Wait... Which one is the real M. Morris? TRICK QUESTION! They are both M. Morris! (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
P&T, prepare yourselves for something the world (and when I say world I mean this series/community) has never seen or attempted. For the first time, a "Know the Prospect" will cover TWO prospects at once. Why cover two prospects? Because they are identical twins! On a personal note, I am a twin myself, so this profile will fill me with tons of twin pride. Also note that my twin sister will be helping me write it telepathically and in our own language. And yes, we are the Wonder Twins. Jiddy bolka na'a!
If you have duomaieusiophobia (fear of twins), aren't privy to the Lopez or Collins brothers, or didn't especially care for the film "Twins" starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito, then this post isn't for you. If you don't mind any of the aforementioned business and do have an affinity for talented basketball players, then you've come to the right place! For your reading pleasure, today's edition will cover the Morris twins, Marcus and Markieff. Now with all of the players with the surname Morris, do we want to take one of these two? Let's find out.
Marcus Morris Jr. and Markieff Morris (no middle names anywhere...) are both junior forwards at the University of Kansas. Both have decided to forgo their senior seasons and, what do you know, they hired the same agent! They aren't totally identical, but they are damned close. Markieff has a good inch and a good ten pounds on little Marcus, but they were both equally important to the Jayhawks last season. Marcus led the Jayhawks in scoring last season at 17.2 PPG and Markieff led the team in rebounding at 8.3 a contest and blocked shots with 1.1 per game. Both of these guys shoot threes too. While it isn't an awfully big sample size, Markieff shot 42.4% (25-59) and Marcus shot 34% (26-76). That's not bad. They both didn't play as much as other premier starters due to the depth of Kansas' roster. Marcus averaged over 28 MPG and Markieff averaged just under 25 MPG. They each put up nice numbers though, and each of them showed improvement as their overall roles within Kansas' system increased.
Oh, and to answer the trick question I asked in the photo caption, Markieff is number 21 and Marcus is number 22, for those that need to know these things.
Measurements: Marcus stands at 6'9", weighs between 225-235 pounds. Markieff comes in at 6'10" and weighs between 235-245 pounds.
Projected Draft Position (as of right now): Marcus goes 10 at DraftExpress.com, 11 at NBADraft.net, 11 at HoopsHype, 11 at SI.com, and 19 at Pro Basketball Draft. Markieff goes 13 at DraftExpress, 14 at NBADraft, 14 at HoopsHype, 13 at SI.com, and 15 at Pro Basketball Draft. Except for that one, those are all ahead of the Knicks at 17, so there will need to be some slippin' and slidin' for the Knicks to get one of these guys.
Actual Scouting Reports/Info: LOOK THEM UP YOURSELVES (Just kidding, here they are!)
Amateur Take-Offense: Both Marcus and Markieff have evolved into effective scorers that can do it from all over the floor. Their ability to shoot from the perimeter can present matchup problems against bigger forwards who like to stay in the paint and will help space the floor. Both players' percentages from long range held up rather well with the increased usage and shot attempts from their sophomore to junior years. Marcus, being the more slender of the two, Marcus divides is work evenly between post play, mid-range game, and jumpers. He had a TS% of 62.5% and did a great job getting to the line. He shot 215 free throws last season, but unfortunately only made 68% of them. Marcus is more polished offensively, and his post game is much more sound. He would be able to take small forwards down low with his post-up ability if he were to transition to that position (which some feel he might have to). His scoring was rock-solid all season though. He was only kept out of double figures twice all season. He averaged a career-high 1.6 assists last year, and that total rose every season. Marcus also averaged 2.6 offensive rebounds a game last season, which shows he is active on that side of the glass.
Markieff is a more traditional power forward, but can also stretch the floor with his shooting touch. His scoring increase is very impressive. He averaged 13.6 PPG last season after averaging just 6.75 last year in 17 MPG. He was kept out of double figures in just seven of Kansas' 38 games. That kind of progress is telling about how much work he has put in to improve his game. Markieff still isn't as refined in the paint as his brother, but with work he can get there. His strength and athleticism are a plus when getting the ball down low. Markieff has improved his overall shooting since freshman, when he shot a putrid 44%. He increased that to 58.9% with a TS% of 64.1%. Markieff is also active on the offensive boards, grabbing 2.7 per game.
Amateur Take-Defense: Markieff is much better prepared to defend NBA power forwards than Marcus. Markieff's size and athleticism are a plus for him down low, whereas Marcus will need to add weight to hang in the paint. Marucs isn't as active on the defensive glass when compared to his brother. Markieff averaged 5.6 defensive rebounds a game in 24 minutes, and Marcus averaged just 5 in 28 minutes. The ability to scrap needs to become part of Marcus' repertoire. Markieff is much better at defending at the rim, too. He averaged just over a block a game, whereas Marcus averaged just 0.6 a game. Marcus is somewhat of a 'tweener when it comes to defense, but Markieff could come in and help, I think.
Comparisons: DraftExpress finally has their Best Case/Worst Case labels up for players, so those will be a welcome addition! According to DE, Marcus best case is David West meets Al Harrington. That would be an interesting baby that really likes to jack up threes. His worst case is a more athletic Anthony Tolliver. NBADraft.net also compares him to Al Harrington. For Markieff, DE thinks his best case is Rasheed Wallace without the crazy (ummm... awesome) and his worst case is a stronger Ersan Ilyasova (ummm... meh). NBADraft.net compares him to fellow Jayhawk Drew Gooden, which is good or bad, depending on the year of comparison.
The Clyde Factor: Marcus is whatever, but we all now how much fun Clyde would have with Markieff. With the double "F" he could hold out the end of his last name for as long as he pleased. There would certainly be a "Markierf" or a "Markrieff". He could become "Chief Markieff". If he gets bullied on the block, "Where's the beef, Markieff?" If he wears a suit with a pink shirt, he could be rhymed with "coral reef". There's a lot to like about this.
Links and other junk:
- These two are from Philadelphia.
- They won a lot in college. According to the agent link above, the team went 95-17 (84.8%) and won three Big XII regular season championships during their three seasons at Kansas. That counts for something, I guess.
- Markieff's jersey reads MK Morris while Marcus' reads MC Morris. That last one is a BALLER jersey.
- They like to get angry, and they like to get mean. That's the only way you can win at
- Because of Markieff's vast improvement, one writer thought the brothers switched jerseys and were pranking everybody.
- There is actually another set of Morris twins in the world. I know, I didn't think it was possible either. Josh and Brett Morris are professional rugby players from Australia, and they sometimes like to pull the occasional prank.
- Here is a guide to telling the twins apart.
Let's go to the video:
Morris twins have special bond (via NBCActionNews)
Prospect Profile - Marcus Morris (via DraftExpress)
Marcus Morris Kansas Highlights (via TheDraftReview) -Really bad quality on this video...
Markieff Morris missing dunk (via royalsfankc) -Unfortunately, not the kind of video I wanted to find showcasing Markieff's abilities and athleticism...
Things to Take Away:
- These brothers are very close. The one reservation I would have at splitting them up is a potential Where the Red Fern Grows situation.
- Marcus has a real nice face-up game. I love that quick first step to the rim. That shot is pretty too, nice high release and everything. He also has a nice spring in his step.
- Marcus looks more like a small forward than anything else, but maybe that's just me.
- Markieff is good at missing dunks I guess? I thought that's why we had Jared Jeffries on our roster... Sorry, that was too soon.
- In all seriousness, there wasn't much video of Markieff's highlights besides that. It's more of a lowlight than anything.
Final Thoughts: I like both of these guys. I don't think Marcus will slip down, and I don't think he would fit a need for the Knicks anyway. But Markieff might fall to us, and I would definitely consider taking him at pick 17. He is nowhere near the rebounder or defender that Faried is, but he can add a dimension that Faried can't: shooting. His offensive game, at least for a power forward, definitely fits into something D'Antoni would prefer in a big. He could come in, give Amar'e some blows (pause), and bang a little bit while spacing the floor on the other end. He also has more size and strength than Faried, which would help with the transition to playing bigger, stronger posts in the NBA. The defensive drop-off from Faried to Morris isn't that drastic. He is the more defensive-oriented Morris brother. I think I still lean towards Faried slightly, but if both are available at 17 you have to have the discussion, right. What do you guys think?