2017-18 Nuggets Player Breakdown: Monte Morris

Prior to every game he played, two-way contract Nuggets guard Monte Morris received a text from his mom. The most important line was a reoccurring one:

“Don’t play with your food,” the text said. “I never let you do that.”

Translation: Stay focused.

But then, Morris never really had to be reminded of that.

He is as motivated as they come. A second-round Nuggets selection last summer, Morris played the majority of the season with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers in the G League with averages of 18.0 points, 6.7 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 1.8 steals.

Morris played in three games with the Nuggets.

And if you’re looking for a box score that provides a clear view of what Morris could do on a regular basis, his night with the Nuggets at the Houston Rockets on Feb. 9 provides a window.

In 22 minutes, Morris scored 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting, had six assists and three steals. He faced one of his NBA idols, Chris Paul, and walked away with a couple of moves to add to his arsenal. But more than anything, Morris put speed on the court. He made shots. He got the ball to the right players in positions to score. And on defense he was quick and played with great anticipation.

Morris’ ability to play fast without turning the ball over was attractive to the Nuggets in the lead up to last year’s draft. His assist-to-turnover ratio of 3.51 in the G League backed up everything he accomplished in four years of college at Iowa State.

But Morris was also able to get experience off the ball as shooting guard, and he shot 47.3 percent overall, and 34.4 percent from the 3-point line.

“I’m just playing my game, doing whatever the defense tells me to do,” said Morris in an interview with Altitude Sports during the season. “They want to see me knock down shots, and I challenge myself every night the lights come on to do that. If they want me to do that I’ve got to do that.”

With the Nuggets backup point guard situation in flux, Morris stands to get a long look this offseason to be added to the permanent Nuggets roster and play significant meaningful minutes in 2018-19.
“I’ve got to attack,” Morris said. “I’ve got to do this. This is one of my steppingstones in my career, and it will make the story better later on.”

Christopher Dempsey: christopher.dempsey@altitude.tv and @chrisadempsey on Twitter.