The last time Markieff Morris played significant NBA minutes for the Phoenix Suns, he did this in a tight game that allowed the Washington Wizards to come back to tie it up.
In the final four minutes, Morris' contributions: four missed shots, two shooting fouls committed, one delay-of-game call (Wiz missed the FT) and one really stupid rmove to knock the ball off Bledsoe to give it back to the Wizards.
Here's one crazy thing
Yo Markieff got a tech for this! (Suns 2nd delay of game, free throw position arguing.) pic.twitter.com/WicpbuZohF— Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It) December 5, 2015
And here's another
I always worry about teams when they can't execute simple plays like this. #PHXatWAS https://t.co/kC0uzP43Jm— Tas Melas (@TasMelas) December 5, 2015
Are those really examples of Morris tanking? No. I said it the day after the game, that those weren't obvious attempts to tank.
But then I'm not in the locker room. And I'm not Jeff Hornacek. He clearly knows something we don't, and has decided it's time to move on forever from Markieff Morris.
Since that awful fourth quarter, here's Morris' game log with the Phoenix Suns.
Clearly, someone in charge of the lineups has decided he's had enough of Markieff Morris.
The awful Washington game came after Morris mysteriously missed the Detroit rematch due to a bruised knee that didn't bother him before or after that game.
Since then: 7 minutes of total play vs. 5 DNPs.
Yes, Virginia, there is a change coming. There's no reason to keep Markieff Morris on the team. The power forward position is getting quality output these last six games since the Washington game.
In the month of December, where Morris has contributed 16 total points in 9 games, the Phoenix Suns rank 6th in total production from the power forward position, producing 23 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists and 40% three-point shooting per game from almost exclusively Jon Leuer and Mirza Teletovic. The Suns rank 3rd in three-point attempts per game from the stretch-four - a perfect ranking for Hornacek's drive and kick offense.
While the Suns need a talent upgrade on their roster at any position, including PF, they are not really "missing" Markieff Morris in the rotation.
We don't know if a trade will actually happen today, or soon, but there are a lot of NBA teams struggling right now and I'm sure many are ready to make some kind of change to their roster. The question is whether any team is prepared to make their best-and-final offer yet for Morris.
And if the Suns DO trade Morris, should they trade for another PF? By the stats I showed above, they should only bring back a PF that is demonstrably better than Morris, Leuer AND Teletovic. Ryan Anderson and Terrence Jones are not likely to be demonstrably better.
See this graphic below, where I found the most recent injury-free season for each (and yes, both are injury-prone) and compared them to this year's Leuer and Teletovic.
As you can see, neither Jones nor Anderson deserve a bunch of minutes over Leuer or Teletovic.
If the Suns trade Morris, they should trade for an upgrade at small forward (ahead of P.J. Tucker) or bring in a backup playmaker, or simply trade Morris for future assets.
Frankly, the goal of any Morris trade should be upside, either now (potential All-Star this year) or the future (potential high draft pick, or high-upside youth) to improve the Suns future.
This Suns team isn't going to set the world on fire. Trading Morris for a "like" player this year won't change that formula. The Suns still need to focus on the future.
What do you think?
Post your Morris trade ideas here!