Fantasy Basketball Sleeper: Markieff Morris
Phoenix Suns forward Markieff Morris made a minimal impact during his first two NBA seasons, averaging 7.8 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game per game in 145 games played (39 starts). But he did see more playing time late last season, starting each of the final 21 games and averaging 10.2 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.3 steals and one blocked shot per game over that span. Narrowing that further to the eight games in April, Morris averaged 11.8 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.5 blocked shots, 1.4 assists and 1.4 steals per game while making 1.6 three-pointers per contest.
The Suns appear ready to give Morris a significant role after trading Luis Scola to the Indiana Pacers during the offseason, but he is ready to become an impact player for fantasy basketball owners this year?
Morris has averaged just over 21 minutes per game during his career, but a look at his per-36 minute averages (13.1 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.3 blocked shots last year) offers a hint at what he could do in more playing time. His twin brother Marcus is behind him on the depth chart and Channing Frye is back in the mix after undergoing heart surgery a year ago, but right now Morris is likely to be the starting power forward for the Suns and he should get all the minutes he can handle.
The Suns look to be going with younger players across the board, and Morris fits right into that plan at age 24. I don’t expect him to be a top-tier option for fantasy owners this year, but he can contribute in multiple categories (points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals) with the added bonus of solid three-point shooting ability for a big man (33.6 percent last year). There are plenty of worse ways to use a late-round draft pick, and Morris could be the kind of player that helps win a lot of leagues as an under-the-radar factor.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.
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