Phoenix Suns Draft Preview: Marcus Morris May be The Surest Thing

Reliving the recent Phoenix Suns draft history of say the past 10 years or so would only be an exercise in heartbreak and slashing open old salty wounds that leave many of us in the mood to go pick up a machete and walk the streets wild eyed and drooling like some purple and orange zombie. So let us get down to brass tacks about the Suns choice at #13 this season. Smart men often say "there are no sure things," but if there is one, you can be sure the Suns FO will do the best to find him.

Facts:

  • The Phoenix Suns are not in the position to make a risky choice at #13. The team is aging, in transition, and has a hole to fill everywhere with the exception of the 5, depending on the way you look at it.
  • The Suns have made it public they are looking for a PG or a front line player. Other than Channing Frye, no one played even decent at the PF spot.
  • While we all may be over Amare, the fact is, he has yet to be replaced. The Suns need front line scoring and rebounding that he provided. Defense is highly desired as well.

The Suns could have hit the nuke button after last season's mess, but what we are hearing from the FO, trusted local media, and the man himself, Steve Nash will most likely be extended. The slow reconstruction will continue with the proabable resigning of Grant Hill. To the point:  the Suns are not going to gut the squad and risk a ten year rebuilding process. That would put much less $ into Robert Sarver's hands via many less wins and of course playoff appearances. So, expect the Suns to take the most polished, low risk/high reward PF in the draft that can help but PHX back in the playoff hunt.

Prediction:

The Suns will take Marcus Morris at the 13. Morris provides the Suns with 3 vital attributes of a draft pick for the franchise: 1. He is a fairly polished player. 2. He is a scorer, and 3. He projects as an NBA PF. Further, Morris isn't a one dimensional player. He can take it to the rack, and he can also step out and hit a 15 footer.

He is not yet the defender or rebounder the Suns desperately need down low, but he's go the tools, desire, and athleticism to develop into that guy who helps we in the desert forget about the void left by Amare Stoudemire.

Some positive blurbs from Draft Express about Morris:

Morris ranked as the most effective back to the basket threats in this group of prospects, and in all of college basketball for that matter, scoring an incredible 1.18 points in post-up situations.

Marcus Morris is not an elite physical specimen, but he did register a positive wingspan to height ratio (6-10:6-7) at a solid 230 pounds.

Morris ranks as one of the most efficient at 1.12 PPP (3rd), behind just Derrick Williams and Justin Harper, despite turning the ball over on just 10.5% of his possessions (5th).

Morris ranked as the most effective back to the basket threats in this group of prospects, and in all of college basketball for that matter, scoring an incredible 1.18 points in post-up situations.

Negative:

 The biggest question-marks regarding Morris's NBA potential are based on his ability to compete on the glass at the NBA level and effectively mix it up with the bigger, stronger, and more athletic matchups he'd be facing on a nightly basis defensively. Pulling down just 6.6 defensive rebounds per-40 (a career high), Morris provides just an average presence on the glass, lacking the size, length and explosiveness to go out of his area regularly for extra possessions.

Not many draft picks make the jump for the collegiate ranks to the starting lineup of any team. Marcus Morris most likely is included in this assumption. But the encouraging fact about Morris is he is athletic, and has a pretty good basketball IQ. The result should be the anti-Earl Clark:  Skills accompanied with motivation and desire. Morris is a guy that the coaches will be able to reach psychologically. In turn he can adapt his game to the NBA level. Size? yeah he could use 10+ pounds of muscle to fight the big boys down below. But the most important key to Morris is that he wants to D it up and hit the boards.

Here's are man in action:

Marcus Morris dunks all over pitt state (via lukeginobili)

The Highlight Reel (Warning the music could be offensive to some, so I urge you to mute if necessary)

Marcus Morris Kansas Highlights (via TheDraftReview)

The Pre Draft Workout and Interview

DraftExpress - Marcus Morris Pre-Draft Workout & Interview (via DraftExpress)

At the college level, Morris could do nearly anything a big man would be asked to do: take the ball to the rim, work with his back to the basket and post up, pop out for a midrange jumper, and we even saw some range further than that; and most importantly for the Suns, the desire to play some defense.

Yes Morris isn't a sexy pick. He doesn't have that raw athleticism and explosiveness of Derrick Williams, he isn't the high risk/reward of a Tristan Thompson, and for that matter, our old friend whose now enjoying life in NYC. But a squad needs the versatility of Morris. With some more thickness, he has the mindset to be a battler on the boards. As DE points out, Morris projects as David West meets Al Harrington, or, in the worst case, Udonis Haslem.

Of late, many mocks have Morris going earlier than 13, but if he's available, and barring any other deals to move up, the Suns could do a lot worse than Morris.

What say you about the "better brother?"

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