How could soon-to-be bought-out veteran help the Timberwolves?

Utah Jazz v Philadelphia 76ers
Utah Jazz v Philadelphia 76ers / Rich Schultz/GettyImages

The NBA Trade Deadline has officially come to a close, but that doesn't mean that teams around the league are finished tweaking their rosters. With the Minnesota Timberwolves contending for a top seed in the loaded Western Conference, they still seem to be looking to add impactful players, which is where veteran forward Marcus Morris Sr. comes in.

Trade after trade

Morris played 37 games for the Philadelphia 76ers throughout the 2023-24 campaign before getting shipped out to the Indiana Pacers this past Thursday.

The deal saw the Sixers send Furkan Korkmaz, Marcus Morris Sr., and three second-round picks in exchange for sharpshooter Buddy Hield. However, Morris’ time in Indiana was short-lived as later in the day the vet was sent to the San Antonio Spurs. The trade saw Morris, a second-round pick, and cash going to the Pacers to acquire forward Doug McDermott.

The Spurs are expected to buy out Morris, allowing him to sign with a team of his choice. Morris has only one year and $17 million remaining on his contract, which would allow him to be a free agent this offseason, regardless of what the Spurs decide to do.

Morris can score

Morris, now in his 13th year in the league, has career averages of 12.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game. The 6-foot-8, 218-pound Kansas product has made a name for himself as a versatile three-level scorer who is capable of playing both forward spots.

Morris can rise over defenders in the midrange, utilize his touch and size with his back to the basket, and has shown flashes as a capable playmaker despite low assist numbers. Although not in the prime of his career anymore, the wing can still be an effective depth piece for a contending team.

Diving deeper into his statistics, Morris is averaging only 6.7 points per game this season. This is the lowest since his 17-game rookie season, where he had averaged a measly 2.4 points per contest. However, this is somewhat to be expected as the former lottery pick is only playing 17.2 minutes a game, once again, the lowest since his rookie year.

Where he has stood out this year is as a floor spacer. Morris is knocking down 40.0 percent of his looks from beyond the arc, an area that could be very beneficial to the top-seeded Wolves. The forward has also been shooting 43.1 percent on catch-and-shoot threes on 1.9 attempts.

Morris' standstill shooting bodes well considering he would likely be playing primarily off the ball with the newly acquired Monte Morris running the reserve unit. Although shooting the second-best percentage from three, the Timberwolves take the seventh fewest attempts from downtown in the NBA.

Another key component of Morris' offensive arsenal is his isolation scoring. Morris has always been an above-average creator, and despite a reduced role this year, he is still in the 87th percentile of all players averaging 1.14 points per possession out of isolation.

The Wolves have been running a fair amount of isolation this season, ranking in the 72nd percentile of all NBA teams. Without another true iso scorer off the bench, Morris has the opportunity to carve out a go-to scorer role within Chris Finch’s rotation.

Fitting in on defense

Now looking at the other end of the floor, Morris has been known as only an average defender. Despite being far from a perfect measurement of a player's defensive prowess, a defensive rating provides a good baseline to gauge a player's ability. The stat displays how many points a player allows per 100 possessions. Morris’ defensive rating this year is 117, slightly below the league average of 116.8.

Although not being an elite on-ball defender, in a switch-heavy defensive scheme, Morris could provide some value on that end when engaged. Given his size, the wing can guard positions three through five. Although he should not be expected to bang with bruising centers in the low post.

Morris has also displayed grit and IQ throughout his career to be a positive team defender. This could allow the Wolves to have even more flexibility in their rotations, as playing a stretch forward such as Morris alongside Rudy Gobert, Karl-Anthony Towns, or Naz Reid has the potential to be effective on both ends.

The Timberwolves are looking ahead at a possible deep playoff run, and Morris has the potential to be a key component coming off the bench.