With the Cavaliers and Tristan Thompson still trying to work out a contract extension that will come at a hefty price if agreed upon, another possible option has come up in trade rumors for the Cavs: Phoenix Suns’ frustrated and frustrating power forward Markieff Morris. There are many reasons why the Cavs would want to bring Morris over, but also a few as to why the Cavs should completely avoid him. We’ll start with the pros, and see whether they outweigh the cons.
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For one, Morris can play as a tall small forward or a quick power forward. He’s got the necessary skillset to play both forward positions. He stands at a tall 6’10, but only 245, which means he could get bullied down low. However, offensively, he can do whatever he wants. He proved that against the Cavs when he scored 35 points on 15-21 shooting, including 2-3 from downtown.
Morris has the ability to score at will. He had 65 games in double figures last season, and he scored more than 15 points in 44 of them. His outside game is solid, and he’s only getting better judging by his offseason workouts. He can hit the midrange, the three-pointer, and the post up, fadaway jumpers. On top of his scoring, he is getting better and dishing the ball to his teammates at more than two assists per game from the PF spot. Now, that may not seem like a lot, but he ranked 10th in assists among power forwards.
As oddly as it may sound in this situation, Morris values ‘family over everything,’ hence his constantly-used social media hashtag ‘FOE.’ It’s important to have a family guy on your team, and if the Cavs were to try and acquire him, he’d be a good student to the teachers on the team like LeBron James, Mo Williams, Richard Jefferson, James Jones, and even Kevin Love. On top of that, he’d definitely see his brother four times a year when Cleveland plays division rival Detroit.
There’s no denying Markieff Morris` talent but he also brings with him a number of concerns which demand extra caution from the Cavaliers` side. Here are the cons to bringing Morris to the Cavs.
Despite scoring very well for Phoenix last season, things should still be taken into perspective. Morris` usage rating for the Suns was at 23.3 which was obviously higher than Kevin Love’s 21.7 from last year. Should the Cavs take him, he wouldn’t be getting that much touches backing up Love or playing alongside one or two other members of the Big Three.
If he isn’t scoring, he won’t be getting many rebounds for his size either. He only had 12 double-doubles last year despite playing all 82 games. He had 65 games in double figure scoring, so obviously scoring wasn’t his issue there. Blocks aren’t his cup of tea as well so that leaves a lot of big man production that the Cavs must cover. He’s nowhere near the paint presence Tristan Thompson is and that spells trouble when matching up against Greg Monroe, Chris Bosh, Paul Millsap, or Pau Gasol in the playoffs. Last year, he allowed opponents to shoot a 52.4% accuracy clip at the rim.
But the biggest baggage of them all is his maturity – or lack thereof. Morris clashed with his own coach, Jeff Hornacek, and even went to the lengths of not speaking with anyone from the Suns organization at all. One can make an argument by referring to J.R. Smith’s turnaround in Cleveland but, unlike Smith, Markieff Morris does not have any prior relationship established with LeBron James and that was a major factor in the enigmatic shooting guard being kept in check. By the way, Morris also finished second in the league with 15 technical fouls.
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Cleveland is in a great position to finally win a championship and a volatile personality such as Morris` is something that could easily explode in front of their faces. The risks of taking Morris fairly outweighs the potential returns and the Cavaliers aren’t that desperate to entertain such a gamble at this time.