WALTHAM, Mass. – The debut of Marcus Morris with the Boston Celtics may once again be delayed.
Morris, who joined the team on Friday, did not play in Boston’s 110-102 win at Philadelphia on Saturday, and it’s still up in the air as to whether he will see action against the Sixers when they invade the TD Garden for a Monday night matchup against the Celtics.
Morris, who said he’s still working to improve his conditioning, said no decision has been made as to whether he’ll play on Monday.
“I didn’t want to miss the first game,” said Morris, adding that he needs to shed seven pounds. “It’s about being smart, protecting my body. It’s about being ready for Cleveland on the 17th.”
Boston plays seven of its first 11 games on the road, which includes the season-opener at Cleveland on Oct. 17.
And while it’s unclear exactly what Morris’ role will be once he’s physically ready to play, it sounds like he will be in the starting lineup.
“I’ll be playing mostly four (power forward), something new to me,” said Morris who played primarily small forward for the Detroit Pistons last season. “Playing around a great group of guys, starting at the four, it should be great.”
In the first two preseason games, Boston has started its Big Three of Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward and Al Horford, along with Jaylen Brown. Filling in as the fifth starter was Aron Baynes in Boston's first preseason game, and rookie Jayson Tatum in their second.
Morris along with his twin brother Markieff (he plays for the Washington Wizards) were both acquitted of assault charges last week, which allowed to rejoin their respective teams and start preparing for the upcoming NBA season.
Following practice on Sunday, Morris spent some time with the Celtics assistant coaches as well as the training staff working on additional conditioning as well as some mid-range shooting that eventually extended out past the 3-point line.
When the Celtics traded for Morris, it was fueled in large part to Boston needing to create enough salary cap space in order to complete their signing of Gordon Hayward.
But this deal was also made to address Boston’s need to increase its versatility in the frontcourt.
Having the talent to be a reliable mid-range shooter as well as one who can extend the defense by connecting from 3-point range, were among the reasons why the Celtics were open to parting ways with all-NBA defender Avery Bradley for Morris.
Knowing the expectations for both the Celtics and his role with the team are high, Morris is eager to get on the floor and play.
“It’s killing me,” he said. “I really want to play. I still feel I have a lot to prove in this league. I want to help my team.”
But Morris has been in the NBA long enough to know that getting on the floor before his body is ready for the rigors of an NBA slate of games, it’s risky.
“It’s about being smart, protecting my body,” he said.