Marcus Morris: Bringing an Old School Game, to the Modern Day Era
Marcus Morris has been a pleasant surprise to Pistons fans. When the team acquired him in the off-season, most people probably didn’t expect him be playing the way he has. Playing good defense and bringing toughness to the team. And also rebounding at a high rate averaging 7.7 rebounds per game.
But what has stood out the most is his scoring; he has been the leading scorer for the Pistons averaging 19.3 points per game through 3 games so far.
The way he scores is unique, compared to other players at his position. He scores through the high and low post. Or he can isolate his man and take him off the dribble to score a tough contested jump shot.
Morris played great in his last game against the Chicago Bulls, scoring 26 points on 10-15 shots. Most of them contested, mid-range jump shots; the type of shots that NBA analytics discourages.
“He knows that’s my game” Morris said. “When I was in Houston” (noted for its devotion to analytics that steers players towards shooting only three-point shots or layups.) “They didn’t allow me to play my game. And the mid-range game is my game. I enjoy it. There are only a few guys in the league that still play in there.”
“Marcus is a guy we can go to and isolate and can shoot a high percentage on mid-range jumpers.” Said Stan Van Gundy, the Pistons coach. “Across the league, it’s not a high percentage shot. We know that. But everything is based on individuals. It’s not based on a league-wide average. The league-wide average on those shots might be 37 percent, but Marcus is shooting 52 percent. It’s an efficient shot for him and for us right now.”
Morris values the mid-range game; just like the early 2004 championship Pistons team, and the old Bad-Boy Pistons.
With defenses focused on preventing layups and three-point shots, they are willing to give up good looks from mid-range, with hopes that players will take a shot that many NBA players can’t make. But Morris will scores those shots, and that’s what’s been happening so far. Teams are letting him take the mid-range jumper and he is making it, shooting 54 percent from there.
When looking through the history of the game, just about every championship teams best players could hit that mid-range jump shot consistently. It’s a necessity in the playoffs with teams locking down on defense, by shutting down the paint, and preventing teams from getting good three-point shots off.
Now I’m not saying that the Pistons will win a championship this year. But what they can do is keep getting better as a team, and individually. Also with the additions of some more players this off-season and the addition of Marcus Morris, the Pistons are close to getting back to being one of the NBA’s best teams.