Markieff Morris understands the way a draft works. After all, he was the Suns’ lottery pick this past season.
He is fully aware that the GM drafts him. But Morris is looking to flip that concept on its ear by partaking in a little politicking.
Morris, who was selected to play in the BBVA Rising Stars Game at All-Star Weekend in Orlando, is familiar with the new structure of the contest. Instead of the rookies playing the sophomores like they’ve done in the past, the Suns rookie will be placed into a pool of both rookie and second-year players that will be chosen by one of two GMs.
The two GMs happen to be former Suns players Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal. But the first-year power forward isn’t shy about stating who he wants to draft him.
“I’m going with Sir Charles,” he said beaming. “When I was in college, Sir Charles picked us to win the national championship and I actually talked to him on the phone about it. He was rocking with me and my brother, so I’m going to roll with him.”
When Morris was suiting up for a Kansas squad that was one of the favorites to win it all, Barkley offered the Morris brothers some encouragement.
“He just said that they we were doing a great job and to keep it up because he picked us to win it all,” Morris recalled. “He told us he had our back.”
Although Morris is a lifelong hooper, this will be the first time he’s ever attended All-Star Weekend. As a Philadelphia native, his favorite All-Star memories were of Allen Iverson dominating his way to two All-Star Game MVPs.
And while he’s looking to take in the sights and sounds of the entire experience, he’s actually more interested in spending some time with his twin brother Marcus, and his mother, Angel, who are both meeting him in Orlando.
“It’s a good feeling to be a part of it,” Morris said. “But I’m more of a family guy, so with my mom and brother coming out there, I’m more looking forward to being with them.”