On Fortson, Ariza, Morris

Very tough loss yesterday from the good guys.  Suddenly, Phoenix has closed the gap in the standings.  Unless Kyle Lowry gets back quickly, this will be an uphill battle.  A few thoughts from last night’s game:

  • Courtney Fortson has been pretty painful to watch in his two appearances thus far, and by that I mean that I teeter on the edge of cardiac arrest when he dribbles.  He bounces the ball so high that you feel he’s on the verge of losing it at any moment.  With that said, the kid is no doubt nervous and you really root for him to do well – he’s basically a normal guy trying to make it with the stars.
  • That stretch last night when Dragic sat in the first half–and the game was lost–illustrates the difficulty of playing point guard in the NBA.  I think back to the Trevor Ariza saga and realize that most people don’t really understand how difficult it is to create shots and initiate an offense.  People see a guy like Courtney Lee who can bring the ball up comfortably and seems to have functional handles and naturally assume he can run an offense.  This is what happened when the team signed Ariza – many people thought he could be like McGrady.  The logic was hopelessly flawed.  Playing point/creating/initiating in the NBA requires so much more than just dribbling, from vision, to awareness, to a heightened level of body control.  (For much, much, much more commentary on this topic, see my ‘Assessing Ariza’ series.)
  • Marcus Morris once again saw minutes with the team playing short-handed.  He hit a nice turnaround on the baseline, but overall, like the previous night, didn’t do much offensively.  He played pretty well defensively, however, which was encouraging as the issue of whether he could keep pace with perimeter players was the primary concern.  He was able to stay in front of Jared Dudley and for the most part, Michael Redd.  While Redd did score on a foul, it’s not an issue – he’s a shooting guard; not even a small forward.  Some observations or I guess, affirmations, on Morris – he doesn’t have that athletic explosion.  No burst.  We knew this though.  A lot of rookies are able to come in and impress and earn more playing time just by scrapping, without the ball.  I think back to Carl Landry’s rookie year when he came in and dunked back every offensive board in sight, earning himself a spot in the rotation.  Morris can’t do that because he doesn’t have the athleticism to get those loose balls.  For him to be effective, he will need the ball, and therein lies the problem because as a rookie, he isn’t going to get the ball.  Another example: Chandler Parsons and Patterson earned their spots by playing smart defense and picking their spots offensively.  Marcus Morris’ value is as a one-on-one offensive player.  See now why they kept him in the D-League?  The few times he was able to pin his man down in the post, he looked pretty good.  So calm down on Morris – it’s too soon to worry.






About the author: Rahat Huq is a lawyer in real life and the founder and editor-in-chief of Red94.net.

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  • htownwaq

    I missed the game last night. Do you think Morris can develop into a player with a solid one on one isolation type offensive game like Melo?

  • Zoabe

     @htownwaq I want to piggyback this question as well.  What do you think is Marcus Morris’s ceiling?  Are we looking at a potential second or third best offensive option on a championship caliber team?  
     
    I have to say I’m excited about the size he and Parsons bring to our wing position and the rebounding and physicality advantage that would imply.
     
    I know it’s ridiculously early to speculate on Marcus’s potential, but what is a sports blog for if not hopeless optimism?

  • rahathuq

     @htownwaq i don’t see why not.  so far, we haven’t seen it, but he hasn’t gotten a chance to show it yet, as i explained above.  the two players have similar physical attributes.  neither is particularly athletic.  melo seems to have much better handles, though in fairness to marcus, we haven’t seen him try and put the ball on the floor.  hopefully marcus will get a few chances in the post at some point but unfortunately, i can see him back out of the rotation once k-mart returns.  
     
    one thing that really struck me was his shooting – i know its just practice but he was basically nailiing everything while i watched him.  pretty good form too, though he needs to jump more.  
     
    melo’s a high standard – he’s one of the best offensive players in the league.  it’s a long shot marcus ever is that good, but do i think he can become similar in that mold?  i haven’t been given any reason to believe it cant, yet, so we’ll see.  remember that even though its late in the year, this is a guy basically playing his first minutes, so its normal that he’d look so tentative.

  • Stephen

     @rahathuq 
    i don’t see the Carmelo comparisons at all.
    Carmelo came into League as a scoring machine and he made up for his poor 3pt shooting by feasting at the line. Carmelo also was/is an excellent offensive rebounder(mainly I believe because it gave him another chance to shoot!).
    Lost in all of the Melo drama is he took a craptastic Denver team to the Play-Offs-in the West-his rookie season,something LeBron couldn’t do.
     
    I just haven’t seen that fire a scorer has in Morris. May be too small a sample and he’s trying to blend in a season w/out camp and Pre-Season.
    Right now he’s looking like a bench scorer who really needs to be set up.
    Next yr will has some intriguing factors in a full camp,Bud possibly being traded or moved to SG and the Motie experience. If Motie sets up high-or even outside-that opens the low-post for Morris.

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