The Clippers (36-15) trail the Lakers (38-11) by three games in the Western Conference entering play Feb. 6, but don’t be surprised if that deficit evaporates in the coming weeks.
That’s because the Clippers acquired Marcus Morris from the Knicks on Thursday.
“Put it this way: I think Kawhi and Paul George have only played 24 games total together this year, and they’re only [three games] behind the Lakers,” Turner Sports NBA analyst Channing Frye said on Tiki & Tierney. “I’d be very, very, very afraid if I was the rest of the league. No. 1, you can’t get film on them because they don’t play all their guys all the time, which I think is ingenious. No. 2, all their bench guys are getting starter minutes and are in starter shape. I watched them last night and they were absolutely bbq-ing the Miami Heat, and every player was in the right spot, doing the right things defensively.”
Morris, 30, joins a veteran group chasing one goal: an NBA title.
“No. 1, he brings toughness,” Frye said. “No. 2, he’s a smart vet. No. 3, he plays like he’s in the playoffs all the time. He’s a big post-up forward/guard, and he’s great insurance for Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. Now is he as talented as them? Heck no. But can he give you buckets when you need it in the playoffs and can he defend multiple positions? One hundred percent. I think this is a great addition for them.”
Morris averaged a career-high 19.6 points for the Knicks while shooting a career-high 43.9 percent from three-point range. The Clippers are only going to make life easier on him.
“He’s shooting that efficient on an absolute garbage New York Knicks team,” Frye said. “He has their best defender on him most of the time. Now he’s going to be in a lineup with Paul George, with Kawhi, with Lou Williams, with Patrick Beverley, with Montrezl Harrell. All of a sudden, who do you have that’s guarding him at that size? Not a lot of teams have that.”