Morris, 32, signed a one-year $2.6 million contract with the Heat, sounds incredibly excited to be a part of Heat culture, telling Sun Sentinel‘s Ira Winderman how the atmosphere at the Lakers, always revolving the game around one superstar, nearly ruined basketball for him.
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By taking his talents to South Beach, “I see myself as a guy that I can get back to my old self, just playing the game the right way, not having to look over my shoulder,” Morris said. “I feel like we have nobody on the team like just, ‘give him the ball, and then everybody just watch and let them make the play.’ It’s a collective.”
While Morris doesn’t mention LeBron James by name, it’s pretty obvious who Morris is speaking about. At the same time, when a four-time MVP, 17-time All-Star player like King James is on the roster, it’s understandable why Lakers coach Frank Vogel would make him the centerpiece of the team.
The former 13th overall pick in 2011, alongside James, helped the Lakers with the 2020 NBA Championship against the Heat, but he’s ready for a clean slate with Miami, a team led by All-Stars Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo — a duo that is sometimes painfully selfless on the court.
“We’re going to need everybody to score and rebound and defend every night,” Morris said. “And that’s the best team to be on, when you don’t have to run to the corner every play and wait for a guy to make a play for you.”
Morris Is Ready to Provide Whatever the Heat Needs
The 6-foot-2 veteran harbors no ill-will toward the Lakers for casting him aside, even though his release took him by surprise. “It was super unexpected,” Morris admitted. “For sure, I thought I was going back to the Lakers. But, sometimes I’m not in teams’ plans and that’s how it works sometimes.”
Moving forward with the Heat, Morris is ready to provide whatever the team needs. You ask me to score, I’ll score. You ask me to defend, I’ll defend. You ask me to rebound and set the tone, that’s what I’ll do also. I’m the type of guy that you could use in multiple different ways.”
“When I was in Phoenix, I was used as a scorer, and I scored the ball well. When I was in Washington, I was used as a utility guy. When I was with the Lakers, I was good to just go out there do everything, be a selfless guy. For me, whatever you ask, I can do it. I’ve shown that my entire career.”
Insane Stat Shows Morris Might Have to Be Named a Starter
Heat’s head coach Erik Spoelstra has not decided on a starting five, but barring any injuries or illnesses, it’s hard to imagine the Heat’s starting lineup being anything else than what’s already being projected.
Both Bleacher Report and Winderman predict the following mix of veteran stars and new player additions will make up the Heat’s starting five: Butler, Adebayo, Kyle Lowry, Duncan Robinson, and P.J. Tucker.
However, Miami Herald‘s Barry Jackson provided stats that show Morris might have to be a starter over Tucker. His off-the-bench stats pale in comparison to how performs as a starter.
“In 27 starts with the Lakers last season, Morris shot 46.6% and 37.2% on three-pointers compared with 30.3% and 22.7% in 34 games as a backup… In his career, he has shot 36% on threes as a starter (solid) compared with 31.3% as a reserve (poor).”