Not a bad draft pick, eh?

Here at Bright Side of the Sun we take the words TOTAL COVERAGE pretty dang seriously.

While our beloved Suns are off taking nice vacations, we are still slaving away, attempting to provide you all with first class Suns coverage.

So friends, without further adieu, we present you with the Phoenix Suns Season in Review, 2011-12.

Today's review will be Markieff Morris.

With the 13th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Phoenix Suns selected Markieff Morris, a 6-foot-9, 240 pound power forward from Kansas University.

When the pick was announced, many voiced their displeasure, lamenting that the Suns had once again picked the lesser brother, as Keef's twin Marcus was the more talented scorer at Lawrence. Now, after a relatively strong season by Markieff and a rookie campaign that consisted of 17 games played and multiple D-League assignments for Marcus, the Suns appear to have made the right choice.

Make the jump for a look at how Keef did in his first season as a pro.

First, Let's get the stats out of the way.

Basic Per Game Stats:

Per 36 Minutes:


There is a lot to like, and a lot to dislike in these tables.Let's look at the positives and negatives he showed us during his rookie season.


Morris showed flashes throughout the season of being a very valuable player for the Suns. He had a handful of great performances for the Suns this season, including a 13-10 double-double and three 20-plus point games.

Early in the year, he was a deadly 3-point shooter, connecting on over 48 percent of his 3-point attempts in December and January.

He has also shown the ability to score in other ways. He's faced up opposing bigs and either shot over the top of them or used the dribble to get to the basket. He's also show some back-to-the-basket skill, busting out some nice post moves now and then.

Morris finished fourth among rookie power forwards in total rebounds, so he's not afraid to get in the paint and mix it up. We all know he doesn't back down from anyone.


Morris' shooting touch fell off a cliff in the second half of the season and he finished the year shooting only 34.7 percent from behind the arc. Many here felt he settled for the jumper way too often, and that is backed up in the numbers. says that 26.6 percent of Morris's plays were in spot-up situations, despite the fact that he shot only 38.9 percent on those plays.

While Morris does show potential as a face-up man and post scorer, potential is all it is at this point. Keef shot 39.4 percent on isolation plays and 39.3 percent in post-up situations. He has some moves, but that doesn't really matter if he can't put the ball in the hoop.

While he does give effort, Morris simply is not a good defender. He commits fouls at an incredibly high rate (5.3 PFs per 36) which often prevents him from staying on the floor for any length of time. That is not all that surprising for a rookie, but he has to improve heading into next year.


Kieff has a lot of things to work on, but the most important one right now is putting the ball through the rim. He is simply not a good finisher at the moment. He needs to spend a lot of time this summer shooting jumpers and working on finishing in the paint.

To expect him to replicate the near-50 percent shooting from deep from the first 2 months of the season would be unrealistic. However, he was a 40-percent shooter in college, so his touch from deep wasn't a complete flash in the plan. A big problem is his release. He needs to work on getting his shot off much quicker, as it takes him far too long to square up and shoot.

A lot of his defensive problems could improve now that he has a full season under it's belt. It is often difficult for rookies to adjust defensively to the NBA game, and Keef was no different. Morris said he intends to get stronger during the offseason and he feels that will help him hold his own better defensively.

However, it is difficult to be disappointed in his season considering the circumstances. He was the 13th pick in a weak draft. He was thrust into the rotation with no training camp or Summer League or really any offseason preparation to speak of. Morris also played twice as many games as he did last year at Kansas, and by his own admission he tired out both mentally and physically and hit the rookie wall. Toss in a couple of illnesses and it wasn't an easy year for Markieff.

Overall, I'd give him a solid B.

Check out Bright Side of the Sun's Youtube channel for Morris's exit interview (skip to the 6:15 mark to hear Kieff).

Just for fun, let's take a look at some other power forwards who were drafted in the first round last year and how they compare to Kieff.

Pick Player Team Minutes Per Game Points Per Game Rebounds Per Game Field Goal Percentage
2 Derrick Williams MIN 21.5 8.8 4.7 41.2
4 Tristan Thompson CLE 23.7 8.2 6.5 43.9
7 Jan Vesely WAS 18.9 4.7 4.4 53.7
8 Bismack Biyombo CHA 23.1 5.2 5.8 46.4
13 Markieff Morris PHX 19.5 7.4 4.4 39.9
14 Marcus Morris HOU 7.4 2.4 0.9 29.6
22 Kenneth Faried DEN 22.5 10.2 7.7 58.6
27 JaJuan Johnson BOS 8.3 3.2 1.6 44.6

Looking at these numbers, the Manimal is a beast of a rookie (I guess you were right Beavis), while everyone else was somewhat disappointing (this was a really weak class). Kieff's numbers are comparable to or better than most of the other bigs drafted in the first round.

What grade would you give Keef?

  235 votes | Results

Recapping the Suns season with plenty of talk about the future of Steve Nash, the decision not to extend Alvin Gentry, and some quick thoughts about the NBA Playoffs.

Hosted by Bryan Gibberman and Seth Pollack and presented by Arizona Sports 620 and SB Nation Arizona.

Subscribe on iTunes or stream online after the jump.


May 2, 2012; Memphis, TN, USA; Professional wrestler Jerry Lawler performs during a timeout in the second half of game two of the Western Conference quarterfinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs between the Memphis Grizzlies and the Los Angeles Clippers at FedEx Forum. Memphis won 105-98. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-US PRESSWIRE

(SB Nation Arizona) The 2012 NBA Playoff schedule rolls along and Friday night at least one series took an interesting turn. The Chicago Bulls are now trailing the Philadelphia 76ers 1-2 in their series. The Bulls suffered another injury blow when Joakim Noah went down with a turned ankle. On the flip side, Evan Turner is having a break out performance in this postseason.

On other games, the Lakers (not surprisingly) dropped a road game to the Nuggets but still lead 2-1 in that series. The Celtics had a tough time of it, but they still beat the Hawks and are also up 2-1 over Atlanta.

Saturday's NBA Playoff schedule brings us four games:

Indiana Pacers at Orlando Magic at 2:00 p.m. ET / 11:00 p.m. PT on ESPN

The Pacers will continue to roll. Watch this game if you must (or if you are related to one of the participants) but otherwise, use this time to take care of your weekend chores.

Memphis Grizzlies at Los Angeles Clippers at 4:30 p.m. ET / 1:30 p.m. PT on ESPN

This is the game to watch. A lot of people think the Grizzlies have a legitimate chance at coming out of the West. If that's true, they are going to need to do what the Thunder did and take care of business on the road. This series has also gotten chippy already so when you combine that with the talent on the floor, this could be fun.

Oklahoma City Thunder at Dallas Mavericks at 7:30 p.m. ET / 4:30 p.m. PT on TNT

The Thunder are up 3-0 in this series. I would be a bit surprised to see them close out on the road, but you never know.

San Antonio Spurs at Utah Jazz at 10:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. on TNT

The Spurs will (likely) lose one of their next two road games before winning this series in five games. Will it be this one or the next one? Tune in to find out. Or just read a recap somewhere, either way.

For more NBA Playoff coverage, visit SB Nation's NBA hub.

Check out the SB Nation Channel on YouTube

Join the ValleyoftheSuns team as we wrap up the 2011-12 season and look ahead to the offseason. Bring questions!

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"The burden for the ring won't be on your shoulders alone, young hobbit. We shall create a Fellowship of the Ring, Nine Walkers to go forth 'gainst the Nine Black Riders!" intoned that great elf-lord of nobility, he of the Elvin Gentry.

The young hobbit, little Stevo Nashins, his hair a disheveled mop after the arduous trek through the West, stood with head bowed, but an eager and determined gleam in his eye. "And what warriors would you send with me on this most perilous journey?"

"One of the Fair Ones, he from the FO, will declare who your mighty companions shalt be," stated the elf-lord, gesturing to a figure emerging from behind a far curtain.

"W-w-w-we will send some twuly gweat helpahs wif you, huh, huh, huh, huh," lisped the new speaker, a short Elmer Fudd wook-a-wike, er, look-a-like. "I will let Coach tell you."

Stevo's enthusiasm faltered at the sound of the buffoonish cartoonish character before him, but his heart stood firmly determined to battle on with whomever would walk beside him.

"Your first companions on this quest shall be an elvish long range archer, a war hammer-wielding dwarf, and this deadly canine," spoke the elf-lord, pointing to the three characters to step forward.

"What?" spake Stevo. "You mean this elvish fry-cook whose aim is questionable, this towering dwarf who had to have the faceguard of his helm modified to allow for his nose and whose handle of his war hammer is so long that it could be called 'pole-ish,' and this junkyard dog? Oh, well, I guess every band of warriors needs some second rank fighters."

"No, these will be in your first rank."

"But what of that fierce Gondorian swordsman, Boramar'e? Mighty were his sinews and prodigious were his thrusts!" exclaimed Stevo.

"Well, he turned traitor and went off to the big city of miNYs tirith to be the Man and get a Ring of his own, but he sliced open his own hand practicing his swordplay on a candle snuffer, I hear tell. It's unclear how could cut his own swordhand, but he was ever a fierce fighter."

"No, you don't get him, but here, take another hobbit on the trip!"

"What about some kind of wizard who can defend all manner of foemen?" posited Stevo.

"Er, no, we got nobody like that. How about having another hobbit?"

"There was that young Dragon from a far off land, who flamed fearsomely against the black and sable enemy of Saint Antonio a while back, burning them to the ground. What of him?" inquired Stevo.

"Oh, he was traded for a babbling brook that drifted off over the sea. Here's another hobbit to take along."

"My precious, my precious," croaked the new little brown creature.

"He's a hobbit? Why is he just clutching that rock and not sharing it with anyone?"

"That's just what he does. Look, Stevo, times have been really rough here in MiddleDesert. Hoards of treasure just don't grow on trees. We had to hock your mithril mail, and we sold your sword, Sting. But, you can wear this!"

"It's a hat..."

"It's a cap, and there's lots of space in there that will really help further down the road."

Stevo adjusted the straps of his backpack, and with a look of grim determination, once again set out on the quest for the Ring...


Meanwhile, in the next valley over, Aragorn was sharpening his sword to a razor edge, and Gandalf was honing his powers of fire and lightning, as these two agents of the Free Peoples prepared to pledge troth with Stevo in the valley of the sun, and join his search, to bring the Ring home...

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