BOSTON – Marcus Morris has never lacked for confidence when it comes to his ability to play in the NBA, feeling as though he is a starter in this league even if his minutes played suggests otherwise.
As badly as he wants to play major minutes, being part of a major player like the Boston Celtics this season is even more valuable.
“The only thing I can do is go out there and be effective with the minutes I’m given and that’s my whole motto during the season,” Morris said.
It is a motto we saw at work in Boston’s 105-87 season-opening win over Philadelphia on Tuesday.
And it is that approach to the game that has made Morris one of head coach Brad Stevens’ favorites.
Morris came off the bench against the Sixers to tally a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds to go with two steals, doing it all in just over 20 minutes of playing time.
“Everybody has to do their role exceptionally well,” Stevens said. “But we’re asking more of Marcus Morris than we are a lot of guys. Because he’s a guy that could be playing 32, 34 minutes a night, starting, and playing a lot for … for a lot of places. But for us, we need him to come in and do exactly what he did (Tuesday).”
Morris understands playing time for him as well as his teammates, will fluctuate all season.
“I’m a veteran,” he said. “I’ve been around. This is my eighth year so I see that we have a special team.”
And for someone as competitive as Morris is, that makes the idea of having his minutes remain in a constant stat of uncertainty a much easier pill to swallow than it would be for another team that wasn’t as close to winning a title as the Celtics are.
“It can come down to 20 minutes, 15 minutes so just try to change the game some type of way with the time I’m given,” Morris said.
And it is that open-minded approach to playing that Stevens believes speaks to who Morris is as a person and as one of the leaders on the team.
“He doesn’t get enough credit for what he does for this team from a leadership standpoint,” Stevens told NBC Sports Boston.
Following Tuesday’s win, Stevens had more to say about Morris and the way he has handled his role with the team.
“There’ll be games when he plays more (than he did in the opener),” Stevens said. “But I couldn’t appreciate a guy more than I appreciate him. Because he’s the one that has really … you know, right from the get-go, he’s played completely unaffected by his role. He’s just going to play really well when he goes in the game.”
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