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Phoenix Suns Markieff Morris quietly, methodically improving yet again

While the point guards get the headlines, Markieff Morris has been the Suns most consistently good player.

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

While so many are watching how the Phoenix Suns three-headed monster of Eric Bledsoe, Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas get along in the back court, few have noticed that power forward Markieff Morris has started off the season more productive than ever.

After four games, only three players in the entire NBA - Chris Bosh, Blake Griffin and Tyreke Evans - are putting up a higher combination of points, rebounds and assists per game than the quietly efficient Markieff Morris. And Morris plays at least five fewer minutes per game than any of them.

If you focus only on traditional PF points/rebounds numbers, just 12 NBA players put up more points and rebounds per game than Morris. And every one of those plays more minutes per game.

It's early in the season, of course, and Morris did win a Player of the Week award last season for being even better than this for a stretch, but we need to appreciate Keef's contributions as he has been more consistent than anyone else on the team.

Morris leads the team with two double-doubles in four games and is averaging 17.0 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists in only 30.5 minutes per contest. He gets so few minutes because the Suns are such a deep team. In fact, Morris is second on the Suns in minutes played, behind only Goran Dragic.

Going back to the assists, Keef is surprisingly third on the team in scoring passes - ahead of Goran Dragic, who is still figuring out his role in the new team dynamic.

And while the Suns are just middle of the pack on defense, Keef holds his own on the blocks to offset his highly efficient offense. The Suns are far better on both offense and defense when Keef is in the game, with a net rating of +27.6 per 100 possessions with him on the court to lead the team in these early stages.

Coach Hornacek is still figuring out the best Suns lineups this early in the season, and he's smartly taking advantage of an easy early schedule over the Suns first four games.

But now the Suns schedule gets a lot tougher (Grizzlies, Kings, Warriors, Nets, Hornets), made just a bit easier by facing them at home. Coming out of this 5-game stand with a winning record will require the Suns to improve their overall play.

Getting Keef on the court for more minutes, as well as Dragic and Bledsoe, while incorporating P.J. Tucker back in the lineup can only help.

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