What Pistons fans can expect out of Markieff Morris this season
While free agency has slowed down a bit since the onslaught of Sunday evening, the Detroit Pistons are not done making moves, as they recently signed Markieff Morris to a two-year, 3.6 million dollar deal.
This isn’t the first time in recent years that a Morris brother with a big beard has played for the Pistons, as Markieff’s twin brother Marcus played 159 games with Motor City from 2015 to 2017. Marcus Morris was a reliable starter for the Pistons earlier this decade, and while it’s unlikely that his twin brother will start, Pistons fans are also hoping Markieff can be a reliable piece.
Detroit is using their full biannual exception ($3.6 million) to sign Morris for the next two years, and are hoping the former Kansas Jayhawk can provide experience and much-needed frontcourt depth for this young Pistons team.
Marcus Morris was able to stay on the floor for the Pistons through a strong work ethic and a fairly gritty playing style. Hopefully, Markieff can bring that “same toughness and no-nonsense demeanor” that one Pistons executive said that he had to the Detroit Free Press.
While he is known for using brute force inside and sucking up rebounds inside, Morris proved that he has a reliable jumper in his time with the Washington Wizards, as he shot over 35 percent in three seasons with the squad, forcing the defense’s hand and stretching the floor for fellow offensive players.
Hopefully, Morris’ toughness pairs well with Thon Maker, who looks to be the ideal frontcourt mate on the second unit, as both players possess a wingspan of over 6’10” and each possesses enough inside-outside game to not get in each other’s way on offense.
What is probably the most likely reason for signing Morris is that he provides the Pistons insurance for an injury from Blake Griffin, which sadly seems like a foregone conclusion at this point. With Griffin’s vast history of knee injuries, having a reliable veteran behind who can take over in a bunch is a nice luxury that not every team has.
The signing of Morris, paired with the signings of Derrick Rose and Tony Snell, prove that Pistons are making a short-term movement to compete in the East as if Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard leaves Toronto, the eastern conference is about as open as it’s ever been.
The front office also made smart decisions in making each of the aforementioned deals short term, as Snell, Rose, Morris, and Andre Drummond’s contracts will all be expiring at this point next summer.
Whether adding Morris, Snell, and Rose work out short-term for the Pistons or not, the foresight to make all those deals short-term show that the Pistons aren’t making a huge investment, should one or more of these players not work out in Detroit. These deals help give the Pistons two things they haven’t had much of in this mediocre decade; salary flexibility and a multitude of tradeable assets, both of which are required to succeed in today’s NBA.