Cavs Can't Forget Marcus Morris in the Rotation

The playoffs are about physical play and three-pointers. Marcus Morris can do both, which is why he might come in handy if the Cavs include him in the rotation.
Apr 2, 2024; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward Marcus Morris Sr. (24) reacts to an official's whistle.
Apr 2, 2024; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward Marcus Morris Sr. (24) reacts to an official's whistle. / Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

Until he got hurt in early March, Dean Wade was providing the Cavs with elite defense and shooting 39% from three. Coming off the bench to spell Evan Mobley or Jarrett Allen, Wade's shooting provided a good change of pace without costing the team's defense. There are a lot of reasons why the Cavs are 10-14 since the first of March, but Wade's absence for the bulk of those games is a significant factor.

The Cavs attempted to address the hole left by Wade's injury by signing Marcus Morris Sr. Morris paid immediate dividends by scoring 14 points in 20 minutes in a win against the Pacers. He averaged 21 minutes in the next three games and shot 43% from three in the month of March. In April, though, Morris averaged just 12 minutes per game and logged a couple of DNPs in the final homestand. He took just eight three-pointers in the entire month of April.

Morris is not as elite defensively as Wade, but he's no slouch, and he provides a level of toughness that isn't always apparent with the Cavs. That's especially needed in the playoffs, and it's important to remember that the Magic went out of their way to bully the Cavs the last time they came to Cleveland, a game Orlando won on February 22. You can bet the Magic think they have the formula, especially since the Knicks did essentially the same thing in the first round last year.

Coaches have a natural tendency to shorten their rotations in the postseason. It makes sense; fatigue isn't as much of a factor because there are more off days, so why give your ninth-best player minutes that could be going to a starter. JB Bickerstaff leans toward an eight-man rotation anyway; right now that means Caris LeVert, Georges Niang, and Isaac Okoro are likely to be the main substitutes. Throw in Sam Merrill for instant offense, and there may not be minutes for anyone else.

At some point in the playoffs, though, things will get chippy, and Marcus Morris is a guy that the Cavs should have on the floor when it does. Morris is a guy who won't back down when elbows are thrown, and he can make a three-pointer to boot. That's a combination that has more value in the playoffs, so let's hope the Cavs realize that.

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