In the Boston Sports Extra Podcast – Celtics Edition, we always sign out the show with a hot take. It’s one of our favorite parts of the show. We get to make an off the wall prediction that, at the time, sounds crazy. Without that segment, I think our Celtics Edition episodes would not ever be complete.
A few episodes back, Travis and I both predicted that a Boston Celtics bench player would win 6th Man of the Year, but we both had two different players winning the award. He believes Terry Rozier has a fantastic chance, which is completely understandable. Rozier is the rising star on this bench, who seems to be getting better every night he steps out onto the court. He’s one hell of a scorer, and comes up with some crazy good defense despite his small frame.
I predicted Marcus Morris.
Travis must have thought I was crazy. Y’all probably did too. Marcus Morris is 29 years old this year, being thrust into a bench role for really the first time in his NBA career. Normally, being moved from starter to bench would be demoralizing to a player. After all, he’s started games everywhere he has went.
However, as a Boston Celtic, it’s a little bit different. Morris has responded with a resounding yes, becoming a better bench player then anyone could have anticipated him becoming.
How did Morris come to respond to this “adversity” so positively?
Understand that it wasn’t really a demotion
But was this really a demotion to the bench? Was this really adversity that Marcus Morris was dealing with?
When Morris was traded to Boston last season, for Avery Bradley, Morris knew he was entering a situation where probably wouldn’t be starting. Hell, the Celtics already had a powerful forward lineup. Jaylen Brown was still considered a small forward, they had just signed Gordon Hayward and drafted Jayson Tatum. When Hayward went down in the opening game, Boston had to readjust their roster a good bit to make the rotations work. Morris benefited from the extra minutes.
He ended up appearing in 54 games, starting 21 of them, while averaging 26.8 minutes per game.
Now that Gordon Hayward has returned, Morris has taken more of a back seat, and he’s been more then willing to do so. Being on a team worthy of winning a championship will do that to people.
What skills has Marcus Morris brought to Boston?
Let’s face the facts. Morris is good enough to be a starter almost anywhere else across the league. He has a nasty three point shot, and brings good intensity and leadership on defense. Morris isn’t a little guy either, being every bit of 6’9″ and 235 pounds.
It seems that every time the opposition starts a good run and gains momentum, Morris comes down the court on a pull-up three and sinks it through the bottom of the net. He’s cold all the time, never letting the heat of the situation effect his play.
MARCUS MORRIS STRIKES THUNDER AGAIN pic.twitter.com/vuPojlLhfA
— Taylor Snow (@taylorcsnow) October 26, 2018
The even crazier fact? Morris is averaging slightly more points per game then Kyrie Irving is this season. Morris is banging home 14.3 points per game, along with his 7.2 rebounds and filthy 48.1% from behind the three point line through the first six games of the season. Best stat – he’s playing just 24.5 minutes per game, several minutes against other teams starters while playing extra minutes for Gordon Hayward.
What went off for Marcus Morris?
Remember how I mentioned above that the fact of the matter is Marcus Morris could go start almost anywhere else in the league? Let’s re-enforce this fact for a minute.
I don’t know about y’all, but I would start Marcus Morris over all of those guys… Except for LeBron, of course. Point is that Morris really could go start anywhere else in the league, even for championship-caliber rosters.
I’m fairly certain that Morris knows this himself. When he comes off of the bench, he’s taking on bench talent. Not everyone in the NBA has a loaded bench like Boston does, y’all. I know that’s hard to remember.
So when Morris comes off of the bench, he’s the best forward on the court. It allows him to dominate at a level that he never has before. That’s why this season is starting so hot for Morris.
What to expect the rest of the season
My expectations say that you shouldn’t expect him to slow down. Once Gordon Hayward get’s back to his thirty minutes per game, Morris won’t be playing hardly any time against opposing teams starters. Possibly, just maybe, Morris will produce even more in that role.
If I were Morris, I would be very excited about my role with this team. Morris is the difference maker on this team this season, and relies on him more then people realize. The team will rise and fall with him.
That’s the true definition of a 6th Man in the NBA.