Marcus Morris always envisioned having moments like the game-winning shot he made at the buzzer Monday night. It just was never going to be in NBA Summer League two years after he was drafted. But after being cast off in Houston and winding up with diminishing time at the end of last season with Phoenix, Morris needed to be here to start a clean slate with his new coach, Jeff Hornacek. When the Suns traded for Morris in February, the primary thought was that pairing him with his twin, Markieff, would bring the best out in both of them, but it was also to add a player with motor, athleticism and shot creation. He created a great shot Friday. Even after missing nine of his first 13 shots, Marcus Morris took an inbound in a tie game Monday night at Thomas & Mack Center and dribbled by Minnesota’s Solomon Jones before pulling up for a 20-foot shot that gave the Suns a 91-89 victory. Morris thought those sort of moments were coming when he seemed liberated by getting traded to the Suns, but he wound up being benched for four entire games in the last month of the season by interim coach Lindsey Hunter and playing fewer than 10 minutes in five others, while Wes Johnson, now a Los Angeles Laker via free agency, was getting more playing time. “That was last year,” Morris said. “You’ve got to keep it behind you. This year, I’ve been in Phoenix a lot, just working hard and getting my body right and getting in better shape. I’m happy that me and Keef actually played summer league, because it helps us go right into the season in good shape and we can keep building from here.” When Hornacek took over, he told Morris that he envisions him as a big small forward who can stretch the floor, post and play in the pick-and-roll. Marcus and Markieff, who bought a Valley home together in March, were coming to the US Airways Center practice floor twice a day this summer to work on their games, particularly pick-and-rolls, while most Suns are somewhere cooler. They have been the Suns’ top scorers in two Summer-League wins, with Marcus not shooting well Monday but showing an ability to draw fouls by driving, crashing boards and getting into transition. “It’s been fun,” Marcus said. “I’ve been happy since I’ve been here. I’m just excited to see what the season brings. I think me and Keef are really going to change the team this season.” The Morris twins, Kendall Marshall and P.J. Tucker all have NBA experience but were losing by 24 on Friday to an inexperienced Minnesota team. Their summer team has scored 32 and 31 points in the first halves but reacted to score 60 in each 20-minute second half. After free agent Arnize Onuaku stood out Saturday, it was former Temple guard Dionte Christmas that helped spur Friday’s rally with 16 points off the bench.
Phoenix Suns’ Morris twins hope to ‘change the team’
Arizona Republic | Jul 16