The NBA is a league of stars.
We know everything Stephen Curry and LeBron James do. We sound the alarm over every Anthony Davis block and dunk.
That’s all fair, but it makes it easy for role players to not get properly recognized. In the ebb and flow of the season, several role players go through hot streaks that go under the radar.
We’ll try to rectify this issue by awarding a Role Player of the Week Award. This is to highlight a superb week by a player who may not get a ton of coverage. The Week 1 winner is Marcus Morris.
There was plenty of buzz around Detroit taking Stanley Johnson eighth overall in the 2015 draft. Some felt Justise Winslow was the better pick, but Johnson showed impressive flashes in Summer League and preseason.
Morris arrived in a salary dump from Phoenix with little fanfare when the Suns were going after LaMarcus Aldridge. While he was named the starter, it seemed a foregone conclusion that he was just keeping the spot warm for Johnson.
While Johnson is still a huge part of Detroit’s present and future, Morris has been the hot hand early in the season, and a huge part of Detroit’s 3-0 start.
After an inefficient 18-point effort in the first game against Atlanta, Morris rebounded with a solid game against Utah and incredible one versus Chicago.
Morris has showed impressive versatility, shooting 4-of-7 from three thus far and punishing smaller wings in the post.
Detroit doesn’t really have a big who demands possessions in the post, so Morris has been their most frequent post-up player thus far. He destroyed Tony Snell on Friday with a couple of step-back jumpers off post ups:
This may not be the most efficient shot long term, but Morris has made it so far this season. And his ability to make threes, post up and defend small forwards has made him very valuable to Detroit. He’s become a challenging cover for opposing teams, as opposed to an afterthought.
Detroit has had as good a start as anyone could’ve imagined, and Morris has been a huge part of the success. It’s been a good week for someone who was dumped in a salary move.