The Morris twins (“Morris Twins”) are a peculiar pair: they’re perennially either underrated or overrated, but very rarely properly rated. For instance, last year, only 20 players in the NBA met or exceeded the following line: 13 points per game, 5 rebounds per game, 4 three-point attempts, with a 42% field goal percentage (or better), and a positive plus/minus. Doesn’t sound that valuable, does it? Except, again, only 20 guys in the entire NBA were able to replicate or best that line.
Marcus Morris of the Boston Celtics was one of those 20 players. The bottom five of that list are Will Barton, Nikola Mirotic, Otto Porter, Jr., Dario Saric, and Marcus Morris. The four non-Morris Twin players are all owned in at least 70% of ESPN leagues this season, and all four have Average Draft Positions in the top 100. Marcus Morris is currently 6.4% owned, and was drafted outside of the top 130. He’s currently the 16th most valuable Power Forward in ESPN Basic and he’s a top 100 player.
Meanwhile, the other Morris Twin, Markieff of the Washington Wizzle-Wazzles (who are looking officially “Not Bad” recently), is currently the 22nd ranked PF, he’s less than 6% owned, and he’s been more valuable than Kyle Kuzma (84% owned), Jordan Clarkson (72%), Lonzo Ball (88%), and Andrew Wiggins (84%).
Last year, only 8 other players in the NBA averaged (at least) Markieff’s 27 minutes per game, and either met or exceeded Markieff’s production and shooting of 11+ PPG, 5+ RPG, 36% from three, and 48% from the field overall (with a positive plus/minus rating). The other players on that list are LeBron James, Karl-Anthony Towns, Kevin Durant, Nikola Jokic, Steph Curry, Al Horford, Otto Porter, Jr., and Serge Ibaka. That’s a list of some of the very best fantasy (and, IRL) players in basketball. Damn good list to be on, no? ALL of those players are at least 60% owned; Markieff is 5.9%.
“But, waaaaaaait a minute: last year the Celtics were missing Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving for a lot of games, and the Wizzle-Wazzles are a maelstrom of dysfunction alla time. Are you really trynna sell me on these two twins as good fantasy players?”
Yup! Right now, they’re both in the top 150. Right now, they’re both exceedingly under-owned relative to their value. Right now, both Morris Twins are providing stable high-floor value (though, very rarely any high ceiling value; these are true blue collar players). Marcus in Boston is averaging 13+ PPG, 6+ RPG, and 2+ 3PM. Guess how many other players can say the same? Eight. In the ENTIRE NBA. Here’s the rest of the list, basically of offensive All Stars: Tobias Harris, LBJ, Mirotic, Blake Griffin, Luka MFing Doncic, Victor Oladipo, Danilo Cincinnatus Gallinari, and Paul George. Guess what, #2: Marcus Morris has the 3rd best FG% of that group! Looks like Brad Stevens got the memo, because he started Morris last game over Hayward and Jaylen Brown, and the Celtics finally looked like themselves again.
Down DC way, Markieff hasn’t been nearly as good, but his line is basically the exact same as Myles Turner’s on the Pacers (even their minutes and shots are similar). Turner was drafted in the top 100 and is 70+% owned. Markieff’s ADP was 139+, and his ownership is, again, less than 10% of Myles Turner’s! For the same damn production!
In other words, you could have drafted both of the Morris Twins outside of the top 125 and received production that’s as good as, or better than, players drafted fifty picks before them.
This is what we’re talking about when we talk about VALUE. No one thinks of the Morris Twins as All Stars; hell, hardly anyone thinks of them as starters. But, they’re efficient players who maximize their minutes (most of the time), and complement other players in an extremely helpful way. Their ratios don’t kill you like some mediocre players who were drafted waaaaay before the Twins, and their low opportunity cost means that they fill out a fantasy roster at the back end MUCH, MUCH better than some of the bigger name players.
(Jordan Clarkson owners: please leave the building. He’s in his fifth season and he’s never had a positive plus/minus on the year. He’s shooting less than 30% from three. He currently has 39 assists and 33 turnovers. HE SUCKS. HE’S OWNED IN 71.8% OF LEAGUES. The next highest owned player, Domantis Sabonis, has provided over twice the value of Clarkson. So, let’s all C’Mon and Get Real, mkay?)
When Markieff has shot at least 9 times this season, the Wizzle-Wazzles are 6-3 (and, Markieff has only shot less than 40% once in those nine games). And, when Marcus gets at least 9 FGA, the Celtics are 9-6 (only three times less than 40 FG% in those games). What does this tell us? This tells us that the Morris Twins, when given the opportunity (which usually equals ball movement), help their respective teams win. They don’t need the ball to score, and they don’t need touches or to hunt stats in order to play well. If they get 2-3 shots per quarter, their team usually wins. Not a tall order, but a damn fine result.
Perhaps Boston and DC are finally realizing just how valuable their unvalued players are. On teams with hungry/selfish stars, success is found from unselfish, determined role players. Basically, it’s tough to have five players on the floor who all want/need the ball. Stars aren’t so much ballhogs, as they are just better at basketballing than the other dudes, so of course they should have the ball more. Tons of NBA players feel that way, even if they’re ABSOLUTELY wrong about their talent level. The Morris Twins aren’t like that; they play to win, even if they don’t touch the ball as much as they’d like to. When they get their bare minimum amount of shots, their teams succeed.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the Morris Twins start more games than come off the bench for the rest of the season, which means their minutes might increase, which means their opportunities will increase. If you’re looking for reliable streamers, or for useful players at the end of your bench, look no further than the Morris Twins. They won’t disappoint; only their teams will.
Stats as of November 27, 2018