On February 20th, 2013, Suns forward Markieff Morris received the exciting news that his identical twin Marcus would be joining him on the Suns roster. Marcus was a deadline trade the Suns made with the Houston Rockets, giving up only a second-round pick for the 6’9″ forward from Kansas.
His first half-season as a Sun, he struggled immensely. Marcus averaged 5.7 points and 2.5 rebounds per game while shooting 40.8 percent from the floor. By the end of 2013, head coach Lindsey Hunter was barely playing him at all.
Well, what a difference a season makes. This season, Marcus is averaging 10.1 points and 4.0 rebounds per game while shooting 45 percent from the field. His contribution to the Suns surprisingly successful season has been major, because he is a versatile scorer off the bench. His ability to hit jump shots in important to an offense with point guards based around slashing and driving to the rim. His rebounding has clearly improved and his confidence is far greater than it once was. On a Suns’ team where any one player can almost take over a game on any given night, Marcus is a very useful tool.
That said, he of course isn’t perfect. His biggest flaw is defense. He’s not the best defender, and part of that is due to his particular size. As a 6’9″ tween forward, he isn’t quite fast enough to defend small forwards, the position he spends the most time. However, he isn’t quite big or bulky enough to defend opposing power forwards. This isn’t the most fixable of problems, but it is probably the weakest area of Marcus’ play.
This surprising Suns team clearly isn’t title ready yet. In order to be that, it will have to add additional talented players to fill weaker positions. The guard spots are covered, so the frontcourt will likely be improved. With players full of talent from Trevor Ariza, Luol Deng and Gordon Hayward all the way to Carmelo Anthony, the small forward market will be full of free agents the Suns would be happy to bring in,and the current one’s on the roster may be crowded out by more talent, including Marcus.
So the important question is whether Marcus will have a place in the Suns future arrangements. On one hand, his scoring is useful. Also, he and his brother both say they play better with each other, and observers can see that this is no joke. On the other hand, P.J. Tucker and Gerald Green might be seen as more immediately valuable than Morris. One possible solution could possibly be to trade both the twins for a more major contributor, maybe at the power forward spot, and then go grab one of the forwards on the market.
Marcus has made strides this season, and has silenced doubters of his NBA career. Whether as a player or a trade piece, Marcus’ use to the Suns is more significant than many people may have thought it would be.