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Wizards’ struggles could bring Suns second lottery pick after Markieff Morris trade

Washington Wizards' Markieff Morris (5) drives against Golden State Warriors' Andrew Bogut during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, March 29, 2016, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Former Suns forward Markieff Morris is playing well in Washington, but that might not be enough for the Wizards to make the playoffs.

That’s great news for the Suns, who acquired the Wizards’ 2016 first-round pick (top-9 protected) in the Morris trade, and while the Wizards were out of the playoffs at the time of the trade, they are a team that most expected to qualify for the postseason.

Since that trade in February, that has not been the case as CBS Sports’ Matt Moore puts it.

I have held out hope in our playoff picture for the Wizards. They had an incredibly soft closing schedule, the Pistons’ schedule was brutal, the Wizards had more talent, and the Bulls were imploding. There was every reason to think they could make it, or at least be in position to have a chance in the last week.

What they did was completely squander their opportunity, and combined with a push from Detroit (and an assist from some Thunder resting), Wednesday night spelled the end of the Wizards’ 2016 playoff hopes, for all intents and purposes.

Despite his poor play to start the season in Phoenix, Morris is not the one to blame.

The 2011 Suns first-round pick has had his offensive rating rise from 97.7 in Phoenix to 102.5 in Washington. More importantly, Morris’ defensive ratting has dropped from 107 in Phoenix to 98.9 in Washington.

With the Wizards seemingly out of the playoff race with six games remaining on their schedule, the question now becomes if the protection will hold up.

The early indications after a look at the standings lean in favor of Phoenix, even after the Wizards’ win over the Suns Friday night.

Washington (37-39) would currently finish with the 12th-worst record and the Denver Nuggets (32-45), who have the ninth-worst record, sit five-and-a-half games behind the Wizards.

It’s worth noting that Washington is not technically eliminated from the playoffs. A combination of the five-game gap in the standings and only six games remaining in the Wizards season, however, point towards the Suns having two lottery picks in June.

If you are familiar with the Suns’ history in draft lottery coin flips, however, you would be foolish to rule out the singular possibility of the Wizards holding onto their pick in that scenario by winning the draft lottery on May 17.

Along with their own pick, it will no doubt be a stressful day for Suns fans.

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