Watson: 'I'm going to embrace Markieff Morris'

Posted at 4:29 PM, Feb 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-02 18:29:17-05

From shouting matches on the bench to throwing a towel in his coach's face, it's safe to say Suns forward Markieff Morris didn't have a rosy relationship with recently-fired head coach Jeff Hornacek.

But on Tuesday, the man who has replaced Hornacek on an interim basis said he hasn't given up on the Suns' embattled 26 year old.

"It might sound unique ... but I'm going to nurture and embrace Markieff Morris," said Earl Watson, whom Hornacek hired as an assistant for the 2015-16 season.

"I'm embracing him. We need him. He's a talented player."

See also: 5 things you need to know about Earl Watson

From charges of felony assault in April, to famously calling out fans for a lack of support last season, Morris has had his share of on- and off-court issues.

But Watson said he believes the fourth-year pro can turn around his attitude and improve his on-court performance.

"It's a tough situation, but he's a professional. He understands that I believe and trust in him," Watson said.

"He understands that we need him. We need his attitude to be positive, no matter what. And he can help us win games."

Watson's embrace of Morris and the other Suns veterans is part of his overall strategy to build a family-like atmosphere with the team.

"The first order of business for us is to build trust ... and also to build a family," he said. "Bringing passion, connecting to this city is the most important thing."