When the Detroit Pistons first signed Markieff Morris, Pistons head coach Dwane Casey explained that they were especially excited about his physicality and his toughness. Morris is known around the league as a player who doesn’t back down and isn’t afraid to get under opposing players’ skin.
Not only are these valuable traits, they’re also part of what made Rockets Nation love and appreciate former Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley. By the same token, they’re also what makes Rockets Nation dislike seeing Pat Bev on the opposing team. Another player with a similar reputation is Draymond Green, who is also known to be an irritant and who prides himself on capitalizing on the psychological aspect of the game.
Although Morris isn’t exactly at the level of Beverley and Green, he brings this attitude and approach in his own right. A recent example of this was during the Pistons’ matchup against the Washington Wizards on December 16th.
Morris issued a hard foul to Wizards sharpshooter Davis Bertans, which Bertans didn’t appreciate. Upon getting up, Bertans had choice words for Morris, who had been assessed with a flagrant foul. Bertans would go on to miss one of the free throws and continued to chirp at Morris, which is certainly the reaction he was seeking. When the two teams squared off again on January 20th, Morris made sure to let Bertans know he wasn’t over the previous feud and kept it going with yet another hard foul.
This is a component of the game that not many current Rockets players have, with the exception of Russell Westbrook. Perhaps this is why Morris was trying to re-unite with Russ when it was announced that the Oklahoma City Thunder were shopping him over the summer.
We haven’t heard anything to suggest that the Rockets were interested in possibly claiming Morris off of waivers, and at this point the Rockets would be on a time crunch if they wanted to do so. For this reason it seems unlikely that they’ll make a claim, but if they do, Morris would certainly be worth it.