Morning Shootaround

Boston Celtics not rushing Marcus Morris into big role just yet

NBA.com staff reports

Trying to replace what Gordon Hayward was going to bring to the Boston Celtics this season with one player, even a player as seasoned as Marcus Morris, is probably not a reasonable expectation. Celtics coach Brad Stevens knows better than to assume the math or chemistry works that easily.

That might explains why the Celtics are taking their time integrating Morris into the mix right now. He didn’t have a full training camp to work with his new teammates and absorb all of the nuances of his new surroundings. But his time is coming. And it could be as early as this week for a Celtics team that could use the energy boost. Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald explains why the Celtics are taking their time:

Marcus Morris is hoping to get into the rotation this week after arriving late to training camp because of his legal matter in Arizona and then dealing with left knee soreness that cost him the club’s first three games. Brad Stevens said Morris will be reevaluated this week, but if he can participate in today’s practice, there is at least a chance that Morris could see time against the Knicks here tomorrow night.

As one would expect, the Celts are being cautious.

Their season plan was rocked when Hayward went down with a fractured tibia and dislocated ankle last Tuesday, but Morris is very much capable of increasing his expected role. While Hayward was an All-Star who averaged 21.9 points last season, Morris was far from a slouch in Detroit, going for 14 a game. And with the talent around him here, he could have even better looks at the bucket.

But, to repeat, the C’s will be careful not to rush him.

“Obviously it will be important for our group,” said Al Horford of a Morris infusion, “but we’ve got to play with what we have until Marcus gets back. That means there’s an opportunity for other guys to step up and get some experience.

“And at the end of the day, I want Marcus to be able to come back and be healthy and feel good. We don’t want any setbacks, so as much as we want him out there, he needs to get healthy.”

Morris is in step with the process set out by the Celts’ medical staff, but he admitted that Hayward’s injury only serves to increase his already strong desire to debut with the team that acquired him in the Avery Bradley trade.

“It does, but there’s a long season left, a lot of season,” Morris said. “I want to play, but I’m just doing what’s best for my knee.”

And he believes that his best will be a boost to the Celts. The club is in need of what he can provide.

“Definitely,” said Morris. “Just adding some more veteranship out there, somebody able to score the ball in different ways and things like that.”

“As soon as I get there, I think it’ll be fine,” Morris said. “I’m a veteran. This is my seventh year in the league. I’ve just got to move around and cut. I think it’ll be very easy for me. It’s just playing basketball the right way.”

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