NBA Rumors: Sending Marcus Morris to the D-League Is Right Move for Rockets

Tim KeeneyContributor IJanuary 3, 2012

NEWARK, NJ - JUNE 23:  Marcus Morris from the Kansas Jayhawks greets NBA Commissioner David Stern after he was selected #14 overall by the Houston Rockets during the 2011 NBA Draft at the Prudential Center on June 23, 2011 in Newark, New Jersey.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Houston Rockets rookie Marcus Morris was beginning to fall out of Kevin McHale's rotation (5.7 minutes per game), so the team decided to do something about it.

Give him more minutes. 

Just not in the NBA.

According to the Ultimate Rockets blog, Houston will send Morris down to the D-League on Tuesday to start playing with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.

Fortunately, we’re a team (where) it’s very hard to come in as a rookie and play, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said. We like all our young players to go through a process before they get on the floor. Marcus is someone with very high level of talent and someone we feel will benefit greatly from playing and working on his game.

Some of you may point to the fact that Morris was a lottery pick and start calling for Morey's head. "Top picks should be contributing right away," you'll say.

Still though, you have to remember that the Rockets do this with almost all of their top rookies. Aaron Brooks did it when he was a rookie. Patrick Patterson went to the D-League last year and came back as a solid contributor in limited time.

You may not like this move, but it was entirely expected and entirely the right move. 

There's no question about it. 

What's the point of having Morris sit on the bench right now? The Rockets have a slew of role players contributing 10-20 minutes, and they just don't need him right now.

How exactly is Morris improving his game by playing five minutes per contest at a position (PF) the Rockets don't want him in for the future?

In the D-League, he'll play against lesser competition, sure, but he'll actually get to play and he'll be able to get accustomed to the small forward position where Houston eventually wants him. 

Throw in the fact that there was essentially no preseason and it isn't a surprise the 22-year-old Morris isn't quite ready to contribute in the NBA. In this shortened season, there are less practices and less opportunities for young players to improve themselves, so the D-League is that much more important.

The Developmental League may sound like a punishment, but it's no death sentence. It's a place where Morris will improve his offense, defense and, most importantly, his conditioning. 

This is far and away the correct decision.

Now, the fact that Hasheem Thabeet and Chandler Parsons aren't joining him, that's another story.