Updated Mar 26, 2013 - 4:08 pm
Suns' message to Markieff Morris: Rebound or don't play
Phoenix Suns coach Lindsey Hunter is making it crystal clear what he expects from Markieff Morris.
"If you rebound, you play. If you don't, you sit," Hunter said he's told his second-year power forward. "What else can I say? It's clear cut.
"It's not about making shots," Hunter continued. "It's about competing defensively and rebounding and doing all those things because if you do those things, the other things will come. You'll get your attempts. You'll get all that stuff because you'll be on the floor. You can't get all those things if you're on the bench."
Morris grabbed 15 rebounds, two shy of a career high, Sunday against Brooklyn. Nine of those rebounds came on the offensive end.
"(Hunter) knows my ability to rebound and I know it myself," he said.
It was the second time this month Morris had double-digit rebounds in a game, bringing his season average to 4.6, matching his performance from last year.
"Definitely not where I should be or close to where I should be," he said of his rebounding number. "Basically, (Hunter) has given me the option: rebound or don't play."
Morris found himself not playing two games before. Hunter benched him, unhappy with his effort that produced only two rebounds in 11 first half minutes against Washington.
"I respect it," he said of Hunter's decision to sit him in quarters three and four. "You're supposed to come out and play hard no matter what, every night."
Morris called rebounding "one of my natural abilities."
He said he noticed something after watching game film with his brother.
"I've been boxing out a lot. That's what I've been doing," Morris explained. "Honestly, I think that's the wrong thing to do. I've been doing it in college and I was successful with it. But (in the NBA) you've just got to go get the ball. A lot of guys don't even block out. They just go get it."
Hunter believes Morris, enjoying his best stretch of the season with 49 rebounds over his last six games, has just scratched the surface with his ability.
"I think he has another level (to reach)," Hunter said, "and I'm going to keep pushing him to it."
Craig Grialou, Reporter
- Jon Barry, ESPN NBA insider - Friday April 18Who is the team to beat in the East?
- Channing Frye, Suns forward - Thursday April 17Channing discusses the Suns' completed season, and what he is looking forward to in the offseason.
- Lon Babby, Suns president of basketball operations - Thursday April 17Lon Babby reacts to the Suns' season and talks with the guys about the optimism surrounding the org
- Al McCoy, Hall of Fame voice of the Suns - Thursday April 17What should we make of the Sunsí season?
- Ryan McDonough, Suns general manager - Wednesday April 16Suns general manager Ryan McDonough discusses the team missing the playoffs.