Renaldo Balkman had to hijack the Markieff Morris post.

The table of top flight rookie defenders in my previous post shows Kurt Rambis, Anderson Varejao and Renaldo Balkman were the only rookies with Defensive Rebounding hauls of 20% and Steal & Block rates of 2.5%.

Great video below and a classic Balkman line score here. In the Knicks/Raptors game he led all players in Reb, Stl & Blk while playing 32 mins. Also take note of the FGAs & FTAs…yup that’s him.

PoP’s (a basketball related acronym I just invented)

It’s only 34 NBA games but Markieff Morris is proving to be a wonderful PoP* for the Phoenix Suns. In fact he’s been one of the dozen best all-around first year defenders since the merger (table below).

During his three years at Kansas, Morris posted 8 Def Reb, 1 Steal & 2 Blocks per 36 minutes. Based on his record in the Big 12 and early success in The League I would bet the 13th pick in the draft will pay big dividends for Alvin Gentry and the Suns for the decade to come.

Totals Advanced
Player Season Age Tm G MP DRB STL BLK PF DRB% STL% BLK%
Alvan Adams 1975-76 21 PHO 80 2656 512 121 116 274 20.7 2.1 2.4
Lonnie Shelton 1976-77 21 NYK 82 2104 413 125 98 363 20.2 2.6 2.4
George Johnson 1978-79 22 MIL 67 1157 254 75 49 187 24.3 2.9 2.2
Kurt Rambis 1981-82 23 LAL 64 1131 232 60 76 167 21.5 2.5 3.6
Vlade Divac 1989-90 21 LAL 82 1611 345 79 114 240 23.7 2.4 4.2
Shawn Kemp 1989-90 20 SEA 81 1120 200 47 70 204 21.8 2.1 4.0
David Robinson* 1989-90 24 SAS 82 3002 680 138 319 259 24.8 2.2 6.5
Gheorghe Muresan 1993-94 22 WSB 54 650 126 28 48 120 23.1 2.2 4.6
Anderson Varejao 2004-05 22 CLE 54 863 148 41 38 122 20.7 2.5 3.3
Renaldo Balkman 2006-07 22 NYK 68 1064 197 57 44 146 21.8 2.8 3.3
Tyrus Thomas 2006-07 20 CHI 72 966 180 46 76 162 21.1 2.4 6.2
Markieff Morris 2011-12 22 PHO 34 698 128 27 25 97 20.5 2.0 2.7

*Preventer of Points

Move without the basketball kids

The 2012 version of the Miami Heatles are leading the NBA in FG%, 3PT FG%, FTM and PPG (104).  They are no doubt the best offensive team in the league (110 Off Rating through 31 games).

The usual suspects have been tremendous for them but so has the oft overlooked swingman Mike Miller.  In the 19 games he’s appeared Miami is 16-3.  Digging deeper into his playing time further proves his value.  In the 10 games Miller has played 20+ minutes the Heat are undefeated.  In the 10 games Mike has taken 4+ shots the Heat are undefeated.

One example of getting Miller involved in the offense was the Jan 17 victory over the Spurs.   South Dakota’s native son played 15 mins and hoisted 6 shots.  6 shots from beyond the arc, 6 makes from beyond the arc, 18 points.

Of course LeBron drawing attention helps Miller immensely but I believe that was the entire game-plan Riley envisioned when he signed the sharpshooter.

The Heat are the best team in the NBA but of course no one will care unless they sweep the league in the playoffs.

“Big Dukie” could play

After averaging 20 PPG and shooting 65% from the field in the ACC Brad Daugherty was selected before the great Len Bias in the ’86 NBA draft.  He went on to a super sweet yet short-lived career in the league.  The big man led the Cavs to 5 playoffs in 8 years while posting 19/10/52% FG and 6 free-throws made/game over 41 contests.

Daugherty also shows up 8th on the all-time list of most seasons with 600 REB, 300 AST & 50%+ FG.  He’s tied with two hall-of-famers with 3 qualifying years each.