RTC NBA Draft Profiles: Marcus Morris

Posted by nvr1983 on June 17th, 2011

Player NameMarcus Morris

School: Kansas

Height/Weight: 6’9/230 lbs.

NBA Position: Power Forward

Projected Draft Range: Mid- to Late Lottery

Overview: On a roster full of potential first round draft picks, Marcus Morris established himself as the team’s top player. Although the team did not live up to expectations as it fell in the Elite 8 to a hot VCU team, anybody following Marcus had to consider this year a major step for him individually as he was named Big 12 Player of the Year and 2nd team All-American while averaging 17.2 PPG on 57% FG and 7.6 RPG. In doing so, he exhibited an ability to not only play inside, but also an ability shoot from outside. Although he will never be a major threat from the perimeter (and he is not as good of a shooter as his twin brother Markieff–34.2% versus 42.4%) his shooting has progressed to the point where a NBA team would have to at least respect his outside shot and bring a forward outside to put a hand in his face. The big question for Marcus will be whether he is big enough to battle inside with NBA power forwards or if he will fall into the dreaded “tweener” category. If he does fall into that group he may lack the perimeter skills necessary to compete against NBA small forwards, but he may be able to make up for it because of his “motor” and willingness to battle all over the court.

Marcus has the skills to play in the NBA, but can he battle inside?

Will Translate to the NBA: Marcus will probably end up being one of those versatile all-court power forwards in the NBA, which traditionally has been a warning sign for NBA executives, but in recent years has become in vogue with several solid NBA players adopting such styles. At times Marcus could play at either the 3 or 4 position, which could be a blessing or a curse in that he could fill either position depending on the situation, but it could also expose him to mismatches in certain situations. He probably will never be a superstar and might not even become a perennial All-Star, but he should be a solid rotation player even if his physical limitations (height and explosiveness) limit his ability to become a major impact player.

Needs Work: Marcus is one of the more fundamentally sound big men in this year’s Draft. Unfortunately his major areas of weakness (height and explosiveness) are not areas that he can improve upon significantly, but he can try to work on ways to mask those deficiencies. For example, he could work on his rebounding technique and a little more muscle to help compensate and make up for a relatively mediocre rebounding numbers in college. Another area that he could work on is his shooting. Although we already said he is a respectable shooter from outside that does not mean that he cannot improve significantly. While his 3-point shooting is good enough for a player of his size, his free throw shooting (69%) could use some work to make him less of a liability late in games.

Comparison Players: With a little bit of work on his outside game and after adding a few pounds of muscle, he could conceivably be a poor man’s David West because of the combination of his solid inside-outside game and high energy style of play. He will never approach what West was at his peak, but he could become a less talented version with a similar skill set. The other name that is sometimes thrown around is Al Harrington. Morris lacks Harrington’s athleticism, but his discipline and consistency may make up for his deficiencies in this case. Marcus’s all-around game is still relatively rare at the NBA level (at least a good all-around game) so if he does pan out the list of comparison players should be pretty short.

Best Case Scenario: Like we just said the best case for Marcus is to become a poor man’s version of David West. A lot of this will depend on his ability to develop his outside shot some more to keep defenses honest. His combination of athleticism and size should create match-up problems for opposing defenses and when he gets going he could have some pretty big games (20+ points) early in his career. He probably won’t be a shutdown defender, but with his energy he should become a solid defender particularly if he adds on a little muscle when he comes to the NBA. His ceiling is probably being an occasional All-Star, but he has less “bust” potential than many of the other forwards in this year’s Draft so it seems like a reasonable trade-off.

2014 Projection: Marcus has a game that is essentially NBA-ready. There are some areas where he needs a little bit of work, but he is more polished than many of the other big men in the Draft so his transition should be relatively easy. In 3 years, Marcus should have a comfortable position in the NBA. He will probably be starting and should be averaging around 10 PPG and 6 RPG. Like we said earlier the question for Marcus is what his maximum upside is. Unfortunately I am not sure if he will progress much more beyond that. He will probably never become a 20/10 guy like an Elton Brand because he lacks the explosiveness that Brand had (think LA Clipper version not the current broken down version), but for where Marcus will be drafted that still should be reasonable.

Best NBA Fit: Washington would probably be the ideal fit for him. He could adapt to play an up-tempo style of game along with John Wall and the Wizards could use a young player of his caliber. He would have to find a way to get minutes play behind Andray Blatche, but Marcus is a much more efficient scorer/player so the Wizards would probably find a way to get him on the court. Another interesting potential destination for Marcus is Golden State and several mock drafts have him going there, but they already have David Lee there and those two would make for a very short starting frontcourt. It is possible that he could flourish there, but the Warriors would need to continue to play a very up-tempo game for that to be feasible.

Scout’s Take (Chris Denker from Netscouts Basketball): “he’s more versatile than Markieff, and a little better player now… he can face up and drive you to the hole a little more… but they’re both big-time contributors and should be able to play at this level.”

nvr1983 (1398 Posts)

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