The jokes pointed at the Phoenix Suns usually take aim at the franchise's propensity to bring in players who are the lesser of NBA-playing brothers.
In the most recent case, the Suns made it a moot point about which brother was better. On Feb. 8 they traded a second-round pick to acquire Marcus Morris from the Houston Rockets, bringing him and twin Markieff Morris back together. The trade was done because the Suns sought Marcus during the 2011 draft even though they took Markieff 13th overall and with both on the board, according to the New York Times.
But the move was also prompted by Markieff, who often asked former head coach Alvin Gentry to push for the move, Gentry told the Times. It's not a secret that the twins are reliant upon one another -- so much so that Marcus is sometimes referred to within the organization as "Markieff batteries."
Gentry, who a while back was an assistant coach at the Morrises' alma mater, Kansas, was also advised by current Jayhawks coach Bill Self that the twins would bring the most out of one another.
"You need Marcus," Self said, according to Gentry. "If you can get him, he'll make Markieff work harder."
But now it's a wonder how much it's working.
Shortly after Marcus was acquired from the Rockets, he produced a solid stretch of six games, five of which were double-digit scoring affairs. He's since fallen almost completely out of the rotation.
Meanwhile, Markieff, who is the bigger of the twins and more of a power forward, has struggled in consistency. He's currently starting for the Suns and averaging 7.6 points and 4.6 rebounds per game, but he's neither the strong rebounding presence nor an efficient offensive force. He's failed to shoot above 40 percent in either of his first two seasons.
What is it about twins? The New York Times reports there is indeed a bond between twin athletes:
Nancy L. Segal, a psychologist and director of the Twin Studies Center at Cal State Fullerton, said that twin athletes grew up with a "24-hour practice partner," had an uncanny knowledge of the other's positioning and thinking as teammates and tended to encourage and challenge each other without being resentful of the other's success.
In the last several years, the Suns have employed Robin Lopez, twin of Nets center Brook; Taylor Griffin, the older brother of Clippers All-Star Blake; Jarron Collins, twin of Jason; Luke Zeller, the older brother of the Cavs' Tyler Zeller; and Markieff Morris, the twin of Marcus.
Phoenix also made history in having brothers Dick and Tom Van Arsdale on the same team in the 1976-77 season.
As for the Morris twins, taking their game up a notch still could take time. But at the least, the life-long support system shared between the two is there.
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