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
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
"(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."
Lotto Lies Ahead?
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