During last week’s preseason game against the Los Angeles Clippers Suns power forward Markieff Morris dived to the floor and corralled a loose ball.

He came out on the next dead ball. Some coaches will pull a player after a made shot for them to leave on a high note. With Morris that is the kind of effort they want consistently out of him and he knows it after hearing it from different staffs for two years in Phoenix.

“The most important thing is staying consistent” Morris said. “The last two years my rookie year I fell off after the All-Star break and last year I really couldn’t stay consistent. We were losing and there was a lot of mix-up going on. That’s why I’m focusing on playing hard and competing hard every night.”

Morris is coming off what he called his most complete preseason game. He made seven of eight shots for 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds in 23 minutes Thursday night at Sacramento. The Suns coaching staff would differ with him about how solid his defense was but it still was a positive game especially for how he is settling for perimeter shots less often.

Morris ran the floor for fast-break finishes scored on a follow dunk and got into the lane against Sacramento and was the high scorer in a brief public scrimmage Saturday.

“We’re trying to get him to do that more often” Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said. “He’s done a pretty good job offensively of getting the ball inside a little more and crashing boards. Defensively there are still things that he needs to work on. He continues to get better offensively at getting in spots for better shots instead of floating around on the outside waiting for a 3-point shot. He can make those but we’d rather have him dominate inside if we can.”

Post-up scores are not Morris’ strength but they can be if he runs the floor and gets an early seal before defenses can get set and offer help. That is where the constant effort in necessary. It is easy to pop off a screen and wait at the 3-point line. It takes energy to outrun someone else for 80 feet to get position on the block.

“That’s a part of the game” Morris said of playing with consistent high effort. “If I just play hard on some days when I’m not making shots I’m on the defensive end getting stops or on the offensive end getting rebounds. That’s where it starts. If we get stops we can get out in transition and play to our strengths.”

Only Marcin Gortat (three) has played more continuous seasons in Phoenix than Morris (two) and Shannon Brown (two). Channing Frye played three consecutive Suns seasons before missing last year and Goran Dragic has 3 1/2 Suns seasons but in two stints.