With one of the youngest rosters in the NBA (average age of 24.89), climbing out of a rebuild can have its challenges – but some of those challenges can be mitigated by an experienced, veteran voice on the bench and in the locker room. So as the Bulls continue the search for their next point guard this offseason, they’ll likely look to add veteran depth to the roster, as well.
Enter: Marcus Morris rumors.
The Athletic’s Shams Charnia recently listed the Bulls as having strong interest in signing Morris. And considering Boylen’s affinity for “gritty” basketball players (like every college MAC coach), Morris, who’s well-known to be one of the more aggressive players around the league, would probably fit into the team culture pretty well. There have been off-court concerns over the years, of course, but that may just be part of the cost.
As for his actual performance, Morris is coming off one of his better NBA seasons. The dream of developing into a dominant NBA starter may have worn off, but the big man has actually carved out a pretty nice spot for himself as a role-player. Indeed, he finished this past season averaging 13.9 points per game, along with a career-high 6.1 rebounds per game. He also had a career-high field goal percentage with 44.7 percent and had his best season from behind the arc since 2013-14 (knocking down 37.5 percent of his attempts).
And the playoff stats were just as good: Morris scored double figures in seven of his nine playoff games this year, and even collected a double-double during Boston’s last two games against Milwaukee.
It’s not a no-brainer though. On-top of the potential off-court concerns, playing time could be a sticking point, as well. Having started 53 games for the Boston Celtics this season, Morris will be looking for similar playing time on his next team while he journeys through free agency. But with Porter Jr. and Markkanen already on the roster, the Bulls can’t offer starting minutes anywhere near that level. Morris might be used to coming in and out of the lineup, but after a very efficient season, I think it’s safe to assume the more starting time offered, the better chance a team has of landing him.
But the Bulls could convince him there’s room on the court. Technically, Morris could back-up Markkanen or Porter Jr., and also fill in for Carter Jr. He played center several times last season for Boston, and as Celtics Insider A. Sherrod Blakely mentioned in his recent appearance on the Bulls Talk podcast, he has a very interesting ability to find the mismatch and take full advantage. Also, while his ball-handling isn’t the most fluid part of his game, Morris has proven that he can work the mid-range game off the dribble.
And perhaps most importantly: compared to other Bulls rumors we’ve seen this offseason, these new thoughts on Morris definitely seem to be the most plausible. He fits the veteran depth the team is looking for, and he’s still on an upward trend. The guy may not be the most flashy name out there, but he has turned himself into a very consistent and solid role player in the NBA.
The only question now becomes whether Morris will buy-in to a rebuilding atmosphere or head to a team like the Clippers or Kings that are just getting over the hump.