In the midst of an thus-far disappointing start for the Phoenix Suns, there has been a ray of sunshine coming through the clouds.
Oh wait, I was supposed to stop the crappy pseudo-smart metaphorical ledes from popping up. I’ll refrain from doing that again.
Either way, my point remains: Most of the Suns have been consistently bad, some are consistently ok, then there’s Hakim “The Nightmarish Dream” and then there’s Markieff Morris.
I remember tweeting lesser twin jokes during the draft. I remember everyone else doing it too, and I can’t really blame myself or them. Most scouts said Marcus was the better Morris. Nearly everyone was convinced that if Marcus and Markieff are on the board, the former will be picked first. And yet, the Suns scouting staff made an unpopular decision, a decision that might’ve been the best drafting decision since…
Drafting Selling Marcin Gortat’s pick. Or selling Luol Deng’s pick, or selling Rajon Rondo’s pick… While I know that this was mostly a front office decision, the scouts were pretty good back then.
And then came the weaker decisions, Robin Lopez and Earl Clark both came in as high-potential, high-ceiling guys. Earl, of course, was a throw-in in the Orlando trade and Robin’s career highlight will probably be this years season debut, as he is consistently outplayed by a guy who barely got picked in his draft class.
And as everyone was expecting a disaster, another Front Office Flop™, the Suns somehow mustered up the guts to make a move that was seemingly bad.
I predicted that Marcus would have a better career than Markieff, who’d have a bit better rookie season. I never expected this “bit” to be the difference between the NBA and the D-League after six games of the regular season. I shall now hop on Zach Harper’s “predictions are stupid” bandwagon and ride off into the sunset while writing high praise for the young man.
Ok, let’s just analyze what happened here one by one for Markieff:
- Suns Draft Markieff
- NBA Lockout
- Some Charity Games
- Lockout Ends
- Training Camp
- Injury in Training Camp
- A Solid Preseason
- Mother of God this guy is a top 10 Rookie in this class
Training Camp and the preseason lasted 2 weeks in total, and this guy hasn’t tasted anything near NBA-level basketball on a position that moreso than the wings is based on strength and grit. And yet, among the tall trees of the NBA, he passed his first few tests with flying colours, emerging as the most efficient and consistent Sun in the early going.
While it’s true he easily gets in to foul trouble and his defence is a work in progress, his toughness and hustle are welcome additions to the rather (Gortat and Dudley aside) hustle-less Suns. And so, after 6 games I decided to find a historical comparison for a rookie year similar to ‘kieffs. Sure, this is a small sample size, but I have a weird feeling that rookies usually get better as the season goes on, especially if they’re not playing too much to start with. Conditioning might become an issue, but everything balances out in the hard workers. They may get tired, but they understand more… And so on.
Now, back to the historical comparison, as I said, by next week the comparison might change completely. And, of course, I’m not using pure stats but per36’s and rate stats to make my point, so if you say “this would be much worse if he really played that much minutes” I’ll say “sure, but still, those stats are fun, aren’t they?”.
Yes, I just compared his stats to a Suns legend, and even with this comparison, Markieff doesn’t really look all that bad, but now remember, take these inter-era comparisons with a grain of salt. Back in Barkley’s days, way more teams went to the post for their defensive needs. so his weaker defensive rating is right there. We also have to remember that Chuck played more minutes, so these might be considered moot points until Markieff gets 25+ per game. What is most impressive however, is the poise those stats indicate for Morris. His turnover percentage is below 10% (!) all while he still manages to drop 2 dimes per 36. He might not be quite the ball thief Barkley was, but Barkley wasn’t exactly always in control of the ball. at least that’s what I’m seeing here. And of course, Barkley never had Markieff’s range. And his surprising rage makes him an excellent all-around offensive option, even now.
Look, this is just fun. I’m not saying that Markieff is the next Barkley. And it’s not just because he’s not as small, and not as fat. In fact, I’m not saying anything but pointing out a little connection here, a connection that might be upheld or ripped to shreds throughout the rest of the season. Whatever the case, the message I’m trying to relay to you is:
“At least this time we got the right twin.
Oh, and also, my foot’s in my mouth right now, because he’s pretty damn good”