Despite putting up career-best numbers in several categories and having an instrumental role in many of the Phoenix Suns’ biggest wins in 2013-14, forward Markieff Morris placed fourth in the NBA Sixth Man of the Year voting when the results were announced Thursday.
Although Jamal Crawford shot 41.6 percent on the season and started 24 of the 69 games in which he played, the Los Angeles Clippers guard won the award for the second time in his career. Crawford averaged 18.6 points and 3.2 assists a game for the Western Conference’s third-best team in the regular season. He also made 2.3 three-pointers per contest, which was the second-highest clip in his 14-year career.
Crawford received 57 first-place votes, and coming in behind him was Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson, who received 49. Gibson put up career-best numbers of 13 points and 6.8 rebounds in 28.7 minutes per game, coming off the bench in all but eight of his 82 contests. He also added 1.4 blocks per game and shot 47.9 percent from the floor for the 48-34 Bulls.
San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili finished third for the award, receiving nine first-place votes. The 36-year-old guard played in 68 games and put up 12.3 points and 4.3 assists and shot 46.9 percent from the field for the NBA-leading Spurs.
Morris received five first-place votes and 10 for second place. Only Ginobili (33) had more third-place votes than the Suns forward’s 30.
In his third NBA season, Morris came off the bench in all 81 games he played and posted 13.8 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.8 assists per contest and shot a dramatically-improved 48.6 percent from the floor for the 48-34 Suns. According to an NBA.com blog post in early April, Morris was the most efficient bench player through his first 73 games played.
The Kansas product played 28.6 minutes per game and scored the third-most points off the bench in a season (1,115) in Suns history, finishing behind Eddie Johnson’s 1988-89 season and Dan Majerle in 1991-92. Morris also recorded 11 double-doubles and reached double-figures in scoring in 41 of his last 45 games.
Reggie Jackson of the Oklahoma City Thunder finished fifth in the voting with Dallas Mavericks guard Vince Carter coming in sixth.
In addition to placing high in the Sixth Man race, Morris also finished 10th in the voting for the Most Improved Player, which was given to teammate Goran Dragic on April 23.
To see how members of the media voted for Sixth Man and the totals for each player, click here.