Morris was the man today.
Before getting too far into this recap, let's establish that the New York Knicks may have assembled the worst summer league roster in Vegas. After losing by 50 to Golden State on Friday night, they improved to only a 25-point loss to the Suns summer squad.
Between the two teams, there was one NBA player on the court: Markieff Morris. Just before the tip, and even to Markieff's surprise, Kendall Marshall was held out because he hadn't yet signed his contract. At the time, I was floored by this news, but possibly the delay was related to the Luis Scola amnesty claim and all the moving parts on the salary cap waiting for Gordon to take his physical for the Hornets before the cap hold was released.
Suns assistant coach, and summer head coach, Dan Majerle on Markieff Morris' summer: "It's big for him because he didn't get to do this last year. He's been working extremely hard, been working in Phoenix on not only his body but his game and I told him I'm going to go to him a lot this (summer), especially in the post. He took it to heart, and he did a great job."
Note that those comments are in stark contrast to his out-of-shape comments on the Suns' last summertime PF, Earl Clark. Morris finished with 21 points, 9 rebounds, 2 blocks and an assist and a steal. Morris looked thicker out there than he appeared last season. He is a 6'9" and a solid 240 pounds - perfectly sized for an NBA power forward.
DeShawn Sims scored 16, while Dionte Garrett had 10 assists and 3 steals, to go along with 8 points, in a starting role while Marshall awaited his finalized contract.
Hit the jump for video and postgame quotes from Markieff Morris, including a "whatthe" moment when hearing about Luis Scola, as well as more quotes from Dan Majerle.
Morris, on what he's done since the season ended: "Working. I've been in Phoenix for the majority of the (off)season, just working hard," Morris said to Seth Pollack after the game today. "Scoring on the post, scoring different ways. I've been put in that position a lot last year. Just me, Elston Turner and Mark West been in the gym, working."
Asked about working in the post on Sunday against the Knicks: "I just take my time. Let the game come to me. I feel like I can get anything I want."
And then Seth dropped a bit of news on Markieff at the end of the interview - that the Suns had won the waiver claim for PF Luis Scola minutes before.
Markieff's eyes got real big and he had a moment of shock before collecting himself with a big grin, a chuckle, and head shake. "He's a great addition to our team," he said, that wide grin still on his face.
When asked a follow up question on his new competition, he responded without hesitation, making eye contact with the reporter the entire time: "I mean, we're going to compete for playing time, and I'm glad to have him, and I'm going to welcome him with open arms."
Considering this was a 22-year old just being told that a 5-year NBA starter at HIS position just joined the team, I thought he handled the news incredibly well. What can you expect when dropping a bomb like that on a young guy?
Anybody jump out at you? "Erving (Walker) played great. He really a waterbug (5'8" in shoes). He's hard to guard because he can move, set up some guys, and make some 3s. I was impressed."
But before getting your hopes up, Majerle brings realism back to the conversation when asked about Walker overcoming his small stature: "It's tough, you know, this is a big man's league."
Majerle, when asked about Scola: "I just heard about it. Obviously, any time you can get a talented guy that's great. I'm happy."