Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Suns Media Day Coverage

We will be updating this story throughout the day. Also follow @AlexLaugan and @BrightSideSun on twitter.

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Morris focusing on post moves, rebounding, defense

At Media Day, Jim and I caught up with second-year power forward Markieff Morris in an exclusive interview to talk about his rookie season and what he expects this next year.

He spent most of the summer in Phoenix, only returning to Philadelphia a few times, to work on post moves, rebounding and becoming a more "defensive-minded player." Markieff spent much of his gym time right alongside brother Marcus, making up for lost time during their rookie seasons.

"I watched tape of defensive possessions last year, and I saw I played defense with my hands too much, Morris said. "So I got to do a better job, and I worked on that in the offseason."

Assistant coach Elston Turner, who we caught up with in a separate exclusive, concurred.

"We spent a huge amount of time this summer working with him," Turner said. "He has all the tools. If you can move, if you can run, if you can jump. [Compared to his college reputation as a defender] it's a different league for him. A lot of guys at his position are bigger than him, and he's ... going to have to man up. That shouldn't matter - you just play a certain way no matter who you're playing against."

What does Morris need to work on the most?

"Playing 'til you're uncomfortable," Turner said, after a moment of thought. "There's a comfort zone if you're used to playing a certain way where you came from, that's the way you play when you get here.

"But we want him to play a little bit more upbeat, a little bit more energetic. He has a tremendous amount of talent. I am expecting him to outrun most bigs that are guarding him."

Morris has also been working on his post moves, which he showed off a bit in July summer league. He wasn't finishing at a high clip, but he was aggressive on both ends of the court. The Markieff Morris of the summer league can really help this Suns team in 2012-13.

"We are expecting big things from him," Turner said. "On both ends of the floor."


SBNationAZ: Phoenix Suns Media Day Videos

To tide you over while novices like me and Jim edit our video, here are a lot of videos done by Kris Habbas including this hilarious one with Michael Beasley standing on one foot.

Hit this link for the full library:

SB Nation AZ - 2012 Phoenix Suns Media Day videos


Jared Dudley's dunk goal this season is...

In 2010-11, Jared Dudley's goal for in-game dunks in a season was 10. He reached that goal in the final month, with most of the dunks occurring after the All-Star Break.

In 2011-12, Dudley's goal for in-game dunks doubled to 20 but he didn't come close. Again, he had more dunks in the second half of the season but still barely cracked 10 (if even that). We'll give him a pass, since the season was only 66 games after all.

This season? How about 17.

That's what Jared said today when we asked him cornered him for the scoop this morning.

Is Luis Scola his main competition? No, he said with a laugh. No way Scola gets more dunks than Jared.

Goran Dragic? Maybe. Dragic is athletic enough to get lots of dunks on fast breaks but chooses to lay it up fairly often, per Dudley. So maybe he and Dragic could have a friendly competition.

There you have it, Suns fans.

Duds wants 17 dunks this year.


Impressions from my first Media Day

At my first NBA Media Day, I did not know what to expect. We arrived way too early and used the time to put together our plan of action. Jim and I would take turns asking questions versus playing dutiful camerman.

This was to be the first time we had used the official BSotS video recorder, so we really hoped it was even working. Somehow, Seth forgot to leave us the BSotS sleeve for the microphone, so all we had to identify ourselves was the SB Nation Arizona sleeve. Seth, wherever you are, give up the sleeve!

Promptly at 10am, the players started arriving. The secondary players were available most of the time, while the bigtime players were ushered in one at a time to allow for the press to focus on each. Marcin Gortat went first, Michael Beasley last.

At the beginning, it was a scrum to get the microphone close enough for audio. But then the players made themselves available, between photo shoots, for one-on-ones. Each had a Suns rep with them to try to control the pace.

Our first solo interview was with P.J. Tucker. He was a very nice, down-to-earth guy. Solidly built. He talked about doing all the little things to get time on the court when you're not the best player on your team. I will post individual articles on each interviewee, after we dissect the audio/video.

Markieff Morris is tall. Really tall. Appears bigger than Gortat to me, but then Gortat was never standing within a foot of me either. Later, Elston Turner talked about Morris needing to be more consistently aggressive this year, and mentioned how Morris is smaller than most of his counterparts. So maybe it was just an optical illusion after all.

There was a great spread of catered food at one end of the room, and I found time to track down Randy the caterer for our old buddy Seth. Seth wanted to say hi, and ask if Randy missed him. That's the only guy Seth wanted me to say hi to.

The great surprise came when Suns President Lon Babby talked to us (me, Jim and Mike Schwartz of VotS) for a long time. I kept expecting him to want to move on, and I even turned off the mic at least twice during the 20+ minute interview. It wasn't as much as interview as it was Lon giving us very thoughtful, complete answers to our questions.

Apparently, Lon knows BSotS very well, and Jim Coughenour's work in particular. I don't think Lon heard my name when I introduced myself, so Jim got most of his attention. On one hand, he appreciates Jim's mastery of the English language. On the other, he wished Jim would use his superpowers more often for good rather than evil.

It was a great interview, actually. Lon expressed a desire for even-handed coverage of the Suns during their year of transition. He talked about the summer moves in depth, and expressed his belief that the Suns are definitely "more talented than they were a year ago", up and down the roster. He finished the thought by saying that we don't know how many wins that means, but he was happy with their work.

Jim and I got in some good questions in the groups, and had exclusive interviews with half a dozen players. We will break down what we have and dole it out to you as soon as possible.

I come away from the Media Day with more optimism than I've had in a long time. This team does have talent. Now Gentry just needs to make it all work.



Phoenix Suns training camp roster

Media day means pictures and interviews and the official start of training camp! Here's the roster.

Aside from the obvious, do you see any of these camp invitees making the teams?

0 Michael Beasley
1 Goran Dragic
2 Wesley Johnson
3 Jared Dudley
4 Marcin Gortat
8 Channing Frye
10 Diante Garrett
11 Markieff Morris
12 Kendall Marshall
14 Luis Scola
17 P.J. Tucker
20 Jermaine O'Neal
21 Solomon Jones
22 Othyus Jeffers

26 Shannon Brown
31 Sebastian Telfair
40 Luke Zeller
50 Ike Diogu


Grant Hill thrilled to be a Clipper!?!

Don't worry, Alex will have plenty of Suns media day stuff for you in a bit. In the meant time, check out our old buddy Grant Hill. Doesn't he look thrilled to be playing for Donald Sterling?


Photo credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

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