Saturday, October 27, 2018

Why Marcus Morris is still very important to the Celtics

The Celtics regular season hasn't gotten off to the start many of us anticipated.

The offense runs at a snail's pace almost as productive as wasps producing honey. Boston's offensive rating sits at a 99.2, among the league's worst and the nicknamed, "Bench With Attitude" has so far failed to capitalize on the success of last season. NBA analyst Charles Barkley earlier this season proclaimed the Celtics as a team with "too much talent," a notion that I scoffed at but maybe that is the case out of the gate of the 2018-19 campaign.

However, shedding guys like Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward or even Terry Rozier off the roster is not ideal, it's simply unwise to move one of these guys just to create space for the others to benefit from. It would be foolish to give up on a guy as young as Brown, ridiculous to give up on Hayward this early in his rehabilitation process and five games isn't big enough of a sample size to justify making such moves.

A minor tweak could be in order, especially surrounding a player like Marcus Morris. To the naked eye, the 29-year-old forward is one of the only Celtics players who looks like the same player he did last season.

Morris couldn't have asked for a better start, given his circumstance. He's currently at a 64.1 true-shooting percentage, his mark of 26.8 percent defensive rebounding currently bests LeBron James of the Lakers and Blake Griffin of the Pistons, who is off to an incredible start to the season.

The Celtics will certainly have their hands full Saturday night when they face off against Griffin and the Pistons Saturday night in Detroit while Morris -- from a statistical standpoint -- is the best Celtics scorer at the moment, his 115 offensive rating is the team's best. Morris, along with Al Horford, are the sole reasons the Celtics don't have an under-.500 record five games into the season.

While a player like Jaylen Brown has played tentative with uncertainty, Morris has excelled through his, at some points, irrational confidence. Barring back-to-back sets, you can expect Hayward to remain in the starting lineup but it may be time for Brad Stevens to seriously consider inserting Morris into his starting unit.

He's averaging 13.6 points a night along with a team-high seven rebounds a night, while Aron Baynes works his way back from a hamstring injury. Morris capitalized on the availability of extra minutes to go around after Kyrie Irving was ruled out for the season, along with of course, Hayward by giving Stevens and the Celtics valuable minutes and he's back to doing the same thing this year.

Morris is just as important now as he will be for the foreseeable future.

Vinny Jace

Photo used is courtesy of Getty Images

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