Kansas Jayhawk Markieff Morris: Future NBA Power Forward

JDAnalyst IJanuary 30, 2011

LAWRENCE, KS - JANUARY 29:  Markieff Morris #21 of the Kansas Jayhawks battles Curtis Kelly #24 of the Kansas State Wildcats for a rebound during the game on January 29, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Markieff Morris isn't suffering a lack of attention. 

Sure, Marcus probably gets a bit more love, but deservedly so. He scores more points (and in America, we're suckers for offense), plays more minutes and makes fewer silly mistakes in the way of silly fouls and turnovers.

However, with every game I watch, I believe more and more that Markieff will have a professional career as equally satisfying (intrinsically, not necessarily numerically successful) as his brother Marcus when the time comes.

When Wayne Simien had his jersey retired last night, something struck me. 

Simien was great, but ultimately did not make it in the NBA because of injuries and illness. He couldn't have been a tweener anyway, for unlike Marcus, he lacked adequate dribbling and perimeter skills.  Marcus also has the durability edge, an extra inch and, overall, a bit more physical potential on Simien.

So Marcus will be more than fine as an NBA professional.

Markieff, on the other hand, reminds me a bit of a Drew Gooden 2.0.

Is that a good thing? It's a better thing than some people realize.

Markieff is similarly athletic (not the most explosive guy around, but still athletic), is almost as good a rebounder, blocks the occasional shot, has better overall perimeter skills and hasn't played nearly the number of minutes in college as Gooden. I think his ceiling is significantly higher than that of the former Jayhawk.

Marcus will probably go straight to the league and start developing his niche as a mismatch small/power forward and find ways to contribute to a team. He probably isn't a superstar, build-your-team-around-him type of guy, but his versatility will allow him to be a decent contributor in most situations.

If luck is on his side, perhaps he'll land within a system that truly allows him to flourish and make the most of his talents. That's the primary (and one of the only) difference(s) between he and Markieff.

Markieff may get traded around because he shouldn't ever become an overpaid contractual burden. His value comes from that teams will always know exactly what they're going to get out of him: a good rebounder, decent interior defender, well-rounded, floor-running power forward who carries a mean streak and finds ways to score.

If Markieff is really lucky, he'll slip a bit (hear me out) in the draft to a team that can let him develop in the D-league for a year until they realize what they've got on their hands.

Regardless, Markieff will be a good contributor both off the bench and as a starter in the NBA for a very long time. 

Marcus probably will, too, but the fact that his role will be less-defined than Markieff's could be both a blessing or a curse.