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Markieff Morris: The arguments for his inclusion on the Pelicans roster

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If felony charges are not a bother, then please, don't ignore the beneficial side of the Morris brother left behind in Phoenix.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

As reported yesterday, the Pelicans are interested in Markieff Morris. Despite a looming felony charge, the biggest problem with the rumor isn't the player but rather the rumor itself. Dell Demps is not known for making his interests publicly known. Whenever he has consummated a deal, the news has usually come out of thin air.

Nevertheless, we're going to proceed as though there is an iota of truth to the story. This morning we'll examine the positives for bringing Morris to New Orleans, and in the afternoon, Jonny will publish the negatives.

Before jumping to the list of pro's, we should assume the Pelicans will get be getting the Markieff resembling the player of years past. Prior to the start of the exhibition season, he made it known he didn't want to play for the Suns organization due to their blindside trade of his brother to the Detroit Pistons. With neither Morris no longer tied to Phoenix, it's logically to assume Markieff can follow Marcus' lead and find success on a different NBA team.

The Positives

  1. When Markieff arrived in Phoenix, Alvin Gentry was the head coach and he positively gushed about his potential. A reunion with a former coach should help Morris get his 2015-16 season back on track.
  2. "I love him. I love him. I think he is going to be a really good player," Gentry said. "He is a little bit different than your typical rookie, because he is a real mature guy and a big-time competitor. He is going to grow through some growing pains, but I think he is going to be fine. Actually, he's going to be more than fine."

  3. David mentioned this yesterday, but it's worth repeating: Markieff is on an extremely cap-friendly contract. Following this season, he is on the books for another three years at 8 million per. Conversely, Ryan Anderson's deal runs out this season, and with how well he's been playing while proving his health, I foresee a team offering him a multi-year contract ranging from $15 to somewhere close to $18 million per year. Don't believe me? Have a look at what Eric Pincus tweeted yesterday.
  4. Morris has no history of missing games due to injury. Since his rookie season, he has missed only 1 game. During the same time frame, Anderson missed 81 contests. That's a whole season worth of games! As its been proven time and again, healthy teams are better able to make waves during the playoffs. Right, Golden State Warriors?
  5. Morris is better suited for an uptempo system. He is faster, more athletic and a better finisher. In Gentry's uptempo system, Anderson has attempted to score in transition 7.4% of the time, and when he has, his conversion rate has been poor (44.0 FG%).
  6. Due to the same physical attributes, Morris is typically a stronger defender. According to NBA Savant, he held opponents in 2014-15 to a 46.8 FG% vs Anderson's 49.0 FG%. When need be, Markieff can stay with small forwards for longer and body up centers better. For a defensive strategy that likes to switch a lot, this is important.

Back in July, I pointed out that Ryan Anderson was not a good fit for this Pelicans roster under Alvin Gentry. Despite the fact that many believed he would seamlessly fit into a Channing Frye type of role, Dell Demps would look to move him because he's miles from being a necessary dynamic player.

During Frye's time in Phoenix, Steve Nash was the center of the Suns' universe. Let the 2-time MVP break down the defense and find the wide open man. The only requirement of his teammates was that they be adept at spacing the floor.

Well, the New Orleans offense isn't going to run in similar manner. Since his days in Phoenix, Gentry has been all about ball movement and motion. During his time with the Clippers and Warriors, both teams finished first in secondary assists per game. The number of passes per game were always higher when Alvin sat on that particular team's bench.

The power forwards on both of those teams? Blake Griffin and Draymond Green. Two versatile and dynamic players that are nearly polar opposites of Ryan Anderson.

PPG 3PA per 36 AST % DREB % Defensive Rating OPP FG% at rim
Blake Griffin 22.4 0.4 26.2% 17.9% 103.5 50.7%
Draymond Green 13.3 4.8 16.1% 22.4% 96.0 46.9%
Ryan Anderson 17.9 7.7 5.4% 12.7% 108.7 55.4%

Morris AST % last season? 12.4%. DREB%? 17.0%. Defensive Rating? 103.8.  OPP FG% at the rim? 52.7%. On paper, the only categories Anderson found more success revolved around scoring -- points and the three-point shot. If his shot is off, he's not known for doing much else.

Hey look, quick ball movement, attempt to set a solid screen and a nice find for a good assist underneath the rim. All on one play. I bet Pelicans fans could be privileged to a lot more of that.

Most of us like Ryan Anderson and would rate his current season as one of the few bright spots on this year's squad. However, it's not working enough to see it through, his time in New Orleans is likely limited and he's one of the few players with value who will net a positive return. Markieff Morris isn't the game-changer many of us dream about at night, but he would present a much better fit alongside Anthony Davis.

Now, what to do about Omer Asik...