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Clippings: Marcus Morris Sr. is now a Clippers starter

Veteran shifts roles to bring more voice to first unit.

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Los Angeles Clippers v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Marcus Morris Sr. was acquired last season as a clear upgrade, the main man for the New York Knicks certainly joining the LA Clippers as a starting-caliber player.

But this season, he’s been part of the reserve crew, as an injury limited him in preseason and newcomer Nicolas Batum’s hot start to his Clippers tenure left Morris a bench option, something Morris embraced.

However, with the Clippers hitting an inconsistent patch and Batum not burying a quick 10 points to open game after game anymore, it may be Morris’ time in the starting lineup moving forward.

Morris got the start in Monday’s 109-99 win over the Dallas Mavericks in Texas, posting 14 points and bringing more vocal leadership to a Clippers team that needs more steady hands these days.

Head coach Tyronn Lue told reporters after the game that Morris will be the starter moving forward for the team.

How does Morris see his role on this current Clippers team? He can score and he can defend, but the 31-year-old is embracing the intangible qualities he offers.

“It’s just bringing the energy, bringing the toughness, being a voice out there for that starting unit and pushing them,” Morris told the Prime Ticket broadcast after Monday’s win. “We’ve got a great team in general but we’ve got two guys who I think I can help them see the game, just being a voice.”

It makes a certain amount of sense, considering the Clippers’ stars, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, are not especially vocal, and the other player known for his voice on the team, Patrick Beverley, has been in and out of the lineup with injuries.

Morris is likely thrilled to get the shot to start, but he took the change in role in stride.

“That’s been my M.O. my entire career,” Morris said when asked about being ready for changes. “Look at all the teams I’ve been on, all I know is to be a professional and just stay ready. Been coming off [the bench] and I’ve been starting on multiple teams. It’s nothing new for me, just be a breath of fresh air for the team and continue to play hard.”

Morris reiterated a talking point that many Clippers players have mentioned this season, that they know what they need to do, but they need to just do it. In Morris’ case, it is in emphasizing those intangible qualities.

“We just know we need to get better all around. Just focus on the game plan, being more vocal, hold each other accountable. I’m happy we’re going through tough times right now, that’s part of being a great team.

“People can talk and say what they want, but come playoff time, I bet we’ll be ready,” he added.

More news for Tuesday:

  • Recap of Monday’s win: Courtesy of Sabreena, here’s how the victory went down if you missed it.
  • Clippers interested in Hill: Could George Hill join old Pacers teammate Paul George with the Clippers? Shams Charania specifically mentions the Clippers as interested in the veteran guard on his trade talk column at The Athletic.
  • NBA only getting more stratified: ESPN’s Kirk Goldsberry has an extended discussion of how the haves and have-nots in the NBA are getting further apart. The Clippers, by virtue of their location, Steve Ballmer’s bank account and the star tandem already here, are a member of the “haves” these days, but even with the LA base that has not been the rule for most of the team’s history.