In the first installment of this series, Goran Dragic was proclaimed player of the week and we saw his early season highlights. This week, Markieff Morris dominated the competition over the course of a 3-1 road trip.
This week, Alex Len put up career-high scoring performances in two consecutive games. Alex Len also shot 79% from the field over the course of five games.
And yet, Alex Len is not player of the week. Which is only a testament to the type of week that fourth-year power forward Markieff Morris had.
Admittedly, Kieff got off to a rocky start in Los Angeles. In the first game of the week against the Clippers he shot 2-10 from the field and put up only five points and six rebounds. But after that, he looked like the leader of the team.
Despite Len's fantastic performance against the Boston Celtics on the road, it was Markieff's career-high 30-point performance that led the Suns to a slim four-point victory. Two nights later, it was his game-saving block on Brandon Jennings that netted a two-point win over the Detroit Pistons.
And against the 76ers, his 18 points in only 22 minutes allowed the Suns to gain momentum in the first half that they wouldn't lose for the rest of the night. He put up another efficient stat line in Indiana, but that game will count for the upcoming week.
Overall, Markieff averaged 15.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.5 steals and 0.8 blocks per game this week. He struggled to score from long distance, but shot an astounding 55 percent from the field and a perfect 7-7 from the free-throw line.
What makes it even more impressive is the fact that he logged over 30 minutes in just one of the four games. Morris actually averaged 19.8 points and 6.6 rebounds per 36 minutes.
And that brings us to this week's video of early season highlights. Watch Markieff drill three-pointers, knock down mid-range jump shots and even go to work in the post. Watch him convert fast break layups as well as putback dunks.
This video is a testament to the versatile offensive weapon that Markieff has become. He is now by far the Suns' greatest offensive frontcourt player, and arguably their best option to score in a halfcourt set. He doesn't have the explosiveness of an Amar'e Stoudemire, or the three-point shot of a Channing Frye, but he falls somewhere in between. He is also now quite adept at finishing through contact.
Markieff Morris may not have the ceiling of a superstar, but he's quickly establishing himself as an above-average power forward. His PER of 18.8 currently ranks 12th in the league among starting power forwards, and of those 12 he also has the lowest usage rate.
Years ago, one of Morris' best-case scenario pro comparisons was Rasheed Wallace.
Wallace was an exceptional defender who had both the strength and the quickness to guard power forwards and centers on the low block. He was one of the better defenders of his era. And Markieff still has a lot of work to do in that area.
Offensively, however, there are many similarities. Rasheed's ability to hit the turnaround jumper, score in the post and float out to the three-point line can now be seen in Kieff.
When Rasheed was 25, he made his first All-Star game with Portland. That season, he averaged 16.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.4 blocks per 36 minutes. He shot 52 percent from the field, and at that time his three-point shot was still a work in progress.
Markieff is currently 25, breaking out at about the same time that Wallace did. And for comparison, he's currently averaging 17.9 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.8 steals and 0.8 blocks per 36 minutes. Markieff is also shooting a career-high 51 percent from the field.
While he isn't on his way to breaking the NBA record for most technical fouls, Markieff, just like Sheed, will do as he pleases and say what he wants. For evidence of that, look no further than his comments on Kentavious Caldwell-Pope's missed shot at the end of the Suns-Pistons game a few days ago.
Do we have our very own baby Sheed?
Also, here's a poll for you to vote for your own player of the week. Disagree with my pick? Let your voice be heard!