Shapan Debnath: C+
I just can’t get super behind this Marcus Morris signing just yet. The biggest thing is that we did not seem to give up too much; we even managed to keep our rookies from this past draft. I understand Morris’s ability to space to floor compared to Harkless, but he feels like a dangerous personality in general to add to this locker room, and is a guy who is hungry for the ball when there will almost always be better options on the floor than him. His ability to buy in isn’t foolproof to me, but hopefully he steps up and shows me some mettle. It’s a risky move, but I suppose if ever you take a risk for a win now move, you could do it now. Even if it doesn’t feel to me that the Clippers addressed their biggest issue, and that’s having someone dependable to play down low to close games.
Chris Murch: A-
What Morris brings to the table for LA is another tough dude, with height, who is a high-level shooter (both off the dribble and off the catch) and can hold his own defensively. Yes, he’s a bit of a ball-stopper and could take some shots away from LA’s other priority scorers in Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Lou Williams — but this LA Clippers team goes through weird lulls on offense too often and Mook is another guy who can go get you a bucket whenever he wants. He’s great in the mid-post, great from three and takes shit from no one. He might not be the most seamless fit, but he’s a guy you go get to win a ring. He is going to have to accept a smaller role in LA, but his efficient shooting numbers should alleviate any downturn in minutes.
Thomas Wood: B
The value is fine — the traded
picks weren’t likely to net a better player, and, as frequently pointed out
yesterday, the pick swap option is laughable. My brain tells me that Morris is
an ideal basketball fit: a good shooter who’s been better than good this year
and a versatile defender with legitimate size. The thought of him capably
checking LeBron one-on-one while Kawhi freaking Leonard, Paul freaking George,
and Pat freaking Beverley buzz around with both freedom and bad intentions is a
But, something else tells me there’s a chemistry downside here, that the idea of Morris is better than the reality that’s likely to materialize. With the ball in his hands, he’s deliberate at best and indecisive at worst. He can get his own shot against a number of defenders, but he’ll be no better than the third, or maybe fourth, or maybe fifth option. Will he be content? Or will he scuttle a crucial postseason possession because he decides that yeah, totally, he’s the dude who should take this shot?
Taylor Smith: B+
Morris’ personality notwithstanding, I like the trade quite a bit for the Clippers. The fact that getting him kept a useful wing away from the Lakers is one of the main reasons. I’m not sure bringing Morris in raises the Clippers’ ceiling, but in the league nowadays you really can’t have enough shooting. I’m skeptical of Morris shooting 7% better than his career average from downtown this season, but having a guy capable of knocking down open looks is going to be vital for this team with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George initiating so much offense in the playoffs.
Morris is a good enough defender to where I don’t think dumping Harkless results in a net loss overall. The league is getting smaller, which makes big wings like Morris valuable commodities. Further emptying the cupboard of draft assets is a dicey prospect if it doesn’t lead to a title, but that’s something you worry about down the road. Getting Morris at a fairly light cost is a win, I think.
If I were grading this in a vacuum,
factoring in only the difference in talent between Marcus Morris and Maurice
Harkless — and whether that upgrade is worth a late first-round pick, an early
second-round pick, Robinson, and a pick swap with the Knicks (lololololol) — I
probably would’ve given this a B-. Morris is a little less versatile than
Harkless defensively, but his added size better fits the Clippers current needs
on that end, and on the other end his far superior shooting should pay spacing
dividends in the postseason.
The world we live in, however, wasn’t invented by William Hoover or even Sir James Dyson. There is no vacuum. Everything the Clippers do this year must be judged by how it affects the arms race with their top Western Conference rival, the Lakers. With the superstar duo of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, the Clippers’ advantage is on the wings. Taking Morris off the market, while trading Harkless to a team that doesn’t plan to buy him out, keeps two credible Kawhi/PG defenders away from the Lakers. To my way of thinking, that’s a substantial bit of extra credit that boosts the Clippers’ mark by a full letter grade.
Joey Linn: A
deal for Marcus Morris was absolutely flawless. For the Clippers to obtain
their primary target without giving up any rotation pieces or young talent was
remarkable. Sliding Morris into Moe’s role will give the Clippers an expansion
of versatility in the one area that was lacking. Teams can no longer trap Kawhi
without leaving multiple 40% 3P shooters alone for him to find. No other team
can boast such firepower.
The only aspect of the trade deadline that I believe holds the Clippers from receiving an A+, is the Jerome Robinson trade. My opinion, while perhaps unpopular, is that the Clippers gave up on Jerome too soon. Unless a quality player is signed with the space cleared by dealing Jerome and waiving Isaiah Thomas, the deal seems unnecessary. Perhaps the Clippers win the Collison sweepstakes and prove me wrong, but anything less than that would seem as if Jerome was a meaningless casualty at the deadline.
While questionable, even if unsuccessful, the Jerome trade is small. To nab Marcus Morris for such a small outgoing package is a resounding A grade at the deadline for the Clippers.
Michelle Uzeta: B
The front office pulled off another savvy deal by securing power forward Marcus Morris ahead of the trade deadline. I was impressed with the fact that the Clippers were able to make the deal without giving up any key players in the current rotation (Harrell or Landry for example), and absolutely giddy that it foiled reported efforts by the other LA team to upgrade their roster.
I know many have their reservations about Marcus, and for good reason. Although he is anticipated to bring some consistency to a Clipper offense that has, at times, sputtered, his defense is nothing to write home about. He’s also a bit of a loose cannon, which may throw off an otherwise mentally solid Clippers squad. It will be interesting to see if Morris can keep his composure in close contests and really add meaningful value to our Champion-contending team.
Erik Olsgaard: B
I think I was one of the bigger supporters of Moe Harkless. I felt like his ability to defend the ball-handler allowed Kawhi Leonard and Paul George to play off-ball where they’re the most terrifying defensively. Of course, there also wasn’t this noticeable defensive change when Moe was on the floor (as there is with Pat Bev, Paul, and Kawhi). And Moe’s offensive issues were a problem. I’m also probably underrating Marcus Morris Sr. Offensively, I’m concerned what we’ve seen (which has been incredible) is an outlier. And defensively, I just don’t see what some writers are talking about. Lou-McGruder-Morris-JaMychal-Trezz lineups are going to be awful defensively. But at least there will be more to the offense than a Lou-Trezz pick-and-roll now. Overall, I don’t think the Clippers knocked it out of the park, but I do think they got better, and I am happy they didn’t give up much in the way of assets or cap flexibility.
Robert Flom: B-
The best argument in favor of the Clippers trading for Marcus Morris was keeping him away from the Lakers, who need his talents far more than the Clippers do. That said, while that game of keepaway has value, it’s not enough to justify the trade on its own merits. I do think Morris could help the Clippers. He’s a much better shooter than Moe Harkless, and you can never have enough shooting in the modern NBA. The Clippers also didn’t pay a premium for him – while I’m still not sure if I’d even rather have Morris over Harkless straight up in some matchups, the rest of the assets the Clips gave up were only moderately valuable. That Pistons 2nd rounder could be quite valuable, but it’s still just a second.
My main issue isn’t really Morris’ play in a vacuum, or even what the Clips gave up for him. It’s that I don’t think he really answers any of the Clippers’ issues. When the Clips offense has struggled this year, it’s been from stagnation and lack of movement, not lack of shooting or even shot creation. Morris, one of the most shot-happy and ball-stoppping players in the NBA, does not help on that score whatsoever. Similarly, the other big issue for the Clips has been intensity and consistent effort, and while Morris is a “tough guy”, his actual effort waxes and wanes on any given night. Just ask Celtics fans on what the difference was beween “good Mook” and “Flaskdad” (seriously, look it up). Harkless was inconsistent, especially offensively, but Morris will be no better in that regard.
In the end, this was a fine trade. The Clippers got a solid player (he’s a lot worse than Harkless defensively, but plays a position of bigger need, so it works out), and didn’t give up too much for him. I just don’t think it was the right move to make to truly move the Clips closer to a championship. And, if Morris’ comments from last week are biasing me somewhat, well, they were pretty horrid.
Let us know what you think about this trade! Decisive championship move, meh, or a thumbs down?
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