Updated Oct 3, 2012 - 5:42 pm
Markieff Morris' confidence high in year two
Yet even Markieff Morris is looking like a new player.
The Suns second-year power forward said he added 13 pounds of muscle to his frame this offseason.
"The better shape I'm in," Morris said, "the more I can play, the more I can contribute to the team on defense and offense."
Coming into this year, he was already expected to play a big role, more so now given the uncertain future of Channing Frye.
Head coach Alvin Gentry has noticed a significant difference in last season's first round draft pick (13th overall).
"He worked extremely hard this summer," Gentry said. "He's improved his overall game."
The work started immediately.
Morris said he spent the entire summer in Phoenix, working out with his twin brother Marcus, drafted with the very next pick by the Houston Rockets.
"I feel a lot better about my game, about my confidence," Morris said. "Summer League definitely helped me a lot."
Morris averaged 19.8 points and 9.8 rebounds in five Summer League games; three times he scored 21 or more points and twice he posted double-doubles.
Morris was among six rookies to average at least seven points and four rebounds last year; while his 4.4-rebound average was the best by a Suns rookie since Amar'e Stoudemire in 2002-03.
"For me, it's more of a confidence thing," he said. "As long as my confidence stays up I feel like I have the ability to do anything."
Helping Morris this week is recent Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Ralph Sampson, whom the Suns have brought in to work with player development.
Morris is also getting hands-on advice from one of his brother's former teammates, Luis Scola.
"He's a very a skilled player," Morris said of the Argentinan veteran. "He's tricky; and if I can add that trickiness to my game, I will just get even better."
According to Gentry, "Luis has been great talking to him trying to teach him things: angles and what you do, just the peripheral vision and things like that."
Morris started seven of the 63 games he played last season. He's fine with whichever role awaits him this season.
"Whatever Coach decides is cool with me," he said. "I'm going to contribute either way and help my team either way."
- Phoenix Suns' Goran Dragic named NBA's Most Improved Player
- Kentucky freshman Julius Randle to enter NBA draft
- Jeff Hornacek: We got it back to Phoenix Suns basketball
- Suns' Jeff Hornacek finishes behind Spurs' Gregg Popovich in Coach of the Year voting
- Phoenix Suns' vocal, emotional leader P.J. Tucker wants to return
- Tim Kempton, Suns analyst - Wednesday April 23Tim Kempton defends his vote for Defensive Player of the Year.
- Tim Kempton, Suns analyst - Tuesday April 22Suns radio analyst Tim Kempton calls in to react to the blast.
- Bickley Blast - Tuesday April 22Bickley blasts on postseason awards and how making it in the playoffs makes a huge difference
- Eddie Johnson, Suns analyst - Monday April 21Suns analyst Eddie Johnson talks about the NBA playoffs.
- Robert Sarver, Suns owner - Friday April 18Robert Sarver talks about possible offseason plans.