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Roundtable: Who should play a bigger role behind Markieff Morris?

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Atlanta Hawks v New York Knicks Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

Jake Whitacre: Obviously, we all expect to see a lot of the Wizards' small lineup if Markieff Morris has to miss time due to his surgery, but they're still going to need someone else to play minutes at the four.

Who do we think ends up getting the nod? Smith was a pleasant surprise last season but he's probably better suited as a stretch five. Meanwhile, Mike Scott has shown in the past he can be useful as a floor spacer and could stand to benefit playing alongside Wall, Beal, and Porter.

I think it's important to discuss this now because even if Morris is healthy by the time the season starts, deciding between Smith and Scott is important because there's really only room for one of them in the rotation once everyone is healthy.

Lyndie Wood: I would use this as an opportunity to give Mike Scott a good, long chance. We know who Smith is, and we know what the team looks like with him at power forward. If Scott isn't going to work out that useful to know early.

Marcus Atkinson: I think since we're looking at the preseason timeline, you have to start with Mike Scott of course as the temporary starter. Then I think you should give a look with Michael Young or Devin Robinson as the backup 4’s.

Since it's preseason, this is a perfect opportunity to see if either one of them can step in just in case Morris is not ready for the regular season. If this fails then of course you give Jason Smith a bulk of the minutes behind Scott. We’ve got these young players, let's see if they can show some progress.

Matthew Gilpin: Mike Scott is definitely the guy in line to see a bump in minutes. He's a pretty similar player to Morris and should see better numbers playing with Wall. Like Marcus said, I'd love to see Young and Robinson get some run in the preseason. Might as well give these guys a legit chance before just stuffing them in the G-League.

Fim Oshin: Honestly, there's a lot of free agent options to fill in for Kieff's absence. David Lee?

Lyndie Wood: Lee's rebounding might be useful, but I think Scott's upside as s floor spacer fits this team better.

Tony East: I came to say Mike Scott, everyone else said Mike Scott, so Mike Scott. Since the front office has until October 31 to decide on McCulloogh’s team option for the 2018-19 season, this could be a way to get him a short run before that date in order to make a more informed decision.

Alan Jenkins: Mike Scott should get the nod here but with that said, I don't think there's a need to force feed him if things aren't working out. Jason Smith isn't going to blow anyone away but is capable of holding down the fort and we know what we're getting with him.

Mitchell Northam: Scott is a 33 percent career three point shooter, and Wall has a tendency to make those stretch-four types better at shooting from deep. I say go with Scott to see if that formula continues to work. As someone said above, we know what Smith is, and he is better suited as a stretch-five. I'd like to see the younger guys get some run at this too, but I think the fill-in job for Keef is Scott's to lose.

Nick Bilka: You have to hope that Scott's regression last year was mostly due to his injuries and legal trouble. If you look at Scott's numbers from 15-16, they hold up pretty well to Markieff’s numbers last year. If the Wizards can get something like that version of Scott, he can be a reasonable stopgap while Markieff deals with injuries and legal trouble.

Jake Whitacre: I was going to argue Smith but then I looked up the numbers with Smith replacing Morris in the lineup and they are very not good.

Tony East: Play Jason Smith 30 minutes a game, all with Wall. Pad his counting stats and net rating. Increase trade value. Trade away for nothing. Avoid tax.

The long game, baby.

Kevin Broom: Markieff isn’t very good, but he’s a competent pro and he’s valuable because of the lack of options behind him. Smith for 30 minutes a game would get exposed. He’s an acceptable backup some of the time, not a starter. I concur that Scott should be the starter, likely with Smith as the primary backup.

It will be a very bad sign for his career if McCullough can’t earn minutes in a rotation led by Scott and Smith.

Nick Bilka: If McCullough can't earn and play decently in that rotation, then why would you pick up his option at the end of October? If you aren't going to pick up his option, why have him on the roster?

Michael Sykes: I don't think McCullough will earn minutes this season. I'm not 100 percent sure he's going to contribute much this year, though I hope he does. It's probably not the best option, but I'd love to see them starting the small lineup here with Oubre and Porter as the forward combination.

That lineup was criminally underplayed last season, but it's understandable with Kelly Oubre still not being able to defend without fouling. If he fixes that issue this season, I think it's a fine lineup to log heavy minutes even with Oubre's jumper not being all the way up to par.

Plus, it takes Porter out of the position where he has to guard quicker players on the wing, which is a huge thing for him. He's much better as a help defender than he is on ball.

Lyndie Wood: I like that idea, Mike. I'm also really interested to see how Porter does guarding fours this year. To really maximize his potential I think he needs to be able to do that reliably.

Oubre's tendency to foul is painful because I think that's the only thing stopping him from being a great on-ball defender (off-ball is another story).

Alan Jenkins: McCullough feels like Chris Singleton v2.

Nick Bilka: I feel that is almost disrespectful to Chris Singleton.

Kevin Broom: First two seasons, McCullough vs. Singleton.

  • McCullough PPA – 71 in 442 total career minutes.
  • Singleton – 43 in 2355 total minutes.

Most of Singleton’s minutes were in his rookie year (1400+). That was also the best season of his career. He got worse from there because he wasn’t willing to put in the work to become a good pro.

We’ll see on McCullough. His total sample size is still miniscule. He did add a three point shot in the D-League, which is an encouraging sign.