Markieff Producing From the Post, in the Clutch

Barry Gossage/NBAE

If Markieff Morris gets the ball down low, chances are something good is happening.

That’s the trend, anyway. Thanks to an offseason workout routine that got Morris in the best shape of his life and refined his game, the third-year forward has become one of the Suns’ main options on offense.

That’s not a bad thing when his shot-specific shooting percentages (via NBA.com) are considered:

Driving layup: 70.8%

Step-back jump shot: 63.3%

Turnaround fadeaway: 60%

Pullup Jump shot: 60%

Hook shot: 57.1%

Turnaround jump shot: 50%

The shots that don’t count are just as important when free throws are the result. Morris averaged just 1.7 and 1.5 freebies his first two years in the league, respectively.

He’s nearly tripled those numbers this season, putting up 4.1 attempts per contest this season.

Morris has been especially lethal as a main option in crunch time. Over the last nine games, he has averaged 5.2 points on 66.7 percent shooting in the fourth quarter. His season average of 4.6 points per fourth period ranks ahead of All-Star forwards Blake Griffin and Kevin Love. He and Utah guard Alec Burks are the only non-starters in the top 40 in the league in fourth quarter scoring.

It’s the way he does his damage down low, Jeff Horancek said, that makes him such a valuable weapon.

“When he’s playing like that, it gives us another option that we don’t have to rely on long jumpers,” Hornacek said. “We can get him a post-up and a turnaround jumper that way.”