Markieff Morris said the Nets were soft last year — and he’s here to change that – The Denver Post



New Nets forward and self-proclaimed “very tough guy,” Markieff Morris said the perception about the Nets last season was that they were “soft.”

He also said that he has the solution to the team’s problem.

Morris, one-half of the Morris Twins including his brother, L.A. Clipper Marcus Morris, has kept a longstanding and steady reputation as one of the league’s top enforcers. In fact, he was tossed from a game for shoving another vaunted tough guy, DeMarcus Cousins, during a game in 2021.

Morris, however, said the Nets lacked that toughness and teams around the league knew it. He pointed to the time last season when the Heat were without both All-Stars Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry and still beat the Nets thoroughly.

After Kevin Durant said the Nets didn’t get any respect from opponents last season, Morris agreed.

“They were soft. Just point-blank period,” said the veteran forward, who won an NBA championship as a member of LeBron James’ 2020 Los Angeles Lakers team. “When we played up against them, they were soft. Just go right up in their chest, and that’s what we did.

“Miami actually beat them without their best players. There was a bunch of two-way guys and a bunch of guys that came up from COVID. Just more so go in their chest. That’s just what it was. That’s what they were saying, anyway. I only played one game against Brooklyn last year.”

Morris made it a point to clarify that he didn’t think the Nets thought they were soft, but said it was the perception about them from other teams.

How does he plan to fix that perception? Morris credited his toughness to growing up in Philadelphia. He’s going to fix this problem with his hands.

“S—t, you go out there just play hard, knock somebody on the ground,” he said. “Kick ‘em in their ass, see if they get up. Then you’ll know.”

Morris will be able to do that especially since head coach Steve Nash plans to use him as a center. The two have a relationship that dates back to Morris’ status as a rookie on the Phoenix Suns one season before Nash’s trade to the Los Angeles Lakers. Morris said he doesn’t consider himself a center, but also said, “if Steve wants to call me a center, I’m a center.”

Morris said he’s taller than his former teammate and All-Star center Bam Adebayo, even though both are listed on the NBA’s website as 6′10″. Regardless of his height or position, he fills a need the Nets have. He will provide toughness where they once lacked it.

“I think Markieff is a need for us and just his presence, his personality. He has a voice, he has an experience, he has an understanding of the game,” Nash said. “That’s a need. We need guys that can speak to the group and work with their teammates in a way that you know they have a great understanding of what they’re doing. They understand the game. They’ve been there before. Those tools are not easy to come by. I think he has all those things.

“Before we even talk about him playing and what his role is and how he can affect us on the floor, his impact off the floor is really important for us.”

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