In the city of Los Angeles, Robert Horry is a legend. He made a name for himself by draining clutch shot after clutch shot, particular when it mattered the most. Because of it, Horry was called Big Shot Rob. One memorable time, Horry made a three pointer game winner to send the Lakers into playoff heaven and tie a Western Conference Finals series with the Sacramento Kings. He lingered around the three point line and when the ball came to him he drained a big three point shot. Hence, the nickname Big Shot Rob.
The Clippers have their own Big Shot Rob, or so they fantasized when they acquired Marcus Morris, a stretch four like Robert Horry who makes threes. Morris was in New York. Before that Boston and Detroit. Morris was drafted by Houston in 2011 and traded to the Suns a year later. What he does well is make three point shots.
Instantly, he was thrust into the Clippers lineup and that’s where the problems began. He missed all four of his threes in his Clippers debut against Cleveland. The Clippers won by 41. That was followed by Morris making half of his threes at Philadelphia. The Clippers lost by 7. At Boston, Morris missed 4 out of 6 threes. Clips lose. He missed all his threes at home against Sacramento. Clippers lost. 40%, 50% vs. Memphis and Phoenix was an encouraging sign. Then he missed all five threes against Denver. One three taken, one three made vs. the Sixers. He missed all five threes against the Thunder, a game the Clippers dominated. He was efficient against the Rockets, 37%. And then the disaster against the Lakers, he missed all 7 threes he took.
In 11 games with the Clippers, Marcus Morris has attempted 110 shots and has made 41 (37%). He has taken 57 threes and made 15 (26%). He has 44 rebounds. He has 10 blocks. If his offensive rating stays what it is right now, 91, it will be the third worst of his career,. Only his rookie year and when he was traded to Phoenix was this loathsome. Defensively, he’s been alright. But this Clippers team is about making shots.
The Clippers are widely perceived as the most talented team in the NBA. Of their 15 rostered players, 7 were first round picks (Kawhi Leonard, 15th pick; Patrick Patterson, 14th pick; Landry Shamet, 26th pick; Paul George, 10th pick; Reggie Jackson, 24th pick; Joakim Noah, 9th pick; Marcus Morris, 14th pick). However, those players haven’t had the opportunity to play together for long stretches.
Injury, load management, they played somewhere else- it has created a team that doesn’t really know one another that well on the court. The Lakers had their growing pains in December and have dealt with very few interruptions. The Clippers haven’t had that kind of luxury.
And now it is March. The playoffs are next month and chemistry is a must to survive the grueling second season. Kawhi will be Kawhi and same with Paul George but that guarantees you about 61 points. The rest of the Clippers have to depend on a defensive point guard in Pat Beverly to create offense or Reggie Jackson to give the Clippers a spark. Lou Williams is always a wild card. He can score. But he hasn’t been regular season Sweet Lou in the playoffs, averaging 26% from three, and 38% overall, except for last year when he averaged 22 points and 33% from three, but last year Kawhi Leonard and Paul George were elsewhere. Lou has to fit his game with the habits of the two superstars driven to make the conference finals and beyond.
The Clippers are transparent. You see what they want to do. Bulk up on size since the Lakers are big. But all size isn’t the same. The reason Dwight Howard couldn’t get a sniff of Lakers-Clippers is his size matters but his athleticism doesn’t. He can’t guard Marcus Morris and he’s not a post scorer anymore. Morris however has to make teams pay for wide open shots. So far, he hasn’t given the Clippers that extra bit of offense they need to compliment George and Leonard.
Marcus Morris has appeared in 32 playoff games. He’s been to the second round and the ECF. Last year, he shot 45% from three in the playoffs and the year before that 41%. The Clippers traded for that guy. But so far, he is still acclimating himself to Doc, the system, L.A., the expectations, and the Clippers version of Big Shot Rob.