NBA Draft 2011 Grades: Phoenix Suns Fools To Draft Markieff Morris over Marcus?

Zachary D. RymerMLB Lead WriterJune 24, 2011

NEWARK, NJ - JUNE 23:  Markieff Morris from the Kansas Jayhawks greets NBA Commissioner David Stern after he was drafted #13 overall by the Phoenix Suns in the first round 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

Does Phoenix's Selection of Markieff Morris in 2011 NBA Draft Make the Grade?

Which one of the Morris twins would be the first to go in the 2011 NBA draft?

It was a question of some intrigue in the days leading up to the draft, but most people would have told you that Marcus was a virtual lock to come off the board before Markieff.

This is why you don't listen to the experts, folks. As it turned out, Markieff Morris was the first of the two Kansas forwards to hear his name called on Thursday night, as the Phoenix Suns selected him with the No. 13 overall pick.

Almost as if to show how similar the Morris twins really are, the Houston Rockets selected Marcus with the very next pick. That led to quite a few chuckles among, well, everyone.

Nevertheless, a development like this calls for immediate discussion. Despite the fact the Morris twins are indeed quite similar, did the Suns make a mistake by drafting Markieff when conventional wisdom said that Marcus was the better player?

By all accounts, it actually sounds like they didn't.

While most scouts and/or draft pundits will tell you that Marcus is the more talented of the two Morris twins, there was a growing sense among NBA people heading into the draft that Markieff was the better pro prospect. In late May, ESPN's Chad Ford wrote (need Insider) that Markieff was being looked at as more of a true 4, while Marcus was trying to convince teams that he could play the 3, an effort that was apparently going nowhere.

It's pretty easy to see why Markieff earned a reputation as a true power forward. His reach is slightly longer than Marcus', and he's a little heavier too. Markieff also pulled down more rebounds in fewer minutes than Marcus did this past season.

The rebounding aspect is something that definitely appeals to the Suns. Channing Frye, their primary power forward, only got them 6.7 rebounds per game last season, which is probably due to the fact that he spent most of his time waiting around for an open three.

Enter Morris. I'd be shocked if the Suns started him right away, but there will be minutes for him. Whether or not he will provide much offense is debatable, but he made a very good point shortly after he was drafted about how playing with Steve Nash can only help his offensive game. Just look at what Nash did for Amar'e Stoudemire.

"He makes his big men good," said Morris of Nash, per The Arizona Republic.

Could Marcus also have worked for the Suns? Probably, but they are more in need of a traditional 4 than they are an offensive-minded combo forward. That's why they went after Markieff.

The Rockets, on the other hand, do need a player like Marcus. Therefore, everyone wins.

Grade: A-

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