Marcus Morris
Marcus Morris
29-Year-Old ForwardF
New York Knicks
2018 Fantasy Outlook
Last year’s arrival of Morris was met with mixed reviews in Boston, given that it meant parting ways with Avery Bradley. But Morris was an ideal complement to fellow-bigs Al Horford and Aron Baynes, allowing Stevens to mix and match lineups based on opponent weaknesses. Fantasy-wise, leaving Detroit’s thin roster meant a slight dip in minutes for Morris. But the reduced playing time also led to better shooting percentages, including a 37 percent success rate from behind the arc. The return of a healthy Gordon Hayward means Morris will almost certainly shift to the bench, and his production is likely to suffer, as a result. Morris can still be a factor in deeper leagues, but his contributions in points and rebounds may not be significant enough to warrant high ownership in some standard formats. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a one-year, $15 million contract with the Knicks in July of 2019.
Reaches deal with Knicks
FNew York Knicks
July 11, 2019
Morris agreed Thursday with the Knicks on a one-year, $15 million contract, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports.
ANALYSIS
After initially agreeing to a two-year, $20 million deal with the Spurs on July 6, Morris reopened his free agency when it became apparent the Knicks would have more salary-cap space available than initially anticipated. Morris will forgo an extra year of security for a higher annual salary in New York, where he'll be forced to fight for minutes in a deep collection of forwards that includes second-year player Kevin Knox and free-agent pickups Julius Randle, Bobby Portis, Taj Gibson, Wayne Ellington and Reggie Bullock. Due to the high amount of competition, Morris will likely struggle to exceed the 27.9 minutes per game he averaged in Boston in 2018-19.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
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Last year in Detroit, Morris was a starter in each of the 79 games in which he appeared. That's unlikely to happen this year in Boston. This summer, the Celtics acquired Morris in exchange for Avery Bradley as Boston cleared salary space for free agent star Gordon Hayward. The good news for Morris is that Boston is in desperate need of size and rebounding. The bad news is that Morris averaged a paltry 4.6 rebounds per game last year despite playing a high 33 minutes per game. The Celtics need rebounding, but are unlikely to get it from Morris. Coach Brad Stevens is happy to go with a small ball, positionless basketball approach that will probably lead to rookie Jayson Tatum seeing minutes at power forward. On the positive, the three-for-one deal that brought Kyrie Irving to Boston should free up minutes for Morris. Last year, Morris attempted 4.5 three-point attempts per game, but only shot 33 percent from behind the arc. In fact, Morris’ three point shooting has gotten progressively worse since the 38% he shot in 2013-14. Boston loves to shoot threes, so expect Stevens to encourage Morris to keep hoisting treys. But if Morris’ minutes decline, he’ll be hard pressed to continue his two-year trend of 14.0 points per game. Stevens will most likely experiment with lineups throughout the first half of the season. Morris’ role may not be defined until after the All-Star break.
Though he expressed frustration last summer when he was traded away from the Suns (and brother Markieff) after he had agreed to a contract extension with Phoenix less than a year earlier, Morris quickly put any dissatisfaction of landing with the Pistons aside and embraced a full-time starting role for the first time in his career. Along with starting all 80 games in which he played, Morris benefited greatly from the Pistons' lack of depth on the wing, as coach Stan Van Gundy handed him 35.7 minutes per game, good for 10th-most in the NBA and a jump of 10 minutes per game from what he received in 2014-15. Morris used the uptick in playing time to post several career highs, with the 27-year-old averaging 14.1 points (on 43.4% shooting), 5.1 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.4 three-pointers and 0.8 steals per game. Morris is at his best as a mid-range shooter, but his improved proficiency from long range over the last two seasons (36%) has helped upgrade his fantasy outlook. Van Gundy indicated he planned on finding more run for his wing reserves in 2016-17, but Morris seems like a safe bet to continue receiving 30-plus minutes per night. His ability to move between both forward spots and chip in across a few different categories makes him quality roster filler in most fantasy leagues.
Marcus and his twin Markieff Morris signed joint four-year extensions with the Suns last season, expecting to play together for the long haul, but in the Suns' attempt to sign LaMarcus Aldridge this summer, they sent Marcus to the Pistons in what was essentially just a salsry dump to clear cap space. The Pistons, on the other hand, were thrilled to receive Marcus Morris in a trade that allowed them to simply absorb his contract into their cap space. Marcus is the projected starter at small forward, but after rookie Stanley Johnson went buckwild at the Orland Summer League, Morris might get pushed to the bench. It's also possible that even more lineup shuffling could happen, and the Pistons could decide to start Morris and Johnson at the forward spots by pushing presumed starting power forward Ersan Ilyasova to a bench role. Through 81 games with the Suns last season, Morris averaged 10.4 points, 1.4 three-pointers, 4.8 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.8 steals, and 0.2 blocks in 25 minutes per game while shooting 43 percent from the field, 36 percent from three, and 63 percent from the line. He doesn't take many shots from the line, which is probably why he's so erratic there despite being a capable three-point shooter. Morris was a much better shooter off the bench last season (39% 3Pt), playing against other second-string players, than he was in 35 games as a starter (32% 3Pt), and he's been a streaky player throughout his career, so don't be surprised if he gets slotted into a bench role this season and ends up playing a 3-and-D role behind Johnson and Ilysaova at the two forward spots. Morris is intriguing this season, but most players are what they are, and he has been a bench player for the majority of his career, so it's kind of hard to see him growing into much more than that unless he becomes more consistent this season.
One half of the Morris duo enters his fourth season in the NBA and second full season in Phoenix. In 2013-14, Morris averaged 9.7 points, 3.9 rebounds, 1.1 assists, and 0.9 steals in 22 minutes per game. He shot 44 percent from the field on 7.9 attempts, 38 percent from three on 3.2 attempts, and 76 percent from the free-throw line on 1.9 attempts per game. While not a major fantasy factor, Morris certainly carved out a nice role with the Suns last season and contributed to the team's success in the difficult Western Conference. On the fantasy side of things, he doesn't offer much value outside of his ability to hit three-pointers as a power forward. Given Channing Frye's departure, Morris will have a chance to fill his stretch-four role, though he has competition from his brother Markieff Morris and Anthony Tolliver, and Marcus is a bit undersized for the task. As is, Morris is only a faint blip on the fantasy radar in most formats.
Life in Phoenix did not treat Morris kindly. Coming over in a mid-February trade from Houston, he was not granted consistent playing time. When he was on the floor, the former Jayhawk shot the ball poorly. He averaged 7.7 points in 20 minutes last year and made 56 percent from the stripe. Morris must outperform his brother from long range to find minutes.
Last year's first-rounder, Morris didn't make a significant impact, as Parsons beat him out for minutes at the three, and Morris probably doesn't project as a regular four. This year, Morris will have to hold off Royce White and Terrence Jones even to secure a backup role.
The 14th overall pick in this year's draft, Morris is a capable scorer with a fluid jump shot who could contribute at the NBA level out of the gate - at least on the offensive end. Morris needs to add more strength and improve his defense to get consistent minutes, however. For now, we'd expect Chase Budinger to see most of the team's minutes at the three, but Budinger's hardly an established player, so the door is open for Morris to get more run.
More Fantasy News
Reconsidering deal with Spurs
FSan Antonio Spurs
July 9, 2019
Morris, who agreed to a two-year, $20 million deal with the Spurs, is now considering signing with the Knicks, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
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Latches on with Spurs
FSan Antonio Spurs
July 6, 2019
Morris agreed Saturday with the Spurs on a two-year, $20 million contract, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports.
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Double-doubles in loss
FBoston Celtics
May 8, 2019
Morris finished with 14 points (4-8 FG, 2-4 3Pt, 4-5 FT), 11 rebounds and three assists over 30 minutes in the Celtics' loss to the Bucks on Wednesday.
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Will come off bench in Game 5
FBoston Celtics
May 8, 2019
Morris will come off the bench for Wednesday's Game 5 against the Celtics, Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald reports.
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Crashes glass in loss
FBoston Celtics
May 6, 2019
Morris totaled 18 points (5-10 FG, 1-4 3Pt, 7-11 FT), 14 rebounds and two assists over 34 minutes in the Celtics' loss to the Bucks on Monday.
ANALYSIS
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