Morris Twins Showing Value on Defensive End

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Blocks from big men impress people. It’s confirmation that they’re aware of their height and rise (literally) to the challenge of an opposing player going up for a shot.

The Morris twins don’t let them get to that point.

Quietly, Markieff and Marcus Morris have become proficient defenders by getting their stances low and their hands on the ball.

Both average 0.9 steals per game despite reserve roles and minutes. Markieff plays 25.9 minutes per contest, Marcus logs 22.6. Those numbers put them in the top 20 among bench players in steals per game (top 10 among forwards).

Put another way, Markieff averages 1.2 steals and Marcus 1.5 per 36 minutes.

Suns Head Coach Jeff Hornacek has noticed their effectiveness, especially when the pair forms a disruptive defensive tandem off the bench.

“They’ve got strong hands,” he said. “They’ve got a knack for when the guy brings it up and they reach in there and get it.”

The thefts come in a variety of ways. They can poke the ball loose on an entry pass. Strip a driving big man. Even pick Kyrie Irving’s pocket.

Why the steal over the block? Hornacek thinks it’s a calculated adjustment by both forwards.

“Regular big men are long enough to block shots,” Hornacek said. “I think Markieff and Marcus know that they’re not the longest of guys and that their best chance is not at the peak of somebody’s jump, but to get it as the ball’s going up. They’ve probably perfected that over the years."