On a night when the Phoenix Suns were without starting center Tyson Chandler, you'd expect that Markieff Morris would pick up the slack. Offensively, with no Chandler clogging the lane he should have more room to work. Defensively, it's time when you want to see your "veteran" big step up and fill the role with at least intensity and focus.
That didn't happen. Again.
Our colleague Ray Hrovat recently wrote an excellent think piece about Morris' struggles this year in light of all the offseason drama. Perhaps that was fresh on my mind watching this game and maybe that creates a bit of confirmation bias when watching this single contest, but look below at all four of Markieff's fouls and tell me if you see a guy that even wants to be on the floor.
Foul #1: Morris clearly leans forward with his chest to bump Scola instead of staying ready to counter the spin-crazy Argentinian's inevitable move. As a reminder, Scola and Morris played together 2012-13 so it's not like Keiff doesn't know what to expect. This is not the look of a player who's locked in.
Foul #2: Morris reaches wildly at the ball on a driving DeMar DeRozan. I guess, if you are being generous, he was making a play at the ball but he gets arm which seems like the most likely outcome of that attempt.
Foul #3: Scola catches the ball with his back to the basket about 18 ft from the rim. With four power dribbles, Luis gets to the mid-post area and takes advantage of Morris' poor footwork to spin easily to the middle of the lane. Markieff reacts by slapping down in frustration on Scola's arms for the obvious foul.
Foul #4: The Suns run a side pick and roll to isolate Morris against the slow-footed Scola. Look below at their positions on the floor when Markieff starts the move and tell me how Scola manages to beat Morris to the spot. But he does and so Markieff just lowers his shoulder and charges through him for the fourth foul.
The Phoenix Suns need Markieff Morris to play up to his potential and he's clearly not doing that. Since they aren't likely to get good value for him in a trade, I guess the Suns are better off waiting this out and hoping for things to improve. But so far, Markieff is looking like he intends to force his way out of town.