Marcus Morris has provided the Boston Celtics with a much-needed boost off the bench. Here’s a closer look at his play this early in the 2018-19 season.
The Boston Celtics were not good off the bench last season. Part of that reason was because they had so many injuries. Now that they have started the 2018-19 season off at full strength, the second unit has seen a change in production.
Last season, the Celtics’ reserves averaged 34.6 points per game. This season, they’re averaging 38.2 points a night. It’s a small sample size, and that’s necessarily not a major improvement, but it appears the production is headed in the right direction.
One reason behind the improvement off the bench is Marcus Morris, who is in his eighth season in the NBA and his second with the Celtics. So far this year, he’s averaging 14.3 points and 7.2 rebounds in 24.5 minutes per game.
What’s even more impressive is he’s only second behind Jayson Tatum for the most points per game on the team. Part of the reason he’s high on the list is because Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward and Jaylen Brown have all struggled.
Despite the team struggling on offense, Morris has upped his production. This has allowed the Celtics to stay competitive in games that look as if they shouldn’t be. In six games he’s recorded two double-doubles, which matches his season total from last season. His career high is five in a season and at this pace, it seems likely that he will surpass that number.
His best game came against the Oklahoma City Thunder in which he notched 21 points and 10 rebounds. The Celtics didn’t look particularly good, but a huge second half allowed Boston to come back and stun the Thunde, closing the game on a 16-1 run.
Morris played a huge part of that comeback, scoring 19 of his 21 points in the second half. He’s the type of player that provides a lot of energy and can heat up in a second. There should be no surprise by the bench production or his improved play.
Entering the season, Morris submitted a new nickname for the bench, claiming that they are now to be called the “Bench With Attitude.” The Celtics will be hoping Morris can continue to provide this much help for the “BWA,” especially while they try to find their footing and now that Daniel Theis will be out a few weeks:
This isn’t the biggest loss, but Theis is an effective player at full strength. With Morris leading the second unit, the Celtics will stay competitive while the starters are sitting. Part of the reason he has played so well to start the season may be because it’s a contract year. He may be in for a bigger payday if this is how he performs this season.
For now though, the Celtics will need Morris to play like this the whole season, which seems very doable since over the past 3-4 seasons, he’s averaged 13-14 points per game.