It is a known fact that most players in the NBA would rather start than come off the bench. For LA Clippers forward Marcus Morris? Not an issue.
This past Wednesday was the first game of the 2020-2021 NBA Season for Marcus Morris, who re-signed with the LA Clippers to a four-year, $64 million deal on November 25th. Morris had been battling knee soreness through the first eight games of the season. 13-year veteran forward Nicolas Batum, who was signed to a one-year, $2.5 million deal, has been starting in his place.
With Batum as the starting power forward, the Clippers have seen high-productivity in passing the ball and creating efficient shots. Batum has complemented the playing ability of small forwards Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. In the first eight games of the season, Batum has averaged 10.3 points with a 48.1% field-goal percentage as well as 43.2% from the three-point arc. He has also averaged 6.1 rebounds and 2.9 assists on 29.8 minutes per game.
There was critical discussion on whether Batum should remain as the starting power forward or if Morris takes his starting spot back. Before Wednesday’s game at the Golden State Warriors, Morris made it clear that he is fine with coming off the bench.
This was confirmed by Clippers’ television play-by-play broadcaster Brian Sieman. Morris raved on the positive display of performance with Batum complementing the offense led by Leonard and Paul. Morris also mentioned that, with him coming off the bench, he and shooting guard Lou Williams can create some efficiency on offense.
Before the return of Morris, the LA Clippers’ bench has averaged 36.4 points per game including 56 points in the win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. In the Clippers’ 108-101 win over the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday, the bench accounted for 34 points.
Marcus Morris started the season with a 12-point performance shooting 4-for-9 from the field and 2-for-6 from the three-point arc. He was the leading scorer of the night off the bench in a night where Leonard, George, and center Serge Ibaka all eclipsed 35 minutes of playing time. This was a game that required Batum to set up efficient shots for both himself and the starters. Batum accounted for 13 points and five rebounds.
There will be games in the future that will require the playmaking abilities of Morris coming off the bench. His reliability in scoring will be needed as Williams and shooting guard Luke Kennard have experienced some up-and-down performances. Batum complements the offensive schemes that head coach Ty Lue inserted for the LA Clippers star players in Leonard and George.
Marcus Morris’ absence on the court has been noticeable on the offensive and defensive sides of the court. Look for Morris to contribute to the team just as efficiently as he did last season when he was traded to Los Angeles from the New York Knicks just before the NBA Trade Deadline.