one stretch if games.

Alan Jenkins - Adding Morris will only help the situation so long as he keeps his head on straight. The fact of the matter is, the Wizards probably aren't going to get higher than a 6-seed and that's if everything goes their way. A seven or eight seed is more likely. If the Wizards miss the playoffs, 100 percent no questions asked Ernie and Randy should be gone. Even if they make the playoffs, get the 8-seed, and lose to the Cavs in five games; is that a "successful season" and enough to keep them around? Not after the momentum this team has built up over the last two years.

Albert Lee - If Morris can be a beneficiary of the John Wall Effect right away and give the bench a boost on both ends of the floor, they have a shot. It should not affect what happens to Grunfeld and Wittman however.

Mitchell Northam - I think so. Morris is good enough. If can mesh with the team and if the Wizards can avoid second half injuries then this is a playoff team. Still, I'm not sure this trade saves the job of Grunfeld or Wittman. Morris will have to be a big contributor in these next few months and have an impact in the playoffs. The other thing is, as many people pointed out, he's still a younger player with room to grow.

Mike Prada - It really depends on the Morris they get. Cop-out answer, but he's been an enigma his entire career on the court, even forgetting the off-court concerns. There have been stretches where he's been everything a modern big man should be -- capable of sliding up or down a position, a great post hub, a fine passer in roll situations and even occasionally a solid perimeter shooter. The last few games this year have been tantalizing. But there have also been stretches where he takes bad shots and loafs on defense. Which Morris will the Wizards get?

Nick Bilka - No. They have dug too far of a hole, and this year's team has not shown that they have the ability to overcome that kind of adversity. Wittman and especially Grunfeld should be judged accordingly.

Bullet Nation in Exile - Crystal ball says 'Ask Again Later'. This trade will push the team in the right direction, but the answer depends on more variables than I can resolve. How well will the Hornets and Pistons integrate their new pieces? Will Morris integrate into the locker room? Will Randy Wittman feel confident enough to make him a fixture on the court? Will Morris earn it? Will it happen fast enough for his disposition? Will the Wizards stay healthy?

My bet: Yes, it is. John Wall can integrate anyone on offense while former ex-teammates Marcin Gortat and Jared Dudley will be significant factors in acclimating Morris to his new home which will translate on the court and Wittman's comfort level.

You said 'should' and not 'will', should not affect Ernie Grunfeld's future. Opportunism is not a fucking plan for building a contender. The ship Grunfeld built for the future was burning right as it was supposed to be showcasing its potential, as an owner, it seems difficult to credit him for dumping a bucket of sand on the deck. It should affect Randy Wittman's future. ESPN picked the Wizards to finish 8th in the Eastern Conference and we all chuckled. I guess having a power forward is important. Getting Morris to gel is a critical metric in his coming review.

3. How well will Morris need to play to justify giving up a first round pick?

Ben Becker - Better than he's ever played, which is unlikely given the circumstances. Morris had a nice year two seasons ago (against backups as Kevin Broom pointed out to me), and was mediocre last year against starters. His production has fallen off a cliff this year. None of the reasons for his struggles inspire confidence that he'll improve significantly over what he's been over his first five seasons. I'd rather have the pick.

Lyndie Wood - As well as the players who are drafted with or shortly after the Wizards pick. If we're evaluating in hindsight, that's the test: Which team ultimately ended up with a more valuable player. Over the past few years, the 10th-12th draft spots have included everyone from Paul George and Klay Thompson to Jimmer Fredette. If we're evaluating right now, without the benefit of hindsight, I'd say top 9-protection is not enough for a player with as many question marks and red flags as Morris.

Alan Jenkins - If Morris can give this team between 10-15 points and 5-8 rebounds, I'd say that would be sufficient. Either the Wizards thought there's no one in this draft who can play the stretch-4 or this was a panic move once it became clear Ryan Anderson was unavailable.

Albert Lee - If he's a good spark as the first big off the bench -- at least for the rest of this season -- and be a regular piece in a "game finishing lineup," then it would be worth giving up a 10th or later pick in the 2016 draft.

Also, Morris is just entering his prime, like John Wall, so he still has room to grow. And that's a good thing.

Mike Prada - Consistency is more important to me than raw output. The Wizards need him to be their primary post-up option on the first unit and a dive threat in smaller lineups. They need him to try defensively, which -- again -- he's done for stretches. They need him to be in the right frame of mind. They need him to cut out some of his mid-range shots. Do that consistently without any on- or off-court incidents, and he's worth the price paid.

Nick Bilka - If he turns into just an average starting power forward giving up the pick will be a steal. One of the biggest assets in a rising salary cap league is having players on long term deals that were signed under the old, lower salary cap number. Markieff's $8 million a year under the new cap will be equivalent to a mid level exception as a percentage of the cap just a few years ago.

Bullet Nation in Exile - Morris needs to be an effective fourth option in the starting lineup, second option in the second unit -> he could be the key to further realizing Otto's potential if he is effective as a secondary distributor from the high post. He needs to be a net positive on the defensive end. More than anything else, he needs to make John Wall happy with where the team is. Wall is a fierce competitor and nothing saps morale like constantly playing with a handicap. If the team's engine sputters, its fortunes (continue to) follow.

4. Should John Wall be satisfied with how the Wizards addressed his request to add an athletic 4 to the mix?

Ben Becker - John should be pleased the Wizards have a big man under 30 in their rotation, sure. But Morris hardly changes the trajectory of the franchise. In an ideal world, a team's best player isn't making requests to management through the media about how to address gaping holes in the roster.

Lyndie Wood - Yes and no? I think it would be reasonable for him to be satisfied, but I also think it would be reasonable for him to think "I didn't mean that athletic four!"

Alan Jenkins - Slightly satisfied. It was clear that Humphries looked extremely uncomfortable shooting threes so shipping him away for a guy who can shoot threes is a positive. Morris is also better at guarding players around the three point line than Humphries. It'll be interesting to see if the Wizards play Morris at center when they go to small-ball and put four outside shooters around Wall. If I'm Wall I'm happy, but this isn't tipping the needle too much one way or the other.

Albert Lee - Yes, he should be. In addition, Morris is a younger big as opposed to an older one like Humphries at least.

Mitchell Northam - For now, sure. I think the Wizards can still upgrade that position over the summer. Morris is better than what the Wizards previously had at that position.

Mike Prada - For now, sure. But this is a gamble, and Wall will have every right to be annoyed if Morris' attitude and on-court bad habits continue to slip.

Nick Bilka - Yes, but he should be dissatisfied that it took so long.

Bullet Nation in Exile - Unqualified yes. Wall got exactly what he asked for. I would have preferred John Henson (I love weird players and have coveted him since he was drafted), but that might have moved the needle in the way Wall was looking for. As it stands, he got a two-way player he shouldn't have to prop up, provided he can recover his form, rather than an unknown rookie prospect who likely wouldn't be ready to contribute until Wall reaches unrestricted free agency.

5. What is your favorite memory from the Kris Humphries/DeJuan Blair era?

Ben Becker - Humphries gave good effort and played hard. I appreciate the hell out of him working to expand his range. He deserves credit for turning himself into a decent long range shooter in his eleventh season. Blair was a disappointment. I don't think he was ever in shape. It's not hard to see why good organizations like San Antonio and Dallas moved on from him.

Lyndie Wood - Kris Humphries hitting 5 threes vs. the Magic was pretty great. How far things have fallen since then.

Alan Jenkins - Last year in Charlotte, when Blair screamed at Humphries for "stealing" his rebound.

Albert Lee - I'll be honest and say that Blair didn't really catch my eye as a Wizard. But for Humphries, I did like his performance in the first few games of the 2015-16 season when he was the Wizards' starting power forward and holding his own with the three-ball.

Mitchell Northam - Humphries turning into a three-point shooter was fun. Who's Blair? Was that the guy that was the hype man during the pre-game introductions and did the handshakes with everyone?

Mike Prada - Hump's two games against Orlando this year.

Nick Bilka - Hump's 20 rebound game against the Lakers last year was my favorite game of his time here.

Bullet Nation in Exile - DeJuan Blair floaters! Kris Hump-threes! I think my favorite Kris Humphries memory was watching sag ten feet off Lebron at the three point line, and watching him get beaten halfway through the second step.