In his second season with the Phoenix Suns and in the NBA last year, forward Markieff Morris didn’t look vastly different from the player that he was in his rookie season. Morris, who was joined by his twin brother Marcus Morris at the trade deadline in Phoenix, played in all 82 games and averaged only 8.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 0.9 steals in 22.4 minutes per game while shooting only 40.7 percent from the floor and only 33.6 percent from three.
Morris showed several problems over his first two seasons in the league. One major issue was his shortcomings on the defensive end. Though he’s relatively athletic, Morris has never shown great defensive instincts or produced well on that end of the floor. The other notable problem with Morris is the fact that he’s not yet created an identity for himself as a player in this league.
As Morris begins his third season in Phoenix under the watch of a rebuilt front office and coaching staff, Morris is looking to firmly establish himself this year. Craig Grialou of ArizonaSports.com talked with Morris about his development, with Morris saying that he wants to be a more physical defender and affect the game in any way possible this season.
For a player like Morris who is solid in a number of areas but not great in any of them, becoming sort of a jack-of-all-trades could be a solid identity for him to develop going forward. Morris has the ability to score, but needs to make it easier on himself when attacking so that he can be more efficient. He needs to develop his defensive awareness and footwork as well as develop his instincts on the boards. As a young player, there’s still time for him to do those things and make things happen for his individual career, but this year would be a great time to see signs of that happening.