Markieff Morris was shooting 39.7 percent from the field and possessed a PER of 11.0 when the Washington Wizards dealt a top-nine protected first-round pick to the Phoenix Suns pick in exchange for his services. Those are terrible numbers, ones that suggest the 26 year old was closer to being out of the league entirely than emerging as the subject of one of its most intriguing transactions at the trade deadline.
But like Morris’ incessant clashing with Suns higher-ups and even embarrassing on-court effort, there’s more to those statistics and his play overall than meets the eye.
When the Wizards mortgaged a piece of the future by dealing for Morris, they did so with the hope – or understanding, optimists might say – that the player who made headlines for all the wrong reasons in the desert wasn’t the guy who would be playing in the nation’s capital. And though he’s yet to completely find the footing with Washington that once made him one of basketball’s most versatile big men, it definitely seems he’s on track to doing just that – and the reason why is obvious.
After scoring nine points and grabbing three rebounds in 21 minutes off the bench during the Wizards’ win over the short-handed Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, Morris told CSNMA’s Keely Diven why he feels so comfortable with his new team.
“[The Wizards] have got a super family atmosphere. All the guys stay together. We got text messages going on all the time,” he said when asked how he’s settling in. “I played with a couple guys and it feels like a family atmosphere. It feels like home.”