Do Morris Twins Have a Future with Phoenix Suns Other Than as a Gimmick?

Sam CooperCorrespondent IIIApril 15, 2013

Marcus Morris (left) with his twin brother Markieff Morris (right) shortly after being traded to the Suns.
Marcus Morris (left) with his twin brother Markieff Morris (right) shortly after being traded to the Suns.Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Markieff and Marcus Morris are both very lucky.

Other than the Pacers duo of Ben and Tyler Hansbrough, the Morris twins are the only brothers playing together on the same team in the NBA

However, since Marcus Morris was acquired from the Rockets by the Suns at the trade deadline, the two brothers have not always seen ample playing time. There were questions about whether or not both brothers really fit on the roster, and if the trade was more of a gimmick than anything else.

But the twins were both drafted in the lottery just two years ago, and they are very talented young prospects. While neither one projects to be a superstar, the Suns really could use their talent, so long as they commit to both brothers and put in the necessary time and effort to develop them into productive players. 

On the other hand, if the Suns don't commit to developing these two, they aren't going to see any results. And in that case, the trade may just look like a desperate attempt to increase team morale and attendance at home games. 

Let's examine the potential of both brothers, starting with Markieff.

Markieff Morris has been very inconsistent throughout his first two NBA seasons.

On one hand, he was a pleasant surprise during his rookie year. Not many people expected him to be as productive as he was, putting up 7.4 points and 4.4 rebounds per game.

But on the other hand, Markieff has yet to take the next step and improve his game. He shows flashes of greatness from time to time, but overall his production has been stagnant this season, and we're seeing no development.

Markieff is averaging 8.1 points and 4.8 rebounds per game, but is shooting a dismal 41 percent from the field as well as 33 percent from three-point range. He also often looks lost on defense and is not a good post defender, as evidenced by his career defensive rating of 105

Markieff has a lot of work to do, but he could still potentially be the team's future starting power forward. Channing Frye may not be the same player when he returns next season, and Luis Scola is only getting older and doesn't really fit on a rebuilding team.

Meanwhile, Morris has been inserted into the starting lineup for the end of the season and has had a few great games recently, including his last game against the Timberwolves in which he put up 20 points, nine rebounds, two steals and a block on 8-of-11 shooting from the field.

In these games, when Morris is streaking and hitting his shots, he can do no wrong. Markieff can be a dominant outside shooting threat during his hot streaks, and he is shooting 10-of-13 from three in just his past four games. 

On the flip side, when he's cold, he can be dreadful, and sometimes is even somewhat of a liability on both offense and defense. But if the coaches can just motivate Markieff and get him to bring his best effort in every single game, you have to believe that he could be a very good NBA player.

He has all the tools to be great, but lack of consistency is what is stopping him. Hopefully Markieff will continue to work hard on his weaknesses over the summer. With all of his talent, it certainly isn't time for Suns fans to give up on him now. 

And just like Markieff, Marcus Morris also has had trouble with inconsistency all this time.

In his rookie season with the Rockets, many proclaimed Marcus a bust after he put up just 2.4 points per game on 30 percent shooting from the field.

But Morris was great for the Rockets in the first half of this season, as he was able to score, grab rebounds and become an excellent outside shooting threat.

However, you have to question what the Marcus Morris trade was for, and why the Suns made that move. Because, in reality, Lindsey Hunter is not giving Morris much of a chance to play. 

Morris is a career 36 percent shooter from three-point range, something that Phoenix, the 29th overall team in three-point percentage, could desperately use. And yet, Morris has played 10 minutes or less in six of his past 10 games, and that's when he even sees floor time at all.

Marcus is being benched by Hunter, even though Michael Beasley is still receiving plenty of playing time and almost always failing to produce for the Suns.

Marcus has received playing team in the past few games, but that's really only because Beasley was not with the team due to the birth of his daughter. Once he returns, Hunter may go back to his old rotation and leave Morris in the dust.

Marcus has all the ability in the world to succeed, and he has had a few great games for the Suns. For example, he once scored 16 points, grabbed five rebounds and made four threes off the bench in a March game versus Atlanta, and those games provide a glimmer of hope for the future.

Marcus Morris' future role with the team is uncertain. Channing Frye and Markieff Morris will both be playing that stretch 4 role very often, so he may not always be needed at power forward. He can provide some bench minutes at both forward positions, but that's about all the Suns can offer him. A starting position in the future seems extremely unlikely.

Still, the Suns need to commit to developing him, and that goes for Markieff as well. If Hunter and the rest of the coaching staff can get the two twins to always put in effort and keep their confidence high through the tough cold streaks and losing streaks, then hopefully we will see both twins reach their full potential within the next few seasons.

These two could be a bit of a project, and it won't always seem like a great investment. But for a rebuilding team, it's the risk you have to take.