Lotto Lies Ahead?

Markieff Morris didn't make a huge splash his first two seasons at Kansas, where he backed up Cole Aldrich at center and averaged just 5.7 points and 4.9 rebounds per game.

But he became arguably KU's most improved player last season as a starter, averaging 13.6 points and a Big 12-best 8.3 rebounds per game. The 6-10 Markieff Morris also led the league and ranked No. 12 nationally in field goal percentage (58.9), while leading the Big 12 in double-doubles with 13.

That production helped Morris jump up draft boards and could see him become a lottery selection (first 14 picks of first round) during Thursday night's NBA draft.

"His range is probably 13-20," one NBA general manager wrote in an email interview.

The Phoenix Suns hold the 13th pick while the Minnesota Timberwolves pick at No. 20.

Like his twin brother Marcus, Markieff has the ability to play inside and out. But this GM said there is a difference between the Morris twins in that Markieff is a solid four man.

"(I) like that he has a true position, unlike his brother who is a bit of a tweener," the GM wrote. "Skilled around the hole with both hands, good feet, mobile and good high-low passer.

"I would categorize Marcus more as a stretch-4 than Markieff. Markieff definitely has the ability to step away from the basket and stick J's but has more of a low-post/back-to-bucket game than his brother. Definitely helps him that he has both tricks in his bag, though."

On the flip side?

"(I wish) he he had a more consistent motor," the GM wrote.

One ingredient Morris doesn't lack is confidence. He told the Washington Post's Michael Lee that he isn't that fond of Derrick Williams' game, the former Arizona star who is projected to be selected with the first or second overall pick.

 "I didn't think he was as good as advertised," Morris said about Williams, who posted 27 points and seven rebounds in the Wildcats' loss to KU last season on Nov. 27. "He got the benefit of the calls from the ref and we had to guard him different. He definitely had a good game against us, because we couldn't guard him how we wanted to guard him, and that's what happened."

"It still surprises me," Morris added about Williams likely going No. 1 or 2. "What he did to Duke (32 points and 17 rebounds in Arizona's win over the Blue Devils in the NCAA tournament), he wouldn't do that to me or my brother. I'm dead serious. He wouldn't. At all. He's good. But if we were to work out, I would go at him and I would be able to stop him more than people would expect, you know what I mean."

Morris should have plenty of opportunities to defend Williams in the NBA in what should be a long and productive career for the Philly native.

"(I) think his ceiling (is) probably a backup on a championship contender but could probably become a starter for a middle of the road type team," the GM wrote of Morris. "He could end up being a 9 (points per game) and 7 (rebounds per game) guy. Will throw some double-doubles in on occasion but unlikely to average a double-double for his career."

This GM compares Morris to Sacramento Kings' 6-10, 250-pound forward-center Jason Thompson. The former Rider star was the 12th pick in the first round of the 2008 NBA draft and averaged 8.8 points and 6.1 rebounds last season. He has career averages of 10.8 points and 7.3 rebounds, while shooting 49 percent from the field.

"(He) reminds me a little of Jason Thompson, similar stylistically but Jason has a little bit better motor. Both are 4's but can play the 5 in a pinch," the GM wrote.

And finally, the question that all KU fans want to know: What are the chances that Charlotte, which picks No. 9 and No. 19 in the first round, could select both Markieff and Marcus.

Well, Jayhawk fans and the Morris twins shouldn't get their hopes up for that dream scenario.

"(Charlotte) could take both players but I think it's more likely that the two will not be selected by the same team," the GM wrote. "Might be good for both of them to play without each other for once."

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