Markieff Morris and the Suns are struggling at the bottom of the West, and owner Rob Sarver pointed to “millennial culture” as a reason for their setbacks.
Phoenix Suns owner Rob Sarver is grasping for excuses to explain why his team is stuck in the cellar of the Western Conference.
His latest: Blame it on the millennials.
“I’m not sure it’s just the NBA,” Sarver said. “My whole view of the millennial culture is that they have a tough time dealing with setbacks, and Markieff Morris is the perfect example. He had a setback with his brother in the offseason and he can’t seem to recover from it.”
There have been setbacks aplenty for the 12-25 Suns this season, and Morris has been at the core of them. He publicly requested a trade when his twin brother, Marcus, was shipped off to Detroit, and he was recently suspended two games for tossing a towel at head coach Jeff Hornacek after being sent to the bench.
Morris’ apparent attitude problem is not the sole reason Phoenix is the fourth-worst team in the NBA, nor is he reflective of an entire generation, but a didactic Sarver vented further about the perils of social media.
Brandon Knight is one of the Suns players in his early 20s who is expected to lead the team.
“I’m not sure if it’s the technology or the instant gratification of being online. But the other thing is, I’m not a fan of social media,” Sarver said. “I tell my kids it’s like Fantasy Land. The only thing people put online are good things that happen to them, or things they make up. And it creates unrealistic expectations. We’ve had a number of setbacks this year that have taken their toll on us, and we haven’t been resilient. Therefore, it’s up to our entire organization to step their game up.”
While the Suns are undeniably a young team relying on players like Devin Booker (19), Brandon Knight (24) and T.J. Warren (22) as leaders, they have only the 12th youngest roster in the league with an average age of 26. Every team’s average age is under 31, according to basketball-reference.com, making the NBA itself a league monopolized by millennials.
Sarver did accept some responsibility for the Suns’ recent woes. The 54-year-old said the blame “is to be shared from the top down,” and maintained that he wasn’t “shirking responsibility.”
Though he was a primary target in Sarver’s comments, Morris had little to say in response. With regard to Sarver saying millennials struggle to deal with setbacks, the 26-year-old forward was curt.
“I’m from Philly. I’ve been through adversity my whole life. That’s what I’ve got to say about that,” he said.
Responding to criticism has become something of a theme for Morris this season. He apologized to his coach and his teammates after the towel incident in December.
The public apology came via Twitter.