When you think of the Denver Nuggets, it can be hard to look past Nikola Jokic, and rightfully so. Jokic is the Nuggets most important player, and there’s really no competition. Once you get past Jokic, Jamal Murray is the player most eyes turn to as the guy that can help lead the Nuggets to the promised land.
Jokic and Murray are great and will play a big role in how far the Nuggets make it this season, but the unsung heroes are often the players that make championship teams great. Look no further than Monte Morris, who will undoubtedly play a major role if the Nuggets find a way to make a title run this season.
It all started last year when Morris burst onto the scene with a rookie season that featured 10.4 points and 3.6 assists per game. Not only was Morris great last season, but he has found a way to build on it this year, even if his averages have taken a bit of a hit.
Morris is averaging 8.6 points and 3.6 assists per game this year, and even though his points per game totals are down, his assist numbers are identical. The biggest difference with Morris this season was he got off to a slow start as Denver struggled to find any consistency with their rotations early in the year.
Once the Nuggets settled on their 9-10 players to play on a nightly basis, Morris has thrived and has been one of the most consistent players on the team since December. From 3-point shooting to playmaking off the bench, Morris is doing it all while leading the Nuggets second unit with ease.
If you look at the NBA leaders in assist to turnover ratio, Morris is sitting at the top. Morris is third in the NBA at 5.29, but really is first because the two players in front of him — John Konchar and Derrick Walton Jr. — have played a combined total of 37 games this year.
Not only is Morris getting his teammates involved, but he is scoring the basketball exceptionally well from beyond the arc. Morris has made a 3-pointer in 27 of the Nuggets last 33 games and is shooting 38 percent from three in those games while averaging 9.9 points per game, which is a lot closer to where he was last season.
What he brings on the floor is fantastic, but Morris also possesses a leadership trait that is huge for this Nuggets team. Whenever the media gets a chance to talk with the players after games, Morris is almost always the best interview because he keeps it 100 all the time.
Will Barton IIII does the same exact thing and there really is something to be said for those leadership qualities. No matter what is going on with the team — good or bad — you always know that Morris and Barton are going to speak their peace and keep it real.
For a third year player in the NBA like Morris, that is pretty special, and it speaks to how important he is to this Nuggets team. Not only is Morris one of the Nuggets main rotation players, but his locker room presence plays a big role in the team’s success, and you cannot put a price tag on that.
So, as Denver makes their playoff push, watch #11... because he is going to play a massive role in how far this team makes it this season. If the past few months have been any indication, the Nuggets are in good hands.