Celtics Lead

Morris’ Strong Start Clouds Future With Boston


The Boston Celtics have opened the 2018-19 season with an inconsistent 6-4 record highlighted by hot and cold offensive streaks. Kyrie Irving has found his groove as of late, but Jayson Tatum has struggled to get into a shooting rhythm and Gordon Hayward is still adjusting to life as a Celtic. In spite of the growing pains, Boston has flashed one consistently impressive player on the court: B.W.A. founder Marcus Morris.

The eighth-year veteran is playing the best basketball of his career even while relegated to a bench role. Through ten contests, “Mook” is averaging 14.7 points and 6.9 rebounds, both career-highs despite a slight downtick in minutes. He sports a career-best 101 defensive rating. His shooting numbers are even more impressive; Morris is canning 51% of his total attempts, 49% of his threes and 86% of his free throws. Compare these numbers to his previous career-highs: 44.2 FG% (2013-14), 38.1 3P% (2013-14) and 80.5 FT% (2017-18). Though his stats are due for some regression, Morris is undoubtedly balling at a previously unforeseen level.

Like many other NBA players, Morris has adjusted his game to the needs of the league. He’s taking a smaller percentage of mid-range shots than ever in his last five years, while 48% of his attempts now originate from behind the arc. Every single triple thus far has come off an assist. Morris’s evolution into a catch-and-shoot threat is a clear positive– Boston is currently 8.5 points better when he’s on the court.

What is the Long-Term Future of Marcus Morris?

Morris looks to be another product of the incredible player development of Brad Stevens, following other veteran acquisitions like Amir Johnson and Jae Crowder. He will be a huge asset for the Celtics if they believe a championship is in sight this season. However, Mook is also playing on a bargain expiring contract priced at just $5.375 million. With another free agency spending spree scheduled for next summer, Morris could find a team that offers triple his current value.

Unfortunately for Boston, they’re in no position to put forth such an offer. Spotrac projects the Celtics to be over the luxury tax line by about $3 million, and they’ll have to deal with Terry Rozier‘s restricted free agency as well.

Roster size could also become an issue. Boston may be dealing with multiple lottery picks come June, but very few spots to fill. The team potentially has 12 players returning next year if player and team options are accepted. Between another youth influx and continued player growth, Morris could see his playing time shrink.

Is a massive underpaying and shrinking role worth the chance to win championships year after year in a major sports market? Marcus Morris needs to make this decision. To General Manager Danny Ainge, the productive wing might become a valuable trade chip. Is the play of Morris worth the risk of him walking away?

For now, he’ll continue to be a force in a growing young offense. But the future is clouded for Mook.

All statistics courtesy of Spotrac and Basketball Reference.




About Ethan Fuller

Hailing from Portsmouth, NH, Ethan is a journalism student at Boston University and writes about the Celtics for TLSM. His chief basketball teams are the Celtics and Minnesota Timberwolves. Ethan is also a still-growing ultimate frisbee player.

Recommended for you

Powered by themekiller.com