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Marcus Morris Has Chance to Escape Markieff’s Shadow

Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports

As Markieff Morris continues to demand a trade, dig himself a deeper hole and cast himself as a malcontent on a Phoenix Suns team that’s given him nothing but opportunities, brother Marcus has a real chance to finally emerge from his brother’s shadow and create his own arc as a professional in the NBA.

Since the two came into the league together, the twins have been synonymous. When Markieff was drafted 13th overall by the Suns, the Houston Rockets completed the package by selecting Marcus with the 14th pick. After about a season and a half of uneven production and multiple D-League trips, the Rockets sent Marcus to the desert to be with brother Markieff at the 2013 trade deadline. With the brothers reunited, the Phoenix organization bet on their synergy and future together — despite already doing so much for these two — with a $52 million joint extension just before the 2014-15 season.

Now, with the Suns having traded Marcus to Detroit earlier in the offseason in order to re-shuffle the roster complexion, “the other Morris twin” has a chance to put his name at the front of the pack. With a clear lane to individualism and a window to create his own brand, Marcus should view the move out of town the item that truly ignites his NBA career.

Although Marcus was originally scathing upon initially being moved, his perspective has evolved as time has moved forward, and he’s put distance between himself and the situation. Instead of allowing his emotion to dictate his decision-making, Marcus’s mature approach has him looking a lot better than his brother. Courtesy of the Associated Press, here’s what Marcus had to say at the time of the move (via ESPN):

“Everybody knew how bad I wanted to play with my brother. Phoenix knew. For them to trade me without consent or telling or anything like that was kind of like a, I would say slap in the face, because of the contract I took from those guys and the money I took from them. That was kind of a slap in the face.”

Upon being introduced by the Pistons, Marcus took a different tone and approach — one that was filled with perspective and maturity (via Perry Farrell of the Detroit Free Press):

“I kind of wanted to play with my brother so much that I kind of took away from myself. I didn’t think I had an opportunity to get better. I don’t think I had the chance to grow as a player over there. I think the opportunity is here for me. This gives me a chance to branch out. In my opinion, God works in mysterious ways, and He has plans for certain people.”

While his brother continues to make himself into a caricature in league circles while coming across as entitled, Marcus is starting down a different path. Now with a team that wants him and is going to give him a shot at carving out a real role with meaningful minutes, Marcus can blossom in a manner that showcases what we want to see emphasized: His on-court prowess.

Brought to Detroit to help the team space the floor around franchise center Andre Drummond, Morris has something he hasn’t had previously. Now on a team that went out of their way to trade for him and in a place where there are few — if any — roadblocks to Morris becoming a successful NBA contributor exist, “the other” Morris brother can change the entire narrative around him and his game by simply performing on the floor. Instead of taking the road of basketball vagabond, Morris can use this new launch point to send his personal trajectory sky-high in a way it never has been before.

It’ll be on Marcus to take advantage of and leverage the new outlet he’s been gifted, and that’ll tell us a lot about what we — and the Pistons — need to know about his future. While brother Markieff keeps sitting on the sidelines, continues making his trade demand known and looks foolish in the process, Marcus — previously known as Keef’s brother — has the chance to become so much more than that.

In a league where you’re paid for performance and reputation, Marcus has the chance to set himself up for a major pay day while his brother looks prepared to flush millions down the drain.

Maybe that’ll finally be what separates the previously inseparable Morris twins.

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