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Top 30 Seasons Under Bill Self: #21 Markieff Morris 2011

Markieff Morris Los Angeles Lakers Head Shot Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

He didn’t get as much playing time as his twin brother, but that was the only thing stopping 2011 Markieff from equaling 2011 Marcus in terms of effectiveness. He averaged 13.6 points and 8.3 rebounds per game, but it’s his deeper numbers that really tell the story.

Morris posted a 118 offensive rating on a 25.2 percent usage rate, and actually led the Big 12 in box plus minus, ahead of his brother. He also gets some bonus points in my book for playing college basketball in the wrong era. If he were playing now, he would be a devastating inside outside 5 man, rather than being shoehorned next to another big man. He shot 42 percent from three as a junior, but only took 59 of them. A career 40 percent shooter behind the arc, if Markieff were playing now he would (hopefully) be taking 5+ threes per game and then posting up smaller players when they come out to challenge him. He wasn’t quite the ballhandler Marcus was, so his driving ability would hinder his overall effectiveness, but his ability to shoot plus his ability to score in the post would make him an All American level player.

Defensively, Markieff wasn’t a guy you want to build around, but he managed to have a block percentage of nearly 5 percent, which is decent, although a lot of that was due to how many opponents were able to get inside against that KU team.

OK that’s enough defense talk. Markieff certainly benefited not only from his brother, but the spacing provided by Brady Morningstar (41 percent on 105 attempts) and Tyrel Reed (38 percent on 190 attempts) on the perimeter. Still, Markieff led the team in two point shooting overall (62 percent), led the team in dunks (47), and was efficient at the rim (76 percent), mid range (40 percent), and, as already discussed, from three.

Markieff didn’t make first team All Big 12 as a junior (which is absolutely insane, but then again so is the fact that Marcus wasn’t a unanimous first team selection). Still, if you dig into the underlying numbers rather than relying on per game stats and other stats influenced by playing time, you get a glimpse of what has turned into an underrated season by an underrated and elite offensive player who just barely gets bumped out of the top 20 thanks to a couple of great 2020 seasons.

Previous entries:

22. Andrew Wiggins 2014

23. Jeff Withey 2013

24. Josh Jackson 2017

25. Marcus Garrett 2020

26. Travis Releford 2013

27. Perry Ellis 2015

28. Udoka Azubuike 2018

29. Wayne Simien 2004

30. Devonte Graham 2017

31. Malik Newman 2018

32. Wayne Selden 2016

33. Keith Langford 2004