After wrapping up what was one of the best seasons of his career, and the most successful season in Clippers history, forward Marcus Morris went to Instagram this week to put a bow on the year.
“Same grind!” Morris wrote alongside a photo of himself from behind. “Work don’t stop! Didn’t end how we wanted but damn it was fun. Shout out to the @laclippers for letting me be me!”
It was, decidedly, a fun year for Morris, who averaged 13.4 points in 26.4 minutes per game this year. He started 29 of the Clippers’ 57 games, and shot 47.3% from the field as well as the 3-point line, ranking second in the NBA in 3-point accuracy. Morris shot, incredibly, 49.7% from the 3-point line as a starter, mostly in the second half of the season, establishing himself as one of the best stretch-4s in the NBA.
The Clippers got to the Western Conference finals for the first time in the franchise’s history, despite losing Kawhi Leonard to a knee injury during the conference semifinals against Utah, but ultimately lost to the Suns and missed a shot at the NBA Finals.
“Tough, man,” Morris said after losing to Phoenix. “It’s a lot of feelings. We played our ass off this series, totally different way.”
Clippers Suffered Multiple Injuries Through Postseason
Like the Clippers in general, who were without Leonard for eight playoff games and missed Serge Ibaka for all of the postseason, Morris was affected by injury in recent weeks. He played through persistent knee pain, which he said limited him to about 75% in the early going of the playoffs. Still, he played all 19 of the Clippers’ playoff games, starting 18 of them.
He averaged 12.2 points, but his usual shooting efficiency was off, as he made 43.0% of his shots and 37.5% of his 3s.
Morris took some blame for poor shooting to start the conference finals, when he shot 29.4% in the first four games and 25.0% from the 3-point line, scoring just 6.3 points per game. Morris scored 48 points, though, in the final two games combined, shooting 18-for-33 from the field.
“I just wanted to just will myself out there, just play,” Morris said. “I came out, about 75%, got better as that series went. But it came at a bad time for me. Playing well coming out of the Utah series, and then me just, didn’t get me where I needed the first four games of the series. And it is what it is. There’s no excuses for me. Tried to do my best to just be there for my team.”
Marcus Morris Signed for Four Years Last Winter
Morris does enter the offseason in a rare position, having earned some security from the Clippers in the form of a four-year, $64-million contract he signed last winter. That is the biggest deal of Morris’ career, a rare case for a guy who is 31 years old.
The Clippers do have contract concerns this offseason, starting with the likely free agency of Leonard, with issues around point guard Reggie Jackson, forward Nicolas Batum and, possibly, Ibaka.
It is expected that most of the 2020-21 Clippers will be back next year. With the NBA returning to a more normal league schedule, Morris said he is looking forward to what is next.
“I’m excited to see what the future holds and this is something to build on,” he said. “We come back next year, we have a full team and come back healthy. And the schedule was unforgiving down the stretch in the playoffs. The healthiest team won. They played well. Give them a lot of credit.”