Marcus Morris Has Mid-Range Game Locked In

by Matt Petersen

To every old-school critic of the game that says the mid-range shot is dead, Marcus Morris is a slap to the sun-burnt face.

By the time a defender has tried to account for the jab step, ball fake and/or step-back, it’s already a 50-percent chance he’s toast.

Yes, Morris is that good 8-to-16 feet away from the basket, where he has converted half of his shot attempts this season.

And that’s just one area where he’s caught fire.

Again, green = above league average, so there’s a reason the Suns are so comfortable giving Morris his opportunities in isolation sets. He’s proven he can 1) get the shot off (70 percent of his makes are unassisted) and 2) give Phoenix a 50/50 shot at scoring that possession.

The perimeter game served a double bonus, diversifying his game while allowing twin brother Markieff to operate freely as a low-post player.

“Once we really got into it, we decided to make me move out to the wing so he could play down low and we could play together,” Marcus said.

In order to acclimate to his perimeter role, Morris patterned his moves and shot selection after the likes of Paul Pierce and Carmelo Anthony, bigger wing players who use their height to rise over defenders for mid-range jumpers that have become nearly automatic.

“I’m trying to look around and follow behind the efficient players in the league and stay as efficient as possible,” Morris said.

His ability to create clean, efficient looks on the perimeter stems from his high school days, when he posed significant matchup problems as a 6-foot-6 point guard.

Teammate and current point guard Goran Dragic appreciates the constant threat and mismatch Morris poses.

“Most of the guys, they are afraid of his quickness, so they back off of him a little bit and he just shoots it,” Dragic said. “He makes that. If he gets hot, he’s going to make that all day. Then they have to be closer and after that, eh can drive by them. He’s a huge factor from the bench.”