Analyzing The Anomalous: Markieff Morris vs. Milwaukee
In Shaky Ankles’ new feature “Analyzing The Anomalous”, I’ll be taking a look at a random player’s most recent performance—either fantastic or dreadful—and breaking down how it is they did what they did by way of advanced statistics and the always helpful Synergy Sports resource. The posts will begin with a rundown of the chosen player’s basic stat line, before bullet points are used to complete the examination.
The NBA’s most surprising team from this weekend was the undervalued, unappreciated Phoenix Suns. Playing like a group of veterans who understand their positions, utilize their strengths, and run from their weaknesses, the Suns bulldozed the revamped Portland Trailblazers and smacked Milwaukee in the face with a frying pan. Obviously, this situation is a surprising one, and plopping a cherry on top is their first round draft pick Markieff Morris. Here’s some analysis from a recent victory over Milwaukee.
Markieff Morris vs. Milwaukee. Phoenix won 109-93. 30 minutes, 13 points on 5-10 shooting (including 3-4 from beyond the arc), 10 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 personal foul.
- Morris played 29:40 minutes off the bench. The most for any player who participated in the game.
- He was a shocking (at least to me) 3-4 from deep while taking just one shot at the rim and missing it. This is interesting for several reasons, and the “wait a second…Markieff Morris is a three-point threat??” factor sits comfortably at the top. He shot 42.4% on 59 attempts in his final year at Kansas (his twin brother, Marcus, was 10% less accurate on 20 more attempts), but still, to expect his emergence as yet another reliable spot up option surrounding Steve Nash so soon in his career is very fun to think about.
- Up 25 points late in the third quarter, Morris used a Gortat screen to flash high across the free-throw line. He received a pass about 22 feet from the basket and launched a jumper with 12 seconds remaining on the shot clock. The shot rimmed out, but that isn’t the point. It’s only one play so there’s no need to nitpick, but Morris seemed to decide he was settling on the long two before considering any other options.
- Upon entering the game for Channing Frye with 7:19 remaining in the 3rd quarter, the Suns immediately went on a 13-2 run and effectively ended the game.
- Posting up on a few separate occasions, Morris looked a combination of rushed and deliberate. He either didn’t want to put the ball on the floor and immediately leaned on a turn around jumper, or went straight to something he was comfortable with and attempted a minimized jump hook. He displayed extremely soft touch on every shot he took, and it’d be wonderful for both him and Phoenix if Morris can simultaneously add tranquility and creative flair to his game. Or maybe that’s asking too much. He gets to his spots, plays the game like a knowledgeable vet, and could soon develop into one of the game’s more reliable high-low offensive options.
- His three-pointers came by way of defenses overloading on Steve Nash penetration; almost as more a lack of respect for his ability more than fear of Nash doing what he does. If Morris continues to hit on this shot, strategies when facing Phoenix will have to change.
- He was second on his team in offensive efficiency with 1.3 points per possession (only the impossibly accurate Marcin Gortat, on his 9/10 shooting night, was better).