Former Kansas stars Marcus and Markieff Morris talk big games, but many questions remain about the twins as the June 23 draft approaches. It’s clear it will be put up or shut up for the two when they finally do enter the league. – Anthony Olivieri
The twins are projected as top 20 selections, according to the latest mock draft from ESPN’s Chad Ford. Both players are 6-foot-9, but Marcus is listed at No. 16 on Ford’s board, while Markieff comes in at No. 20.
Markieff is not as skilled as his brother Marcus, who has a more refined offensive repertoire. But that hasn’t stopped either of them from talking the game of an All-Star.
“I didn’t think he was as good as advertised,” Morris told the Washington Post’s Michael Lee.
Strong words considering that Williams led Arizona to the Elite Eight and had a big game against Kansas last November.
Apparently, that wasn’t enough to impress Markieff.
“He got the benefit of the calls from the ref and we had to guard him different,” Morris told the Post. “He definitely had a good game against us, because we couldn’t guard him how we wanted to guard him, and that’s what happened.”
Looks like Markieff already has mastered NBA-sized excuses. But at least he admitted that Williams had a good game. So, that’s it; Markieff had to stop flapping his gums then, right?
“What he did to Duke, he wouldn’t do that to me or my brother. I’m dead serious,” Markieff said of Williams’ impressive 32-point, 17-rebound performance in the NCAA tournament.
You’re right, Markieff, you guys held him to a measly 27 points and eight rebounds. Forgive us.
Marcus then decided to join in on the fun. He was just as cocky in a recent interview with WSSP in Milwaukee after being asked about a comparison to Al Harrington, the Denver Nuggets’ forward who has been an effective NBA player for over a decade.
“I think the Al Harrington comparison is a little accurate, but I think maybe Carmelo (Anthony) I would say because I’m a mid-range king,” Marcus told the radio station.
Tell us how you really feel, Marcus. Or should we say, your majesty?
Don’t worry, he did when asked to compare himself and Markieff to another set of basketball-playing twins, Brook and Robin Lopez, who starred at Stanford before jumping to the NBA.
Will the Morris twins be better?
“Is that a trick question? Not to take anything away from those guys, I think they are great players, I just think me and Markieff have been through a little bit more,” Marcus said. “I mean I think we have different aspects of our game that are just a little bit more than those guys.”
Robin Lopez, of course, is nothing more than a marginal rotation player for the Phoenix Suns, but Brook is a talented center who the New Jersey Nets consider a prized possession.
That’s not say that the Morris twins won’t be good but, by setting the bar impossibly high and making enemies along the way, they are making it tougher on themselves.
There’s confidence and irrational confidence, a term used often by popular columnist Bill Simmons when a player has no second thoughts about doing something outrageous on the court or field.
Simmons tweeted after Thursday’s Game 5 of the NBA Finals: “Jason Terry’s last 3 was the biggest irrational confidence shot of all-time. I’d put it against anything.”
Of course, Terry’s shot went in, which is to say that the Morris twins may puff their chests out all the way to successful NBA careers. But the twins’ comments seem a bit overly confident – and there’s a difference.
Sort of like the players on the playground who think they are little better than they actually are. Simply put, the Morris twins are talking as if they have proved something.
Their careers at Kansas were nothing more than unfulfilled promise. Despite a 95-14 record during their three years in Lawrence, the two did not make the Final Four. In fact, their team was upset by Northern Iowa and Virginia Commonwealth in the last two postseasons, respectively.
Of course the two twins all talked plenty of junk before the VCU game as well only to end up on the wrong side of a 10-point loss.
“Toward the end of the game, we looked over and saw them crying but before the game they were talking a lot,” VCU guard Joey Rodriguez later recalled on “Lopez Tonight.” “We were meeting for captains and one of their best players is like 6-8 and I’m like 5-9 so I’m like looking up at him and he said, ‘You guys had a great run but it’s about to come to an end.’ ”
Talking trash, not backing it up and then crying afterward? Chris Bosh is impressed.
Maybe, the twins are saving all their heroics for the professional ranks. But something tells us that it’s not going to be as easy as they think it is.
Marcus has a long way to be ‘Melo, and Harrington probably won’t be happy if he catches wind of the comments.
And Markieff, well, he’s not even the best Morris twin – where does he get off insulting Williams? Consider Markieff’s most recent entry on NBADraft.net:
“He shows pick n’ pop potential and the ability to man up opposing bigs … Though he lacks the upside of most lottery picks, he’s one of the safest options in this year’s draft … Comparing him to his brother Marcus, Markieff is bigger, stronger and more athletic but lacks his younger twin’s offensive ability.”
A guy with “pick n’ pop potential” – does that sound like someone who should be looking down his nose at an explosive talent like Williams?
It does in the heads of the Morris twins.
And sometimes, that’s all that matters.
Anthony Olivieri is the managing editor of LostLettermen.com. His column appears each Wednesday.