Markieff Morris surprising everyone but the Suns

Jan 4, 2012, 11:11 PM | Updated: Jan 5, 2012, 12:15 am

Suns rookie Markieff Morris is playing 20 minutes a game
for the team, averaging 9.4 points and 5.4 rebounds per

Numbers like that have put Morris in the company of some
of the league’s best rookies, as he ranks eighth in
scoring and is tied for second in rebounding. And, really,
Morris has been one of the Suns’ best players thus far.

However, the former Kansas Jayhawk isn’t exactly
“surprising” the people who drafted him with the 13th

“We had high hopes that our rookie would produce, produce
quickly and produce well,” Suns President of Basketball
Operations Lon Babby told Arizona Sports 620’s Doug and
Wolf. “Obviously Markieff has done that, so I don’t want
to put that in category of ‘surprise’ because he’s meeting
our expectations.”

Morris’ strong play has led to some thinking he should
join the team’s starting lineup, as he offers some inside
toughness to go along with a surprising outside shot.

While his ability to play in the paint is nice, it’s the
shooting that has really helped the Morris crack the

“Our philosophy is to play better defense, to be tougher,”
Babby said. “A little bit of a misnomer, I’ve said it
before, doesn’t mean that you need to slow down your
offensive pace to get better defensively, and if all
you’re doing to get better defensively is slow down your
offensive pace then that’s fool’s gold.”

Babby said the team wants to stay up-tempo, and Morris
provides rebounding and toughness without sacrificing the

Just five games into his career, it would appear Markieff
Morris was a solid draft pick for the Suns. He has room to
improve and plenty more games in his future, and the hope
is this just the beginning of an excellent career.

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Markieff Morris surprising everyone but the Suns