Markieff Morris was drafted 13th overall in the 2011 NBA draft by the Suns. Morris had a solid rookie season averaging 7.4 points and 4.4 boards a game. Morris got off to a good start and even got a chance to start for the Suns for a 5 game stretch early on during the season; however it was clear he wasn’t ready for that jump as his averages dipped as a starter. Heading into this season Morris will probably play behind projected starting power forward Luis Scola. Morris is one of the few young talents the Suns have and is a valuable one. Morris showed toughness last year rebounding and defending; Morris is also very good outside shooter and shot nearly 35% from beyond the arc. So what should we expect of Markieff Morris during the 2012-2013 season?
1) What’s Markieff Morris ceiling?
– Look no further than LaMarcus Aldridge. Morris much like Aldridge during his earlier years struggles a bit in the post and relies too much on the jumper. Watching Morris play in the summer league was kind of odd despite his good overall play he failed to establish in the post against summer league players that’s a red flag. It’s clear at this point Morris needs to add more muscle, and if Morris spends a summer learning post moves under Hakeem Olajuwon certainly wouldn’t hurt. Morris has a great touch for a big man and fits the definition of the modern day “Face-up big”. With his ability to hit the outside shot, once he becomes a good scorer on the inside he’ll be a handful for any player to handle; just look at Aldridge. Keep in mind this means that’s the best he’ll probably ever be, but he does seem to have a lot of the same tools as Aldridge.
2) What’s Markieff Morris cellar?
– Well that guy is on the Suns, Channing Frye. Assuming if Morris refuses to put in work during off-seasons and becomes complacent with his game; that’s who he’ll become, Channing Frye. Morris seemed a lot like Frye’s doppelganger last year as he often just drifted out on the perimeter but he showed some flashes of a good inside game and ability to finish at the rim get it out for yourselves(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfhZx2rs65A). If Morris has proven to be a hard worker as it’s obvious he’s been working this off-season after watching him play at the summer league games. However if Morris sudden decides he’s good enough and he doesn’t need to work anymore, he may very well be the next Channing Frye.
3) What will be Markieff Morris’ role with the Suns this season?
– Markieff Morris will be relied upon to bring energy, scoring, defense and rebounding coming off the bench. Morris will most likely be a bench player for the most of the year unless an injury occurs or the Suns are out of the playoffs early April and Alvin Gentry may insert young players into the starting line-up so they can get more playing time.
4) How can Markieff Morris improve?
– Well first off he needs to improve his strength, watching him getting pushed step by step off the block by random no name players in the summer league was embarrassing. Morris also needs to work on his patient and decision making when he has the ball in the post or on the elbow, he often rushes into a move which usually leads to a bad shot or turnover. Lastly Markieff Morris needs to put in more effort into rebounding the ball as he ranked 50th among all power forwards in rebound rate.