Markieff Morris Flourishes as the Lakers Blow Past the Rockets

Photos: Lakers rout Rockets in Game 5 of Western Conference semifinals |  Total Lakers
(Image/Mark J. Terrill, Associated Press)

Morris’ Defensive Impact:

Morris being an important piece was not just the spacing he brought on the offensive end, it was his energetic defensive impact too. His presence allowed the purple and gold to rotate efficiently, especially as James Harden was the subject of constant hard double-teams.

He added another pair of quick feet, something that 7-footer JaVale McGee lacks, as well as a large frame to cover the perimeter, contest shots, and stand strong in the paint. His rebounding game was a useful addition, especially with the loss of a traditional big man rotation. Morris snatched an average of 4 rebounds through games 2-5. Up on his 3.2 rebounds in the regular season whilst representing the Lakers.

As well as leading the team in offensive rating, Morris also led the team in defensive rating (101.0) throughout the Rockets series. This was with players that played over 10 minutes per game.

His impact throughout the series was a huge component to the Lakers getting the job done and dusted as quick as they did. His toughness, persistence and speed was major, as the Frank Vogel choose to ultimately out-Rocket the Rockets.

There is one more team-leading statistic, however. In the 5 games against the Rockets, Morris led the Lakers in terms of plus/minus average. He had a +9 rating, sitting ahead of LeBron James (8.4) and Danny Green (6.8), who placed second and third, respectively.

Markieff Morris was a huge on both ends of the ball in what was heavily touted to be a tough series for the Lakers. Moving forward to a potential match-up against the Los Angeles Clippers or Denver Nuggets, his presence won’t be needed in the same small ball capacity. But coming back off the bench, his instant scoring punch and defensive intensity will be much needed.

In a potential Western Conference Finals match-up against the Clippers, Markieff could be used to man-mark his twin-brother Marcus. Which would be an entertaining prospect, to say the least.

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