18 July 2012
Coming off of a solid rookie season, the Suns were looking for improvement out of Markieff Morris in his first true offseason of his career. If his first two Vegas Summer League games are any indication, the former Jayhawk certainly is well on his way to do that.
In his first action since the closing of the regular season in April, Morris had 21 points and just missed out on a double-double with nine rebounds on Sunday against the New York Knicks. He also went 7-of-16 from the field, made 6-of-8 shots from the charity stripe and the Suns were an impressive +24 when the power forward was on the floor.
Morris had an even better night last night against the Cleveland Cavaliers Summer League squad. In 28 minutes, Morris bested his previous point total by three scoring 24 points and was also a beast on the boards with 17 rebounds. He did struggle shooting the basetball as he made only seven shots in 21 attempts, but you have to like his aggressiveness, especially for a guy who was bashful shooting the ball at times in his rookie season.
The one thing that you notice with Morris during this summer has been his improved quickness. He has been driving past guys in order to go to the hoop left and right unlike during the regular season when he was more comfortable sticking at three-point line and shooting jumpers. With the recent acquisition of Luis Scola, it is very important for Morris to continue improving his game if he wants to continue earning big minutes.
The much anticipated debut of first round pick Kendall Marshall took place last night. Marshall had to sit out Phoenix's first game because the young point guard had yet to sign his rookie contract.
In just under 29 minutes of game action, the rookie struggled. He only took one shot and passed up several chances to take the ball to the basket. It could have been just first game jitters, but that is a part of his game that Marshall needs to change if he wants to stick around and have a long NBA career. When opposing defenses give you open shots or chances to drive the lane, you need to take them.
Marshall had issues with the turnover bug as well. The former Tar Hill did have five assists, but he also had five miscues. A 1/1 assist to turnover ratio is not something you want to see from your point guard. Of course, Suns fans were spoiled in that regard over the last eight seasons.
As the offseason continues, the Suns roster has a glaring lack of wing players, which means that a couple of guys from the Summer League roster might have a good chance at sitting on the bench on opening night.
Marcus Landry, the brother of Carl, continues to impress. In his first two games, Landry has averaged 11.5 points and four rebounds. DeShawn Sims has averaged 14 points and 3.5 rebounds in two games himself. If both continue to play, both will be invited to training camp at the very least if not make a roster in Phoenix or elsewhere.