Grading the Markieff Morris pick

Markieff Morris will be a solid NBA pro, but the Suns needed to take a risk.

There’s no question the Phoenix Suns addressed some serious needs by drafting 6-foot-10 bruiser Markieff Morris with the 13th overall pick in Thursday’s draft.

The former Jayhawk brings toughness on the interior in the form of strong defensive rebounding, solid post and help defense along with a scrappiness Phoenix is missing.

Morris moves the Suns toward their goal of becoming a more defensive-minded team without altering their offensive attack thanks to his NBA range (42.4 percent from three last season).

The Philadelphia product also boasts a solid back-to-the-basket game and does a great job finishing around the basket.

So if you look at how Morris helps the ultra-soft Suns both offensively and defensively, it’s hard not to like the pick if you’re a Suns fan.

There aren’t many bad things to say about Markieff’s game and character, and there’s no doubt he’ll be right at home in Phoenix, especially since the Suns were No. 1 on his list.

But when you take into account the Suns’ situation as a franchise as well as who was still on the board at 13, the pick becomes questionable. The Suns are wavering between mediocrity and irrelevance and they needed someone who at least gives them a chance to rebuild for the future.

I get that Steve Nash can only play so much longer, and this team needs to get better in both the short term and long term. But the draft is where you get better in the long term. Markieff Morris isn’t going to bring this team back to the Western Conference Finals, just like Aaron Brooks wasn’t going to be the difference between playoffs and no playoffs last season.

A 21-year-old kid with a relatively low ceiling isn’t going to develop into the Suns’ go-to power forward before Nash expires, and that’s if he ever does at all. This was their chance to get better in the long term and add a young player with room to grow into a potential All-Star.

They needed to take a risk, and Markieff Morris may have been the least risky player in the draft. You know what you get with him, but you also know he’s probably never going to turn into a cornerstone.

Obviously you don’t usually get a cornerstone-type player with the 13th pick (especially in a weak draft). I get that, but the problem is that there were guys with potential to become something close still on the board.

Kawhi Leonard, who seemed destined for the top 10, fell right into the lap of the Suns, but like 14 other teams, they passed. Yes, Leonard is yet another small forward that the Suns don’t exactly need, but he’s a freakish athlete (6-foot-7 with a 7-foot-3 wingspan), a great defender and rebounder, and an extremely hard worker with a good motor.

His offensive game needs a lot of work, but he’s the type of player the Suns needed to take a risk on. Even Markieff’s twin brother Marcus has a brighter future in the NBA due to his diverse skill-set. I might have even taken the upside of an Iman Shumpert over Markieff’s instant impact.

Markieff is very good at what he does and will be rotation player in the NBA for a decade plus, but he’ll never be a game-changer, which is exactly what the Suns needed.

There’s no doubt Markieff fits the system and will make an impact as early as next season. He’s a high-character, mature kid who’s NBA ready and enthused about being in Phoenix.

But I would have liked to see the Suns swing for the fences during a time where change is necessary. Because of that, I give Lance Blanks, Lon Babby and John Treloar a B- in their first draft as the Phoenix Suns’ front office.

Final Grade: B-

Tags: Markieff Morris

  • Markus

    In the NBA, teams who are running in the middle of the pack (6-10 seeds, give or take a team or two) generally need to be aggressive in order to move into the upper echelon.

    When the Suns lost Amar’e Stoudemire, they instantly developed a need to find someone who can create their own shot late in games. Markieff Morris will never be that player. At best, he’s a spot-up shooter in transition and will hopefully produce more efficiently in the post than Robin Lopez, but he’s never going to be anything like STAT.

    Derrick Williams, on the other hand, seems like a slightly smaller version of Amar’e whose shooting stroke doesn’t break down past 18 feet. I would be happier if the front office would just acknowledge that this roster isn’t going to get it done and shop some of these assets. Gortat, Lopez, Pietrus, Vinsanity’s ghost, and (don’t crucify me for saying it) Steve Nash; these are all excellent trade bait that could have moved us up into the lottery and netted an exciting player who is also a long-term solution.

    Even if it means writing off the playoffs for a season or two, at least there would be hope for the future. Right now, the franchise is heading in the wrong direction. I would trade our roster for that of the Clippers any day; their future is exponentially brighter than ours.

  • dwight Meredith

    The way that good organizations build teams is piece by piece. I think Morris is a nice piece. If y0u get 10+ years of good play from a four drafted towards the end of the lottery, that is a huge win.

    Swinging for the fences often results in strikeouts. That said, I would have picked Leonard because I think he gives you 10+ years of solid play as a defensive oriented 3, with the upside of a lot, lot more.

    I don’t think the Suns used a bad strategy, I just think they mis-evaluated. But, of course, what do I know?

  • Troy

    There was not even a relatively high-percentage “swing-for-the-fences” pick in this epic fail of a draft. Kawhi Leonard is “swinging for the fences” at an almost guaranteed change-up (to keep the analogy alive). Face it – Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams are not even guaranteed home runs. They would have been low lottery picks at best in most other years.

    Striking out with that sort of a pick (Kawhi Leonard) would result in even more vitriol directed toward the Suns’ front office when it comes to “inept draft picks.” (Can you say “Earl Clark”?)

    Next year’s draft will be much different. The pool will be exponentially deeper, and as a result the Suns will have much more to gain by attempting to trade up or even “swinging for the fences” with another low lottery pick. They’ll also have far more flexibility at that point to go after a go-to guy in free agency if they decide to go that route.

    As Michael said, Markieff is a solid NBA role player in the making who will be a productive rotation player for years to come. This was NOT the off-season to try to “swing for the fences.” With all of the above taken into consideration, they got this one right. Grade of A.

    P.S. I’m getting sick and tired about hearing about how a team has to tank it to be crummy for a few years in order to get better. Ask the Clippers how that’s turned out for them. Or the T’Wolves. They have a lottery pick EVERY SINGLE YEAR, and how’s that working out for them so far? Please. Building for the future while not completely sacrificing the present can be done. It’s tricky and difficult, but it can be done. To say the Clippers’ future is “exponentially brighter than ours” is just absurd. If the Suns tanked, you guys crying about their present mediocrity would be the first ones to (continue to) bash management. Steve Nash has said it over and over again in relation to staying in PHX – there are never any guarantees; only one team wins it all. “Tanking” or “starting over” (i.e., giving away a superstar for pennies on the dollar in the desperate hope of future draft lottery success) guarantees NOTHING for the future. Let them be as competitive as is realistically possible in the present while trying to plan for the future simultaneously. It’s simply good business all the way around.

  • Steve

    Saying Williams and Irving would have been low lottery picks in any other years is completely and totally subjective. Williams line? 19.5/8.3 on 60% shooting with the ability to create and finish at an NBA level. You’re telling me there are ten other guys like him in most other years?

    In three more years, we can say that this was a terrible draft class. But for all we know right now, Jordan Hamilton could turn out to be the next Sean Elliot. Irving could be the next Kevin Johnson. Leonard could turn out to be ….

    You could go on and on with what guys might or might not be, but they’re all guesses. If you guys want to keep calling this draft weak, that’s fine, but you better be willing to publicly eat all the crow in the world when Jan Vesely goes AK47 2.0, takes the league by storm, then completely disappears off the face of the planet while leaching $100M from whatever poor sucker signed him.

    If your argument is that next draft class is going to be so much better, then why not swing for the fences now? If we hit it, great. If we miss, we’ll get a “better” pick next year in a “better” draft. Btw, I would argue that the field next year is exponentially deeper… by the exponent of one.

    Donald Sterling has no intention of being good. He only intends to make as much money as possible. He doesn’t try to rebuild for the sake of winning. He just tries to stay profitable. Minny doesn’t have a CLUE what they’re doing. I think they’re honestly trying to get better, but the clowns running that organization might be worse than Isiah Thomas. Those two examples are terrible examples of rebuilding.

    I agree that we shouldn’t tank, but your take is extremely narrow-minded. Tanking works for a lot of teams, whether they do it intentionally of if it’s just by unfortunate happenings. Ask Cleveland (pre-Decision) or OKC. Tanking can be good. How about Orlando? Or what about SA?

    Now, I’m going to acknowledge this is an opinion instead of saying everyone who disagrees with me is wrong. The Suns should have swung for the fences if they want to keep Nash and Gortat for this season (or after). If they tanked, the hope of the lottery might be enough to make them stick around (if management truly wants to keep them). If they hit, we might be good enough to win some games this year, make a splash, and keep them around. Nothing boosts morale like winning. As it stands, Markieff is not going to boost the current roster far into the playoffs. As it stands, we’ll be a 6-seed at best, ousted by the likes of OKC, DAL, or SA, Steve Nash will go to a contender, and we will be left with nothing in return for a Two-Time MVP. That isn’t business-savvy. That’s suicide. You can go ahead and praise our talent evaluators that believed an overpaid Aaron Brooks was worth Dragic AND a pick and say they got Markieff. But I’ll choose to believe that if they were idiots then, they’re still idiots now.

  • Markus

    LA only just recently started to avoid boneheaded moves, while Minnesota is still striking out with every transaction. They’re not the examples to look toward for a complete rebuild. Look at the teams with competent GMs who’ve pulled it off; teams like OKC, who turned a few draft picks into a long-term contender. Look at Memphis. Even Dallas can serve as a decent model of a team who started with a great single talent in Nowitzki and then collected the pieces to make it all work.

    The sad truth is that Phoenix just doesn’t have that guy anymore. Amar’e was that guy, and a combination of injuries, suspensions, bad trades, failure to re-sign good players, and so on spoiled the opportunity. Collecting solid pieces to build the franchise is all well and good, but you have to have someone to build around first.

  • Rich Anthony, (KJL)

    Okay wait.

    @ Troy – some advice, NEVER EVER EVER use the Clippers as an example of teams being bad year after year.

    Their owner is fine putting up a terrible product in terms of on-court performance and success because he is making a KILLING in the Los Angeles market. He doesn’t really care if the team goes deep into the playoffs or not.

    He keeps it low, does his best to draft sick youngsters, use the hell out of them for all the revenue they bring in, (Blake currently, DAJ as well), and then when it’s time to pay he lets them go.

    The Wolves are another bad example because their GM is just terrible. Did you see how their draft went this year? Trade down after trade down after trade down and after all of that, they didn’t end up with much outside of the #2 pick and some cash to pay Rambis.

    I’ve been very critical of Morris but in reality, this was a “role player” draft and it was DEEP in such players.

    The problem is that this guy, the way we play on the court, is something we already have. In a way, that’s a good thing if he is coming off of the bench because you’re trying to “mirror image” the way the bench mob to the starters in terms of game flow. That’s why the bench mob was so great 2 years ago.

    But, if that’s the case, then you can’t really expect him to be some rebounding beast on his own can you? RoLo will not be helping him off the bench.

    **Actually, if he plays 5 and Lawal plays the 4 with Warrick mixed in… **

    Problem is, this pick doesn’t help Nash in any way with the starters. That leads me to believe that the Suns are going to swing for the fences with a free agent.

    Utah’s draft seems to mean that Milsap is definitely available.

    Golden State’s draft definitely means that Ellis is available.

    Minnesota’s draft seems to mean that Beasley is available.

    Iggy IS available.

    Any of those scenarios probably mean that if PHX gets involved with any of them, then we’re doing it by bowing out of the 2012 draft which is going to be freaking insane because, barring Nash or Gortat(*), we’re going to have to package a 2012 pick with whatever we offer to get back a stud.

    * In no way should we trade Gortat. EVERY BODY ELSE, but not Gortat.

  • Markus

    And just to clarify, I think Morris is a safe and smart pick if you’re a team trying to find a consistent, reliable roleplayer to get you over the hump. Unfortunately, the current roster is so far from the hump that they really needed to do better.

    Morris should be a solid guy and I like both his game and character, but I’d still rather see the team accept a year or two of growth and development for a legitimate superstar prospect than continue to piece together the Steve Nashmobile with bailing wire and duct tape.

  • Markus

    And at the risk of filling up the comment board all by myself, let me also point out that the Collective Bargaining Agreement situation is primed for an absolute disaster. Unless you’re absolutely certain you can go deep into the playoffs in Nash’s last year, why wouldn’t you take advantage of what can easily be a wasted lockout season, anyway?

  • Troy

    The draft is inherently risky, of course. My only point was that this was not the year to take that big risk. Not with what was out there. There are years (and next year may very well be one of them) where the risk is mitigated by the guys who are available. Say what you will – it is WAY too risky to trade a bona fide star (or even a solid role player) for a draft pick that MAY be the next Sean Elliott or Kevin Johnson – but has every bit as much chance of being the next Darko Milicic. Or Kwame Brown. Or Greg Oden. Or Adam Morrison. Or Sam Bowie. Or…and the list goes on and on and on. To take the gamble of trading a known quantity for an unknown, the risk has to be mitigated somewhat by a greater possibility for return on the investment. There were no “high-probability” superstars in this draft. Even the most optimistic projections on Williams (numbers, NBA-readiness, and all) have him as a bona-fide all-star, but not a LeBron James, Kevin Durant, franchise-saving superstar. Same with Irving.

    Likewise, it’s too risky (in my opinion) to “swing for the fences” when you KNOW you need serious help in an area that you KNOW a particular player available to you at your draft spot can help you with when the probability of a franchise guy being out there is EXTREMELY low. (Kawhi Leonard? Come on.)

    Not sure I follow your logic with “keeping Steve and Gortat around.” Steve has already expressed interest in signing a contract extension to play two more years beyond this next one. Gortat is under contract for several more years. He also texted Lon Babby (and tweeted) regarding how excited he was to get some help underneath the rim and add the toughness, defense, and rebounding the teams lacks down low. So if Markieff produces like we all expect he will, he will be a very solid piece for the future. Not THE piece – A piece. We all know they need to pursue another go-to scorer (probably a 2) and resolve the “PG of the future” situation. And it may be next year (draft, trades, free agency) before they can realistically do that. In the meantime, they likely have a solid starting PF and C locked up for the foreseeable future.

    I also don’t follow your saying you agree that the Suns shouldn’t tank, but then following that up by giving examples of where “tanking” (ostensibly) worked. (CLE, SEA/OKC, ORL, SA) Either they should trade away proven solid talent for pennies on the dollar in the hopes of getting a high lottery pick the following year, or they shouldn’t. Either they should take a risk and draft a guy who will be the fifth small forward on the roster and who only really has “upside” to show for it, or they should draft the better-known quantity who fills a true need. As I’ve already laid out, I think it made much more sense to do that latter this year.

    I sure didn’t call the Suns’ brass “idiots” for the trades they made this year. Not sure where that came from. The trade bringing us Gortat and unloading Hedo’s contract was genius. They themselves acknowledged that the Brooks deal was risky – a move made with the hopes that it could push them into the playoffs.

    Were you one of the guys who bashed Amar’e for his lack of defense, rebounding, and inability to “show up” in big games while he was here? (Honest question – I have no clue) Because if so, you then forfeit the right to then call him “that guy” once he’s gone. He was a franchise-type player, no doubt. But clearly the Suns rode that horse as far as it was going to take them. They simply were not going to win a championship with him as their franchise guy. No reason to pay him what the Knicks did (and uninsured at that) when you already know that. And getting “someone to build around” was not going to happen from this draft.

    LA’s recent “avoidance of boneheaded moves” still isn’t working for them. They only won 32 games this year (even with Blake Griffin) remember? And they made it to the conference semi-finals only 5 or 6 years ago, you may recall. So the jury is definitely still out as to whether or not they’re headed in the right direction yet.

    Dallas? They signed Erick Dampier to a grossly inflated contract at one point to try to add “that guy,” remember? And they still haven’t built through the draft – their complementary pieces have come almost exclusively through trades and free agency. (Kidd, Terry, Marion, Haywood, Butler, Chandler, Stevenson) And they NEVER tanked. Even after Steve Nash left. They’ve been in the playoffs nearly every year (if not every year) since then. Sure, they had their fair share of playoff disappointments, but that’s not the point. The point is they didn’t “tank and rebuild.” They made every effort to remain as competitive as possible while still building for the future. In fact, they’re a GREAT example of exactly what I was talking about.

  • Steve

    @Troy – I’m not sure what you’re not understanding.

    1. We all know how meaningless promises are. I think Nash wants to stay as much as I think Kim kardashian’s marriage will last.

    2. Giving examples that tanking can work doesn’t mean it’s the only way. It was just to show you that you were hastily generalizing when you pointed out the failures of two perpetually bad failures as if that is the result of tanking.

    3. I also didn’t say you said anything about management. That’s just a fact. There was NO logical reason to make the Brooks trade.

  • Josh

    I have the same feelings as Troy when it comes to misguided people constantly obsessing about the future and saying teams like the Clippers are on the right track because they are thinking three years ahead. So many teams have been “building for the future” in perpetuity. The Suns biggest mistake was letting Amare go because they were concerned he would be a lesser player four or five years into his contract. Now that is beautiful forward thinking (not really). The Suns could not replace him with three role players last year and they could not replace him with the 13th pick of a weak draft. The Suns players have a chance to improve this year for the future and play good basketball at the same time. Steve Nash has at least a couple more awesome years in him so as long as they don’t trade him to think about the future, the Suns will be worth watching. Besides, does anyone really believe the Suns would get a star future player for Nash who actually wouldn’t be a great fit for many teams in the league who are already good enough to consider him. At most, the Suns could get an aging star in the mold of Carter and another 13th pick in a future draft, yipee. The Suns did fine with this draft pick, he will fit now and perhaps be helpful in the future, we shall see.

  • Rich Anthony, (KJL)

    You can’t use Dallas as an example either because they are basically the Suns from 3 – 4 years ago with the only difference being that they snuck a championship in and the Suns didn’t.

    PHX simply cannot do what DAL has been doing the last 3 years anymore because Dirk is still that guy who can attract players and at the same time, carry those players. Nash isn’t that guy anymore.

    That simple truth is why I have been begging the Suns to trade Nash. Not because I hate him in any way really, he’s my 3rd most beloved Sun behind Barkley and KJ.

    He is that General you need next to the Emperor, but he isn’t the Emperor anymore. That being the case, you simply can’t try to build a contender through free agency alone because he won’t be around long enough for a championship to manifest.

    As it stands now, the Suns aren’t in position to use the team strategy you suggest, and they aren’t in position to quickly build a team through the draft.

    Instead, they are option C. The pre-SSOL year or, the Miami Heat of last year.

    They have to be the destination team right now. A team built up enough so a stud looks in on it and thinks: “Hmm, you know if I went there, we’re battling for championships for at least 5 years.”

    You can blow it all up without becoming the Wizards or the Pacers, but you have to trade for guys and draft guys who, with one superstar free agent, can go fight for a championship.

    I mean seriously. Consider this team, right now, if they did send Nash to ORL or POR or MIA. That’s a guaranteed 2012 draft pick, (or 2 as one of those destination teams go scrambling around to find a sweetener for the deal). You also have the funds / players to bring somebody like Iggy or Milsap back. You also have some sexy core players in an expanding Gortat, 2 stretch big men, defensive minded wings, (one of those with a nice jump shot), and plenty of reserve big men and the chips needed to land one or two sensational rookies in 2012 because that draft is straight ill.

    Monsters like D12, CP3, DWill look at that then weigh it against their current teams or other options out there, and now you’re chasing titles again just like when Nash decided to come back.

    He would have never come back to the valley if we didn’t have JJ, Matrix, STAT, and the role players that were in house at the time.

    Sadly, as long as Nash is around none of that is possible and the longer he hangs around, if his production dips so does his value, and if he retires here, then we really will be building it from the ground up.

  • Markus

    Did I ever say tank? I said trade assets for better picks. Particularly assets with highly questionable future value, like Steve Nash. A huge fire sale to dump contracts and acquire free agents is precisely not what I’m talking about.

    I absolutely loved everything that Amar’e brought to Phoenix when he played here, so no, I wasn’t one of “those guys.” Saying that the Suns rode Amar’e to his peak potential doesn’t seem correct, either, considering that they let go of him immediately after taking the eventual champions to the brink in the Conference Finals. THAT was the time to build the team by collecting a few more pieces. There aren’t any guys on the current roster who can create for themselves like every championship team has had for years.

  • Keith

    Completely agree with Troy. Great posts, man. I was thinking the same thing earlier, that most of the teams that are good every year have not done it in the draft but in trades and free agency, with Lakers and Dallas being two of the best examples, as well as Boston. Anyway, I absolutely believe that Steve Nash is as loyal as he says he is and wants to retire a Sun. And if he wants that, there is no way I trade him. I will gladly ride that horse into the sunset for everything he has given us. We’ll have plenty of time to be good again.

  • Markus

    The Lakers acquired Kobe Bryant through a draft trade. Dallas acquired Dirk Nowitzki through a draft trade. Boston acquired Paul Pierce through the draft. Chicago drafted D-Rose. San Antonio drafted Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker. OKC drafted Kevin Durant. Seriously, name me an elite team right now that didn’t acquire their marquee player through the draft. And don’t say Miami; D-Wade is clearly the better playoff performer until further notice, and he already won them a title.

  • Fsarver

    The truth is that the front office has screwed up so many times over the years that they can’t afford any more risky draft picks – the safe pick is how they’re trying to save their faces.

  • Rich Anthony, (KJL)

    You guys keep saying the same things but those things are wrong.

    Using Dallas, LAL, and Boston as examples are wrong in the way you guys are trying to explain the situation for those teams.

    DALLAS – Got Dirk as a rookie, and then tried to OKC their way to a championship. That route didn’t work. They then shifted to plan B, which is to use a monster they found and groomed to attract more talent.

    That can no longer be the way to do things in PHX. Nash isn’t that “honey” for super bees to come flocking to.

    LAL got Kobe as a rookie, BUT they used SHAQ as the honey for the bees. When Shaq was bounced, they tried to draft talent to build with Kobe. It didn’t work and they too went with plan B, (again), this time using Kobe to attract players like Gasol and Odom.

    Again, that comparison is invalid in the valley. Nash isn’t that sort of driving force that will be around for another 5 years.

    BOSTON: Pierce was drafted, (see the theme?), and again they tried to add with youth like OKC, then they blew it all up and I mean, they tore it down**

    ** NOTE: You guys have to be careful with what you say, because in reality, Boston did destroy everything while keeping Paul Pierce and sucking for 2 consecutive years while building through the draft.

    They then went with Plan C, (the plan I have been saying the Suns need to take since the end of the WCF run).

    They cut all the fat, kept Pierce and that youth, and attracted Kevin Garnett AFTER FIRST attracting and securing Ray Allen.

    They went there, to join Pierce, because the potential of that team with the right mix of YOUTH and VETERAN leadership would contend for a title for around 5 years.

    Guess what happened in Boston? Yep.

    That is the plan the Suns need to follow.
    They can’t build through the draft with their current crop of players because it simply doesn’t fit with the direction of the team right now.
    They can’t attract veterans because A), they don’t have the funds [that are currently tied up in payments to players that fit a Nash driven system] and they don’t have that “honey” to attract such players who would be willing to come in and go to battle with said “honey pot” for the next 5 years.

    For a quick turnaround, you must Drop Nash now, (won’t happen), bring in a nice nice NICE free agent, stockpile draft picks for a potentially EPIC draft class, put a cute little wrapping ribbon on it, and attract that in-prime stud so you can get right back into things for the next half decade.

    That’s how we got to the SSOL era, and now it’s are best formula for quick success again.

  • Steve

    I’ll say just one more thing. I don’t think anyone here would realistically give the Suns a poor grade for this draft based on the projected success of Markieff. I think he’s going to be contributing fairly well in the NBA for 8+ years. What I’m upset about is that we seem content with adding just one person who might be a mild contributor. The front office sitting on their hands doing nothing tells me they’re simply delusional in thinking this roster is any good. There WILL be players drafted after Markieff that will be better than him, and I won’t be surprised if names like Leonard, Hamilton, the other Morris, Faried, Brooks, and Motiejunas are included in that list of players. We couldn’t even TRY to better ourselves?

    Maybe they’re just waiting for the new CBA to make some deals. I don’t know. That’s the only thing that actually makes sense to me. But since it makes sense, I highly doubt that’s what their plan actually is. I can’t think of many moves that make sense in the past five years.

  • Rich Anthony, (KJL)

    You almost have to wait for the CBA to try to swing some major things if you didn’t have something you wanted at the draft.

    I mean, a RFA right now might be a 100% FA post-CBA, so that alone is going to save you some assets.

    I don’t think, by any means, PHX is done making moves. This roster doesn’t yet reflect the objectives proclaimed by the front office.

  • Evan

    Im telling you this is Robin Lopez all over again, both were the more Defensive minded of their twins. Defense is more about team mind set and coaching, than talent. Both of their brothers are more skilled in total then they are and will make (or have made) better pros.

  • Keith

    Agreed with Rich on the last point. I think they have been trying hard. Nothing worthwhile presented itself during the draft. There’s plenty of time for more deals, and more clarity on the next CBA will prompt a flurry of activity throughout the league, including with us.

  • GoSuns

    I think what suns fans and management fail to realize is there is a reason why amare was not asked to sign a contract worth the money he got in ny and that is because he was not a leader and clutch performer here in phx. He might develop that some day in ny like dirk did in dal but he did not have the desire so why try to replace him.Figure out our own way of building cause all he did was play the somewhat loyal character that can will a team to the playoffs his last year and teams and that gained him interest from plenty of teams. We need players with the desire to lead, play defense, and work towards a better future

  • Zak

    Just one comment on Dallas. They also have an owner who doesn’t hesitate to go far over the salary cap and deep into the luxury tax range for his team. That will never happen in Phoenix with the present owner.

    And he won’t trade Nash because he’s still the main guy who puts fans in the seats at the home games.

    One way or another VC is going to be gone before the season starts (hopefully on schedule!) which will open up a lot of cap space for obtaining some good free agents. The free agent market is pretty weak this year too – compared to last year – but there will be some very good players available which could help the team back into the playoffs.

    That being said, I do agree that the Suns are eventually going have to just get lucky in the draft or have a really bad year and get a high pick in a strong draft year to get their next “star” player. And who knows… maybe this season the Suns will finish about the same as they did last season, wind up with the 13th pick again in next year’s draft and get that future star next year since it should be a stronger draft year.

  • auggie5000

    Can we stop talking about Amar’e? He plays for the Knicks.

    Go Suns.

    BTW, I never liked Monta Ellis, but I think he is exactly what the Suns need right now. He is a flat out scorer and that is what the Suns lacked last season.

  • Cam

    I say no on obtaining Monta Ellis. He is very inefficient. I haven’t watched him allot but unless he is willing to play off the ball while Nash runs the pick and roll I don’t think he will fit. He also plays no D. I don’t think two undersized players in the back court will help the Suns at all. The Suns need a strong, physical, slasher type of SG to complement the spacing and 3 point shooting of the Suns. Monta has the speed to be that slasher but I don’t think he has the size to help the Suns in the half-court set or on the defensive end. I am more a proponent of trading for Andre Iguodala. With his defense, his ability to guard two spots, and his ability to slash, he would fit well IMHO. Go Suns.

  • Earl

    Come on lets all be realistic. We could make a trade or two and pick up a couple of good free agents and be in the finals in a heartbeat. All we have to do is spend money. There are two types of team owners in the NBA – those that want to make money and those that want to win. We all know where Sarver falls and as long as he is here we will not be winning any championships. It is sad but true.

  • Zak

    Well said, Earl. Sarver just isn’t willing to spend the money to get Phoenix a championship team. While he’s the owner, we have to rely on the players we have playing at or above their absolute best and plain old luck.

    I also agree with auggie5000. Stat’s gone. Whether it was a good or bad decision is still up in the air. Yes, it was a bad decision to let him go for THIS season. Last thing I heard was that he’s still having back problems from an injury during his last playoff series with NY. I love Stat and hope he has a long and great career in the NBA but who knows what twists and turns his career will take from here on. Stat wanted a max salary guaranteed contract even though he had had some injury problems here in Phoenix. NY offered him that. The Suns didn’t. I really hope – for his sake – that he proves that the Suns made a big mistake… but I still think that NY may come to regret the big contract they gave him one day.

  • luis

    i say da suns jst go and trade everyone they can for next years draft picks since itsgonna be loaded with all star talent

  • J F

    I really wish the suns drafted me. Nash would be a great mentor.

  • Steve

    “We could make a trade or two and pick up a couple of good free agents and be in the finals in a heartbeat.”

    I completely agree… if we traded Steve Nash and Marcin Gortat for Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, and Kevin Durant.

    We don’t have a superstar, and we don’t play defense. Tell me how a team like that is going to win the Finals.

    All you people keep on saying Sarver needs to spend money, Sarver needs to spend money, Sarver needs to spend money… Do you not realize he’s been paying the luxury tax for pretty much his entire tenure? He doesn’t even have cap space for next season. Some people keep mentioning a bunch of cap space opening up when Vince is bought out/traded, but not even that is true. The Suns don’t have money under the cap to work with.

    I don’t know where people get all of these ill-conceived ideas. They’re certainly not getting it from the well-informed staff here at VotS. I doubt they’re getting it from the Republic. I wouldn’t doubt it if they’re getting it from KTAR or ESPN (not truehoop, mainstream ESPN). I know quite a few of the folks down at KTAR, and it really makes me question how they get paid to give their opinions on sports.

    Fact, the Suns are nowhere NEAR being a Finals team. They weren’t even near being a PLAYOFF team this year. Fact, Sarver is not the cheapest owner in the world. He’s not even close to that. He’s middle-of-the-pack. When it’s your $65M you’re spending on salaries on an annual basis (luxury tax and all), you can go ahead and tell me you could afford more than that. But until it’s your money and you actually spend more, let’s just stick to the facts. Robert Sarver spends average to slightly-above-average for an NBA owner. Arguing whether or not he’s SMART with his money, that’s an entirely different thing.

    I appreciate and understand the optimism, but I expect this season to be more of the same from last season than something along the lines of 2004-2005.

  • luis

    steve u may be right but he doesnt no how to spend it correctly and they also dont let there young players developed before they are traded or are not sign look at how many suns drafted players they have and there roseter they are lopez, lawal, and morris i dont count nash in becasue he was release and then came back with them so he was lak a freeagent signee and the front officeforthe suns suck they cant draft, overpay the players in free agnecy and cant trade toget better once nash retires the suns aregoing to become the clippers of the league in other words the worst team in da nba

  • Z


  • Evan

    Ok looking forward, we now have 2 quality big men (Gortat and Frye) one Potentially good Big man in Morris, if we bring back Hill, we would have him and Dudley, as quality Defensive oriented wing players. Nash will keep it all together, and Brooks can add a spark off the bench. We can loose everyone else in trades to get better players. Its clear with drafting Morris that we will not have warrick next season. Not sure how Ellis would fit in with this team both in terms of style and personality. But we need at lest 1 good shooting guard and 1 more big man, how ever we get it, Tyson Chandler, Nene, DeShawn Stevenson, JR Smith, Big Baby Davis, Nazr Mohammed, Michel Redd, and Jason Richardson are all Free agents this years so there are some options.

  • Markus

    Sarver doesn’t need to spend more money; he needs to spend his money more intelligently. Signing Josh Childress to his current contract just isn’t smart spending. Frye’s contract isn’t so great, either. At least he had the good sense to dump Turkoglu’s money-sink.

    The only thing that can redeem the Suns’ front office in this offseason is to avoid overpaying Aaron Brooks, and get rid of Carter’s contract (preferably as a trade chip for a player like Andre Iguodala).

    Acquiring Monta Ellis would be a horrible mistake both from a basketball standpoint (volume scorers who don’t play defense solve no problems for us) and in terms of public relations; Ellis is a horrible character guy who in no way reflects the spirit of professional athletes on Phoenix teams.

  • Pingback: Grading Markieff Morris the Role Player | Madhouse Hoops

  • Madhouse Hoops

    In reply to the original article, “Grading the Markieff Morris pick”.

    According to the draft system “Ranking Draft Prospects by Tiers” (, Kawhi Leonard averaged out as a Tier 3 player and Markieff Morris a Tier 5.

    In John Hollinger’s draft rater (, Morris was listed 27th and Leonard 5th.

    By those two accounts, a B- grade of the Markieff Morris draft pick is very generous. The selection was initially a huge disappointment for me. I, too, wanted the Suns to swing for the fences or simply take someone other than the lesser of two twins. Taylor Griffin and Robin Lopez have been enough.

    Marcus is certainly the more skilled of the Morris twins, but Markieff easily fits into the grand scheme of a basketball team, especially a team of the Suns ilk ( who lack interior defense (29th overall points allowed per game) and rebounding (23rd in rebounds per game). While Daryl Morey, GM of Houston, has a knack for spotting talent (the Rockets chose Marcus one pick after the Suns selected Markieff), I believe the Suns acquired the best player for their team. Markieff may not lead Phoenix; however, teams do not win without players like him — to use a popular cliche, someone has to do the ‘dirty work’..

    With that said, I definitely consider Markieff the right pick for the Suns over Marcus. And in a very weak draft class, there were not a whole lot of other players (except possibly Leonard) who were worth the gamble of passing up on a more sure bet in the former Kansas power forward. As a bonus, Morris’s outside shooting range, along with his other qualities, make him an excellent backup to Channing Frye right away. The significance in a surplus of quality big man cannot be underestimated.

    For an organization trying to bridge the gap between winning now and building for the future, Morris adds an instant impact, and going forward solidifies a core of upfront players, including Marcin Gortat (27), Robin Lopez (23), and Frye (28). Star players receive all the attention, and the Derrick Fishers, Robert Horrys, and now even the Brian Cardinals of the world help teams win championships. Grading Markieff Morris in candor must account for the value of a role player.

  • Markus

    I certainly agree that someone has to be down in the trenches (doing the so-called ‘dirty work’) in order for a team to win championships, but Phoenix has a roster full of those guys. Markieff certainly fills a hole and was probably the correct pick; only time will tell if Leonard pans out, but there just has to be something more if the Suns are going to distance themselves from four or five other teams vying for the last few playoff spots. And really, even if Phoenix can do that, is the 8-seed and a first-round exit really where this team wants to be?