Lance Blanks press conference explaining why the Suns picked Markieff Morris and not his brother Marcus.


Say good bye to your bro, Markieff. Time to shine. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Well, at least we didn't get another C- from good ol' Chad Ford.

In fact, the funniest thing (to me) about the morning's grades is the collective surprise that the Suns actually made a move to fill every need in one player.

Markieff Morris is not a savior. In fact, he won't even be an All-Star.

But he will likely be, at worst, a 10-15 year rotation player like a Dale Davis. At best? Maybe Carlos Boozer. Or, as Draft Express puts it: Rasheed Wallace without the crazy.

I'll be thrilled with the worst case scenario there. The man rebounds, fights, plays tough, finshes at a high rate around the rim, and makes open jumpers. And he's a pure PF who can slide into C in a small lineup.

Drafting Morris is like eating oatmeal for breakfast. You know it's good for you and the right thing to do, but it doesn't have pizzazz of chocolate-covered sugar bombs.

Here's a really good breakdown on SBNationAZ, from our own Seth Pollack.

Phoenix Suns Pick Markieff Morris 13th In NBA Draft - SB Nation Arizona

Seth gives us a really good breakdown of Morris' offensive game, which isn't too shabby. Biggest takeaways: he likes the left side of the floor, finishes at a really high rate, and doesn't take bad shots.

Hit the link for the grades I found...

 

NBA Draft Grades: Phoenix Suns Rate Solid 'B' - SB Nation Arizona
The Phoenix Suns new front office triumvirate of Lon Babby, Lance Blanks and John Treloar made the safe choice with the 13th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. It was their first draft running the Suns and they absolutely couldn't afford a bust so you can understand why they went with a safe, if not exciting, choice who will likely be an NBA role player for many years but is almost certainly never going to develop All-Star potential.

Shumpert was the high-risk, high-reward pick and this was not the time for the Suns to be making that kind of choice.

2011 NBA Draft Team Grades - CBSSports.com

CBSSports gave the Suns a B- for Markieff. Not bad, considering the grader is long-time BEdger Ben Golliver. Score one of the Suns.

Phoenix Suns: Markieff Morris. Grade: B-. The Suns went against the grain in terms of which Morris twin was expected to go first, and Markieff brings a physical presence that is currently lacking. He's probably the better fit. The Suns addressed a position, but did they put themselves back on a positive trajectory? Seems like they're facing the same problems as a franchise that they were yesterday.

2011 NBA draft results: Draft grades - ESPN

The Suns decided they needed size and another defensive presence, and to get those qualities, they may have reached just a bit for Morris here.

A year ago, scouts would've laughed at the suggestion that Markieff would go ahead of twin brother Marcus. But after a stellar junior season, he leapt ahead on some draft boards.

Morris is a solid rebounder and defender and he's tough. He can also shoot the ball, a big bonus in Alvin Gentry's system.

Grade: B-

NBA Draft Grades 2011: Suns Confuse Markieff Morris' Family, Get Tougher - SBNation.com

Synopsis: Morris immediately becomes Phoenix's toughest power forward. I'm really going out on a ledge here, considering that Hakim Warrick and Channing Frye are the competition. But still. The Suns now have two brawlers in the frontcourt (Morris, Marcin Gortat), and the team's famously bad rebounding should improve, provided that Alvin Gentry gives Morris lots of early minutes.

Chris Singleton or Kawhi Leonard would have been better value picks and also met the defense/toughness need. But that's more a quibble than a demerit. A for effort, C for execution, which averages out to ...

Grade: B.

Markieff Morris among top 15 NBA draft sleepers - NBA - Yahoo! Sports

Before the draft, Yahoo Sports actually listed Markieff as a major sleeper.

A scout said Markieff's twin brother, Marcus, is expected to get drafted about five spots higher than his sibling. Markieff is projected to go as high as the middle of the first-round.

Unlike his brother, Markieff is focusing on playing power, not small forward.

"A lot of people are sleeping on me, but it is what it is," Markieff said.

An NBA scout's take: "One of the most undervalued guys in the draft. His brother gets all the headlines. He's a legitimate power forward cut from Dale Davis cloth who can defend, rebound and can make passes from the post. A winner."

 

There you have it. Let's talk.


PHOENIX — The Phoenix Suns remain squarely in “win with Nash” mode after selecting Markieff Morris with their lottery pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft. Morris’ toughness and rebounding provide...

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PHOENIX — Markieff Morris’ draft night wish came true, and it had nothing to do with the supposedly lesser twin getting picked a spot ahead of his brother. Instead it had everything to do with...

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The Phoenix Suns select Kansas Forward Markieff Morris witht he 13th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft  (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)

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.

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