2016/2017 Season Recap/Notes: Marcus Morris.
This is the 3rd recap post for the offseason. ICYMI
Admittedly, this post is going to be more straight forwards than the other two, which is perfectly fine by me. Marcus Morris is a pretty straightforward player who is a known commodity on a great contract, and the best thing is that he more or less continued to be that. He was a fairly reliable isolation scorer when called upon, and when he wasn’t going iso then he was just a really solid complementary veteran player.
Probably his best contributions of this year were on the defensive end of the floor, he was, once again, a guy who gave consistent effort on the defensive end, and kept up his almost uncanny ability to play very physical defense while usually avoiding foul trouble. His defensive play can be described with a lot of the stereotypical white guy stuff to be totally honest. He doesn’t have the goods to be an elite defender, but with smarts, toughness, and effort he remains a reliable defender. This does result in times where he would get roasted by guys that were clearly out of his league, but other than that he did everything you could hope for on the defensive end.
The last good thing for Marcus is something that I doubt anyone would’ve really thought would be in this section when the Pistons acquired him from the Suns. Marcus has great intangibles. To go along with the obvious stuff of him playing hard, he was pretty clearly a leader on the team. Whether by the stories that talked about his willingness to occasionally get vocal with teammates, or by the countless scoring droughts that ended with Marcus hitting a tough bucket. He is the sort of dude who anyone would go to war with, I don’t have any stats to back this up, but there were a bunch of times at the end of close games where Marcus would battle his tail off for offensive rebounds, especially when Andre was at the free throw line. There was never any question at all whether Marcus wanted to win.
First off with the smaller thing, is the basic fact of that despite him being a good overall defender, his limitations were, at times, glaring. It isn’t his fault really, but he got toasted a few times.
The real problem though was his offense, as he had, by almost any measure, one of his worst offensive seasons since his rookie year. (when he only played 17 games) He shot just 33.1% from 3 on a career high 4.5 attempts per game, and had a TS% of just 50.8%, all while having his assists drop off from a career best last year as well. A pretty big chunk of his inefficiency was simply a down shooting year from deep, and given that his career averages from 3 go: 36.9%, 38.1%, 35.8%, 36.2%, and 33.1%, it is fair to say that this year was likely nothing more than a down year which was perhaps made worse by the Pistons just being miserable at creating good looks from deep.
One big difference in his shooting from this year to last is that he got close to the hoop with a lot less regularity, he took 3s at a higher rate than last year, which is actually good, but he also took long 2s at a higher rate than ever before in his career, while getting into the hoop less than last year. Once again, part of this is that the Pistons offense had some real spacing issues so there was less room for him to get inside, while also his share of pick and roll duties went way down this year (mostly in favor of KCP), and his lack of attacking the hoop can also explain his downtick in assists this year.
Whatever the reasons though, his efficiency went down in a way that it can’t for him. As much as I love Marcus, this season has to be an outlier in terms of his offensive efficiency, at least if he is to remain playing as heavy minutes as he has in Detroit.
I don’t know, there were not many questions about Marcus coming into the season. I guess the main one is that last year was not just an anomaly, he really is a great guy to have on your team who plays the right way.
There are not really about his play I don’t think. Marcus is a known commodity at this point, given that he has enough of a history to say this year is likely just a downward outlier in terms of his offense. The main question around Marcus is probably whether or not he is actually good enough to hold onto his starting spot long term. Essentially, Marcus is right on that average line, where he is good enough to start/play heavy minutes, but you should have an eye out to get someone better if you can.