Usually when a player signs the size of a contract Marcus Morris Sr. did this offseason, it means that they’re going to be a starter. Morris Sr. had a career-year in 2020, as he averaged just under 20 points a game. More importantly, he started all 62 games he played in.
When the Clippers re-signed him this offseason, they did so with the intention of having him in their starting five. However, after missing the first few weeks with a knee injury, Morris Sr. thought that it would suit the team best if he would come off the bench.
“The crazy part about it is that Marcus came to me and said ‘Listen T-Lue, me coming off the bench is going to be great,” Clippers head coach Ty Lue said following the game. “I think [Batum] provides that passion that we need in the first unit, spotting up and shooting the basketball, with me and (Kennard) coming off the bench it’s going to be a tough matchup for guys coming off the bench, so they could use my scoring off the bench’, and we tried to look at that tonight.”
In 18 minutes off the bench, Morris Sr. scored 12 points with two rebounds and two assists.
“We are happy he’s back,” Kawhi Leonard said. “Another defender, another guy that can score the basketball. He did well in his debut today.”
When the Clippers signed Nicolas Batum right before the start of the season, I don’t think they were expecting anywhere near close to this production so far. He’s been the biggest surprise through the first few weeks, as he’s averaging 10.6 points, six rebounds and nearly three assists a game while shooting 46 percent from three.
I’m not sure how long Morris Sr. will choose to come off the bench, but it’ll sure be tough to slide Batum there if he keeps playing like this. Plus, if he’s willing to, Morris Sr. instantly becomes one of the top players off the bench in the entire NBA.
“To answer your question, it wasn’t more of ‘I want to come off the bench’, it was more of I want to help the team in anyway possible,” Morris said when asked about his decision to come off the bench. “If that is coming off of the bench, I didn’t want T-Lue to feel like he couldn’t say that to me. That he couldn’t pose that question to me. I seen how well those guys were gelling with the first unit. I thought that I could help the second unit with scoring, leadership, and things like that. I just told him if that is what you want to do, I am rolling with you.
“I will just say one thing and leave it at this. The Clippers did me a favor by giving me what I have earned and what I have worked hard for, I am all team. Whatever they need me to do, I am going to do it. If that is coming off the bench, hey, I have been playing a longtime in this league, guys know what I can do, I am not here to prove anything to anybody starting or coming off. I am here to help the team. The only thing that I am worried about is the Clippers winning.”