Celtics Draft Preview: Markieff Morris

For the next month, Celticsblog.com will be taking a look at potential Celtics draft picks in the 2011 NBA Draft. First up (and in no particular order), Kansas PF Markieff Morris.

Is there room for another Kansas alum on the Boston Celtics roster? If the player in question is Markieff Morris, the answer is an easy yes.

Morris is slated as an end-of-the-lottery pick, and the Celtics certainly don't expect him to fall to them at 25, but Ainge has been active in the draft in pasts, so who knows where the C's will pick from on June 23?

Besides, Morris has attributes that would fit in nicely with the Celtics (age aside, of course).

His measurements from the Draft Combine:

Birthday: 9/2/1989     Height: 6'9.25"     Weight: 240.8     Wingspan: 6'10.75"     Standing Reach: 8'10.5"

His per-game stats from his junior season at Kansas:

Minutes: 24.4     Points: 13.6     3p%: .424     Rebounds: 8.3     Blocks: 1.1     Turnovers: 2.1

If you've heard about Markieff Morris this season, then you've heard about his twin brother, Marcus, slated to go just a few picks before him. The two have virtually been together since birth, and have always played on the same basketball teams all the way through college. Markieff has been the unheralded of the two brothers for some time now, but may add more value to the Celtics than his brother, and has seen his stock rise considerably this season.

Markieff is a better rebounder, leading the Jayhawks this season in that category, and measured bigger at the combine than his brother. In fact, Morris' body-type makes him one of the most NBA-ready bodies in this year's draft, and allows him to be more of a contributor off the bench right away.

"A garbage man," Morris told DraftExpress when asked what kind of role he can see himself in. "Any role that a team needs me to play, you know what I mean? I really want to get better in all aspects. I'm ready to contribute to a team whenever my number is called, and I just want to work hard."

Morris can stretch the floor; just take a look at his 42-percent shooting from beyond the arc. It's doubtful teams will ask Morris to utilize that part of his game right away, but it's something that can be built upon. And by all accounts, he's a pretty good low-post scorer - light on his feet, considering his size. But according to him, he can dribble too.

"What people don't know about, I can dribble a little bit," he told DraftExpress. "At times I can be a Lamar Odom type, at times I can be a Lamarcus Aldridge, but I can guard the 4, 5, or 3 at times. So I'll just be a versatile forward."

Morris is a self-proclaimed "laid back" guy, but doesn't show it on the defensive end.

Courtesy of NBADraft, who gives Morris an overall rating of 94, his weaknesses:

"He's effective within a few feet of the rim and as a spot up shooter on the perimeter, but he's missing an in between game ... Facing up and using a dribble is not part of his repertoire ... Missing advanced high post moves, and struggles to draw fouls despite his physical interior play ... His ceiling is not as high as some of the other longer more athletic bigs ..."

At 6-10, 240 pounds, Morris is definitely a player that any team, especially later in the draft, would covet. He fits a Celtics need, which is the 4 and 5 position. It was clear during the later stages of the season that the C's needed big men, and Morris would be a player that could body up NBA 4's fairly quickly into the season.

The Celtics are at a crossroads right now. They're not rebuilding, but they certainly aren't getting any younger. They drafted Avery Bradley last season, but he was nowhere near NBA ready. By drafting someone like Morris, they attain a player who is obviously young, but can contribute towards winning a championship - clearly still a goal of this Celtics team.

What do you guys think, is Markieff Morris a target? Know anything most people might not know about the kid?

Morris twins have special bond (via NBCActionNews)

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