Markieff Morris: Potential Sixth Man of the Year?

 

Dec 20, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Phoenix Suns forward Markieff Morris (11) shoots the ball during the second half against the Denver Nuggets at Pepsi Center. The Suns won 103-99. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

The “older” Morris twin is making a case for sixth man of the year. He is frequently leading the Suns in scoring, giving Phoenix three players who could go for 25 points any night with Markieff, Dragic and Bledsoe.

Phoenix is also pretty balanced as they basically have eight players (that’s almost their entire rotation!) averaging double-digit scoring. Dragic is at 19.0, Bledsoe right behind with 18.7, Markieff at 13.0 and Gerald Green right behind at 12.6. Channing Frye is averaging 11.0 points per game with Marcus Morris right behind at 10.8. Right under the double-figure mark are Plumlee at 9.6 points per game and P.J. Tucker at 8.8.

That’s a lot of scoring balance, making it difficult for any individual to enter the conversation of sixth man of the year, MVP or the like.

Despite the circumstances, Markieff is right there. The only other players scoring more than Morris that come off the bench, both play in Los Angeles. Jamal Crawford, the perennial sixth man of the year candidate, is averaging 16.1 points per game for the Clippers, while the absence of Kobe Bryant is giving Nick Young the opportunity to put up 15.3 points per game. In Phoenix, Markieff is scoring 13.0 per game, but a case could be made for Morris being better.

First of all, Young has started six games this season and Crawford has started in three games, while Morris hasn’t started any. That skews the numbers. Additionally, when Young and Crawford are in for their respective teams, they are given the ultra-green light to shoot away at will. Since Markieff is a power forward and is on the court with either Dragic or Bledsoe, he needs to get his touches within the offense. With all that, the numbers are still close.

Markieff plays less minutes, getting only 26.0 per game, while Young gets 26.9 and Crawford gets 28.3. Crawford’s playing time is bordering on starters minutes. In the less minutes per game, Markieff also shoots less. He gets about 10 shots per game while Young and Crawford get about 12 and 13 respectively.

Maybe the most significant thing is Morris shoots a better percentage from the floor. He shoots .491 percent while Young shoots .445 percent and Crawford shoots .421 percent.

Markieff has really improved his game this year, even winning Western Conference player of the week (over all bench players and starters no less!) about a month ago.

He should really be in the serious discussion for sixth man of the year, if he can keep this up, and he probably will.

 

Topics: Basketball, Jamal Crawford, Markieff Morris, NBA, Nick Young, Phoenix Suns, Sixth Man Of The Year

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