Standing in front of a dozen reporters in Manilla, Philippines, Monte Morris got a firsthand look at just how much the Denver Nuggets and his own profile has grown thanks to the successes of last season.
The Nuggets reserve guard is in the Philippines’ capital to promote the NBA’s NBA 3X PHILIPPINES three-on-three local tournament which takes place on Aug. 3-4. Morris reflected on the Nuggets’ 54-win season and believes there’s plenty to build on heading into the 2019-20 season.
“I think the sky is the limit,” Morris told reporters. “I feel like [if] we put it all together and have the same approach as last year [we can improve]. Just knowing we had so much success [in the regular season last year] and having that playoff taste, we know what we have to do to take it to another level.”
READ MORE: Morris, Bogues headline NBA 3X Philippines
He added, “There’s no excuses, we got to win and we control our destiny. Despite different teams teaming up and getting a lot better, I feel like I’d still put us high in the rankings no matter what just because we got everybody back and added a few more pieces.”
Much of the Nuggets’ success this campaign will be determined by the team’s young core continuing to develop and improve their game. Morris has spent this offseason trying to improve upon an impressive second season in the NBA, where he became the Nuggets’ key facilitator for their bench unit. The 24-year-old has previously discussed wanting to improve his physical conditioning, but in Manilla, he also pointed to the technical aspects he’s been focusing on. Morris revealed he’s been working out with nine-time NBA All-Star Chris Paul during the offseason.
“I’ve been working on coming off screens, in terms of turning my body and shooting off the fade,” Morris said. “[Also] focused on shooting it deeper – from like the four-point line. I’m just trying to add that to my game and keep my in-between game sharp…Learned a lot of things there [at Paul’s camp].”
With the FIBA World Cup a month away, there is some focus on Nikola Jokić [Serbia], Jamal Murray [Canada] and Mason Plumlee [USA] as all three players have been called up by their national teams. While Murray hasn’t confirmed if he will play in the tournament and Plumlee is competing for a spot on Team USA’s roster at training camp, Morris is happy all three players will have a chance to showcase their games on a global stage.
“Those guys got the opportunity to represent their countries and I feel like they are going to go out there and ball,” Morris said. “They’re going to do what they got to do and show the other side of the world that they can play.”