We’ve all heard enough about how poorly Jaylen Brown started this season and how well Marcus Morris Sr. started this season. Morris was dancing around a 50-40-90 season and Jaylen was building 2 bedroom apartments regularly with his inability to put the ball in the bucket. Brad Stevens did what we’d expect him to do in a situation like this as he made a change in the starting 5 by adding Morris/Smart and moving Brown/Hayward to the bench. While I think a bench role for Gordon is still the best thing for him as he’s recovering and Smart’s been phenomenal, I feel differently about Brown. Since moving to the bench Brown has been a different player as he’s gotten his percentages up and has been a staple in Steven’s rotation.
Marcus Morris alternatively has cooled off as of late, and after riding a high for the first half of the season, he’s looked more like the guy we’ve seen over the years. This isn’t any sort of knock towards Mook as he’s still been one of their better players but the numbers/eyetest don’t lie. Check out their numbers since the new year and how each has performed.
Marcus Morris Sr. :
Morris has the edge in free throw percentage, rebounds per game, and assists per game, but other than that the advantage is in favor of Jaylen. It’s also of note that Brown is playing about 3 less minutes per game so some of these discrepancies could also be attributed to that.
The main difference with Jaylen off of the bench is that he’s been able to carve out his role and he has a nice grasp on what he needs to do on a nightly basis. He’s a slasher and when he puts his head down and goes to the bucket, he’s hard to stop. The fact that he’s hitting 38.2% of his threes has also opened up his game even more. Nowadays defenders aren’t able to sag off of him as much and when he gets going with that lightning quick first step, it’s all over.
Once you check out his highlights you’ll see what I mean. So much of his game is based off of reading how the defense closes out on him and responding accordingly. More often than not he’s been able to effectively gauge this and either blow right by them or knock down the jumper. He’s also been one of the Celtics most effective wings on defense with his long arms and sound rotations. He holds a defensive rating of 103 (4th on the team) since the new year began which ranks higher than guys like Tatum, Horford, Smart, Morris, etc. Jaylen’s been dynamite on both ends and I’d like for Brad to consider re-entering him into the starting 5. Morris has been great this season but the upside with Jaylen and room to grow is there. A bench role for Morris could also reap the same benefits it reaped for Brown and get him going as we near the postseason.
Oddly enough, after the Celtics loss to the Clippers on February 9th Morris had some things to say to the media about what needs to change.
First of all, it’s notable that Morris is open to a move and is a team first guy in that sense but I want to read into another part of that quote. “Get some juice in there”. I don’t know if I’m reading into that too much but Juice is Jaylen’s nickname and he has a product line based around it. It could all just be a coincidence, but it’s way more fun to read into it like he’s talking about Jaylen, so I’m going to do just that. The main point here still is that Morris is all for change if needed. I think it’s time for Brad Stevens to take a look at that starting 5 and do what Mook said. Get some Juice in there, HI-C, Snapple, Dole, Sunny D, Jaylen Brown…you get the point.