BOSTON – Marcus Morris is well-versed on the transient nature of the NBA having already been traded three times in six-plus seasons.
Of the teams he has played for, there’s only one organization that still leaves a bitter taste in his mouth – the Phoenix Suns.
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Morris made it clear that he has nothing but love for his former teammates in Phoenix.
“It’s more about [the organization],” Morris told NBC Sports Boston. “I just don’t like the way they treat players. People come out there every day and they bust their [expletive], and they think that because you make a certain amount of money, they don’t have feelings … I just don’t agree with a lot of things that they do.”
Morris, who was drafted by the Houston Rockets, was traded to Phoenix in February of 2013, reuniting him with his twin brother Markieff.
Phoenix wanted to re-sign both players and did so from a $52 million pool of money the brothers split up.
Both Morris brothers could have hit free agency and likely garnered more money around that time, but they felt taking less money was worth the opportunity to play with one another.
But Phoenix wanted to bolster its roster, which meant trying to create more salary cap flexibility and so they wound up trading Marcus Morris to Detroit and later sent his brother to Washington.
Even though Marcus Morris is still bothered some by how things went down in Phoenix, being traded from a franchise that has struggled to win in recent years regardless of the moves they have made, has actually been a blessing.
Marcus Morris is a steady rotation player for a Celtics team which has the best record in the NBA. And his brother plays for a Washington Wizards team that has struggled in large part because of injuries (he was out for the early part of the season with a sports hernia), but will likely be among the top teams in the East when all is said and done.
Here are five under-the-radar storylines as Boston looks to keep on its winning ways as they host Phoenix this afternoon:
The Suns (8-15) are having yet another bad season, having cut loose then-coach Earl Watson just three games in and replaced him with Jay Triano. Boston’s biggest competition today will likely be themselves. The Celtics are a deeper, more talented team from top to bottom. They should win today’s game going away with relative ease, but only if they continue along the path we’ve seen thus far.
The last time Booker set foot on the TD Garden floor, he absolutely lit up the Celtics like no one has in recent memory. He dropped a career-high 70 points against the Celtics last season which led to a back-and-forth Twitter beef between Booker and then-Celtic Jae Crowder with Boston emerging with a 130-120 win. It’ll be worth watching to see what impact if any will Jaylen Brown’s defense has on Booker.
The shooting numbers have not been great for Brown lately. In Boston’s last three games, he has shot just 30 percent (10-for-30) from the field while averaging eight points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. But the second-year wing has still been able to maintain a relatively strong presence defensively which is why he’s likely to continue playing significant minutes for Boston.
Jackson got his wish on draft night which was to be bypassed by the Celtics who had the No. 3 pick, and be selected by the Suns at No. 4. The Celtics were miffed that he canceled a workout in Sacramento while they were in the air bound for the West coast. But it’s fair to say that the Celtics are very happy with how things worked. They wound up selecting Jayson Tatum who has blossomed into one of the top rookies in the league this season. One of the concerns for Jackson was whether he would get a decent amount of playing time if Boston selected him. Actually, he’s now playing fewer minutes (21.4) with a bad Phoenix team, than Tatum (30.5) is for a Boston team that has the NBA’s best record.
DRIVE THE BALL
One area where the Suns are certainly going to try and find success will be attacking the rim. And they’ll do that with a steady diet of dribble-drive action. The Suns are ranked ninth in the NBA in drives (45.7) per game. Boston is at the opposite end of the drive the game, averaging 35.4 per game and ranks 27th in the league.
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