With the 13th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft the Phoenix Suns select Kansas Forward Markieff Morris. Markieff is the older brother (by 7 minutes) of Marcus Morris who also played for Kansas and was drafted by the Houston Rockets with the 14th pick. At 6'10", 240 pounds and with a 6'10" wingspan Markieff Morris is the bigger of the two brothers and he is also a basketball player with an established position being the Power Forward. This in contrast to Marcus who is a few inches shorter, considered a 'tweener' (between positions, the PF and the SF) and plays a more finesse type of ball. Markieff is a powerful big man that likes the mix-it up down in the paint, but also he can step out and shoot from distance with skilled precision, an attribute that makes him an understandable and a wise choice for the Phoenix Suns.
But imagine that, for the 3rd time in the last 3 years the Phoenix Suns have drafted a twin brother. The third time's a charm right? Well, that's what we hope since the first two attempts have not panned out for the Suns. Taylor Griffin is somewhere in Europe playing 'really hard', and Robin Lopez is being shopped all around the league as we speak after disappointing seasons here in the valley.
But I have a feeling that this situation with Markieff may be different. For one thing - this will be the first time in 3 tries that the Suns will receive the higher drafted brother... It's funny that the one prospect that we didn't preview here at Bright Side of the Suns ends up being 'the guy'. With that being said, let's go ahead and take a look at what we have here with Markieff Morris.
Hear it from his mouth yesterday - a lot of the questions you might have are answered here.
And here's a clip of him working out that shows off some good footwork and a little about his game.
I'd also suggest you check out his bio page at Draft Express and scroll down to see the video on his Strengths/Weaknesses.
Some of the strengths listed are his athleticism, his interior scoring, shooting (shoots well from mid-range and shot 42% behind the arc averaging almost 3 attempts per game last year), his rebounding (offensively rebounds at a high rate) and his good individual defense and defensive positioning.
Markieff definitely addresses a need for the Phoenix Suns that hasn't quite been taken care of since Amare Stoudemire left a year ago at the Power Forward position. We've needed a scoring PF that can defend and also score on the block or at least off the pick and pop so we can keep the floor spaced. Also from watching video on Morris he seems very comfortable finishing on the break at the rim and handling alley-oops and other interior passes from his teammates. That is something that will be very important for him here with the Phoenix Suns.
Another positive I can find is his toughness. He's scrappy, get's excited after making big plays and he isn't afraid to speak his mind. From this article he's quoted on talking a little trash to the number 2 pick in this year's draft, Derrick Williams -
"I didn't think he was as good as advertised," Morris said. "He got the benefit of the calls from the ref and we had to guard him different. He definitely had a good game against us, because we couldn't guard him how we wanted to guard him, and that's what happened."
So when he hears that Williams is a lock to go in the top two, Morris said, "It's still surprises me. What he did to Duke, he wouldn't do that to me or my brother [Marcus]. I'm dead serious. He wouldn't. At all. He's good. But if we was to work out, I would go at him and I would be able to stop him more than people would expect, you know what I mean."
I like. We need some attitude. Some toughness.
The draft isn't over yet as I write - but I suspect this might be our only takeaway from tonight's actions. I hope I'm wrong because we can use all the help and mojo we can get. If I had to grade the pick at this very moment - I would say it's a good choice... though the fact that Kawhi Leonard was also available for the Suns at 13, and the fact that the San Antonio Spurs just traded away George Hill to the Pacers to take Kawhi - those things make my belly ache just a little bit.
But we needed a PF that could rebound/defend and score and our FO stuck to their guns and took the best available option. Only time will tell the real story.
This humble blogger approves of the pick and is excited to see just how well he can spread the floor and operate in the pick and roll. Maybe we can gets some authoritative dunks from someone other than Hakim Warrick.