Fans of the Celtics do not realize how desperately Boston needs Marcus Morris back from this knee injury. On the surface, Morris appears to be only a secondary forward who represents nothing more than a quality bench player. But the numbers betray that he is much, much more.
Although Boston is not suggesting that they intend to rush him back, they're certainly aware of Morris’ value as a bench player.
You Don't Know What You Got till It's Gone
When Marcus Morris was acquired from the Detroit Pistons, this past offseason, the Celtics knew that they had obtained a nice chess-piece. He's a 6’9” swing-forward who can shoot the three-ball and also hold his own in the paint.
Morris’ versatility was illustrated by his production a season ago, when he averaged 14.0 PPG and 4.6 RPG for Detroit. He's the perfect complimentary scorer/rebounder on the second unit, whenever the starters need some rest.
That is if he’s healthy enough to play...
The Boston Celtics have a record of 13-3 when Marcus Morris makes an appearance in the game. Their margin of victory is +5.6 - almost half a point above Boston's season average. Conversely, this year, Morris has a plus/minus of -1 in the 16 games that he's played in.
Clearly Morris’ efforts galvanise team scoring in a subtle, yet effective manner.
In the 15 games that Morris has missed, due to the aforementioned knee injury, Boston is 11-4. And their margin of victory is an entire point lower, at +4.5, when Morris doesn't make an appearance.
This goes to show that it is not necessarily the individual statistics or tangibles of Marcus Morris’ contribution that makes him such an asset. Knowing that they have a veteran big man, either down low or posturing on the perimeter, gives this young Celtics bench an invaluable boost of confidence.
Time Heals All Wounds
When he was initially sidelined earlier in the year, Marcus Morris volunteered“I see the logic” in the Celtics decision to not rush him back. But that was the first go around.
Presumably this second unfortunate intermission in Morris’ season must be just as, if not more frustrating, for the team and for the player.
The recent PRP injection in his left knee implies that Morris is on the threshold of a return. This platelet-rich plasma comes from Morris’ own body, and is simply a little boost to get him to where he's going slightly quicker.
Nonetheless Boston has not released anything resembling a time-table for his comeback. This could be strategic Belichickian silence, or it could be that the Celtics genuinely don't know what to expect.
One thing is for certain: Marcus Morris is an integral player on Boston's bench. His influence, or lack thereof, on the outcome of any given game is always appreciable.
On Wednesday night when they take on the Miami Heat, the Celtics bench will have to manufacture some sort of substitute for Marcus Morris. This is a team that Boston suffered a nonplussing loss to, even with Morris active, back in November.