Buried deep in the New York Times’ profile of the almost-creepily-identical Morris twins — they were so sad they weren’t playing together last season that they each bought the same kind of bulldog and both gave it a nickname for their mom, which is the kind of tribute only a mother could love — is a quick breakdown of one of the weirdest NBA phenomena of recent memory: the Phoenix Suns peculiar habit of always having the lesser brother of some NBA player. To wit:
Since the 2008-9 season, the Suns’ bench has included an unusual number of players with brothers in the N.B.A., including Robin Lopez, a twin of the Nets’ All-Star Brook Lopez; Jarron Collins, a twin of Jason Collins of the Washington Wizards; Taylor Griffin, the older brother of the All-Star forward Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers; and Luke Zeller, the eldest of three basketball-playing brothers who include Tyler (Cleveland Cavaliers) and Cody (Indiana University).
Unfortunately for the Suns, recent Phoenix teams have mostly fielded the lesser known and lesser accomplished brother.
That is crazy, right? It almost has to be on purpose. Maybe it’s one of those things where scouts start checking in to the good brother, then accidentally see the worse brother and start talking themselves in to that guy. Maybe their legendary training staff is closer to cracking the code on human cloning than we know. I don’t know, but there has to be an explanation for this. It can’t just be random.
Thankfully, Steve Kerr’s got the time to lay it all out for us.
“If there was a strategy, we should have gone with the better brother each time instead of the worse brother,” Steve Kerr, a former Suns general manager, said with a laugh. “It’s just total coincidence. More than anything, it’s a sign of how good the Suns have been over the years. They were never in position to draft the more accomplished brother.”
Oh sure, the classic “we totally wanted the good brother but our team did too well that we had to draft his brother” excuse (in the biz, that’s called “The Ozzie Canseco”). A likely story.
Explain this, Steve Kerr.
Alvin Gentry, who was fired as the Suns’ coach in January, said that last season, Markieff Morris kept urging Phoenix to trade for his brother. And Gentry said that Bill Self, the Kansas coach, told him: “You need Marcus. If you can get him, he’ll make Markieff work harder.”
The two brothers worked out in Phoenix last summer. On Feb. 21, the Suns sent a second-round draft pick to Houston, and Marcus was reunited with his twin after a troubling season and a half apart.
A “total coincidence?” Suuuuuuure. Can’t wait for them to draft the third Gasol brother, trade for Ben Hansbrough and make Marcus Landry’s knees work again. Total coincidence … pssht.