Through the first five season of the season, there have been many troubling things to look at if you are a Suns fan. Phoenix has struggled mightily shooting the basketball, both Steve Nash and Grant Hill appear finally to start showing their age and Marcin Gortat’s broken thumb is clearly bothering him.
Rookie Markieff Morris hasn’t been one of those troubling things for the Suns so far though. In fact, he has been one of the few bright spots and pleasant surprises.
Taken with the 13th overall pick, one spot ahead of his twin brother Marcus, Morris wasn’t expected to do much in his first season in the league, but he has been a valuable asset off the bench for Alvin Gentry.
During this afternoon’s game against Golden State, Morris put together his best performance of the young season. Receiving the most minutes that he has gotten all season at 32 minutes, the power forward just missed out on a double-double with 16 points and nine rebounds, including three on the offensive glass.
Keef knocked down 7-of-13 shots and showed his range by knocking a three-pointer from behind the arc. When he was out on the floor, the Suns were +20 in points over the Warriors, the best on out of any player who played for Phoenix. That goes to show you how valuable the young guy is when he is playing.
Back when the Suns drafted Morris, I wasn’t real excited about the pick. He did play a position of need, but he didn’t offer a ton of upside, something that the Suns need looking towards the future.
The rookie has really impressed me in the first five games of the year though. I had no idea that he had the range of a three-point shooter. It may not always go in, but he has a nice rotation on his ball and he isn’t bashful to take a shot, something that you have to love out of a young player.
When you look at Keef, his body doesn’t really blow you away. He is listed at 6’10, but he is more in the 6’9 or 6’8 range, which is a bit undersized for a NBA power forward. He also isn’t blessed with elite athleticism, something that Phoenix had at the four spot with Amar’e Stoudemire for a number of years.
Morris gets the job done because of his smarts, strength and toughness. Nash said the other day that Morris is the type of player that this team has missed over the last couple of season because of his ability to do little things that helps win ballgames. He has already showed how good of a rebounder and defender he is.
Now, it remains to be seen whether he can be a starter in this league. I still have my reservations about him being in the starting five down the line despite his very solid start to his hopefully long NBA career. Morris has proven me wrong so far though and I hope he continues to do so.