LOS ANGELES – A number of players have been hot topics of discussion for fans of the Los Angeles Clippers all season long. Whether it was Reggie Jackson's struggles as a point guard or Robert Covington's lack of minutes, none have been bigger than the questions surrounding Marcus Morris Sr. and his role on this Clippers squad.

Morris is now a 12-year veteran of the NBA and playing his fourth season with the Clippers. He's averaging his fewest points per game average (11.3) since his fourth season in the league, his fewest rebounds per game average (4.0) since his third season in the league, and his worst shooting percentage (42.7 percent) since the 2017-18 season with the Boston Celtics.

So what exactly is it that the Clippers like about Morris? He doesn't seem to move as well as he did in prior years. His shooting and rebounding numbers certainly seem to have fallen off. And yet, he plays the fourth most minutes on the team at 28.2 per game behind only Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, and Ivica Zubac — fifth most if you include Russell Westbrook, who has played 13 games with the Clippers so far.

“It’s fit,” Tyronn Lue told ClutchPoints. “I don’t care about [his] stats. It's what fits us, what fits our team. I like the fit.”

From a fit standpoint, the starting quartet of Leonard, George, Zubac, and Morris has been pretty solid. Individually speaking, Marcus' play and numbers — especially this season — stand out as subpar from the rest. But as a collective, this unit is arguably the most consistent starting lineup the Clippers have had available for years, and that means something. Even in lineups where Terance Mann started at point guard, it was still those four other guys he was with.

This season, the starting lineup featuring those four has a record of 20-9. In four incredibly injury-prone seasons together, the Clippers have a 43-18 record when Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Ivica Zubac, and Marcus Morris start together. Over an 82-game season, that's on pace for a 58-24 record.

“I do like the group that we've had the only consistency we’ve had this year is — and the last couple years — has been Marcus, Kawhi, PG and Zu,” Tyronn Lue said specifically referencing the starting lineup. “And so that's the only consistency, we got right now and so we gotta continue to keep working with that.”

Marcus Morris' fit with the starting unit, or in the starting lineup in general, has just as much to do with the spacing he provides alongside Kawhi Leonard and Paul George as it does with what he wouldn't necessarily be able to bring from the bench.

Morris is not an, ‘energy,' guy by any means, which is exactly what a second unit lineup needs. Terance Mann brings that energy. Nicolas Batum bring that energy. In a way, it feels almost safe to say that if Morris didn't start for the Clippers alongside George and Leonard, then he probably would have a hard time finding minutes.

Marcus is also very highly respected as a voice on the floor and in the locker room. He's been that, ‘dog,' capable of lighting a fire under his guys and getting under opposing teams' skins.

Obviously, Paul George's injury changes things, but the Clippers' starting lineup since the All-Star break featuring the core four with Russell Westbrook has had the best defensive rating (93.8) and the third highest net rating (+14.6) in the league.

And that's with Morris averaging just 6.6 points and 2.8 rebounds on 41.5 percent shooting from the field and 27.6 percent from three.

“Fans only see stats, and people only see stats, and honestly, I’m okay with that,” Marcus Morris told ClutchPoints in a recent interview. “But if you look at the percentages and I know it’s high when I’m on the court, that we rebound. It’s just a veteran playing the game.

“We got a rebounding point guard, both of our forwards — our small forward and two guard — they both rebound. We got one of the best rebounding bigs in the league. So like, how many rebounds can I have with all that on the court? I do the other stuff. I block out, help our team.”

Even Robert Covington came to Morris' defense after the recent string of rough shooting nights.

“People gotta understand that players are gonna go through slumps and the way to get through it is by playing through it. Marcus has been in the league 12 years and people gotta understand that everything is not ideal for him—”

That's when Norman Powell, whose locker sits right beside Robert Covington's, interjected to say he wasn't having any of the ‘slump' talk.

“Ain't no damn slump man,” Powell said. “He just missed a couple shots.”

“That's a slump my boy,” Covington responded. “The only way you get out of it is keep shooting.”

“Nah, ain't no slump man. It's only a slump if you call it one. Ain't no slump. He just missed a couple shots.”

Since he mentioned them, are the percentages actually better with Marcus Morris on the floor than off? Why don't we take a look at some of them, all of which is according to Cleaning The Glass.


With Marcus Morris on the court, the Clippers shoot 39 percent from three. With Morris off the court, that number drops to 36.8 percent.

Morris ON – 39% Clippers shooting from three
Morris OFF – 36.8% Clippers shooting from three

With Morris on, the Clippers shoot 65.3 percent at the rim. With Morris off, the dips to 64.1 percent.

Morris ON – 65.3% Clippers shooting at the rim
Morris OFF – 64.1% Clippers shooting at the rim

Lineups with Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and Marcus Morris average 120 points per 100 possessions played. With Leonard and George on, but Marcus off, that number jumps slightly to 120.9.

Kawhi, PG, Morris ON – 120.0 points per 100 possessions
Kawhi, PG ON, Morris OFF – 120.9 points per 100 possessions

Lineups with Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, but no Marcus Morris shoot 40.5 percent from three. With the trio together on the floor, they shoot the exact same 40.5 percent from three.

Kawhi, PG, Morris ON – 40.5% 3-point shooting
Kawhi, PG ON, Morris OFF – 40.5% 3-point shooting

Here are the Clippers' points per 100 possessions, shooting at the rim, and 3-point shooting with Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and Ivica Zubac on the floor:

Kawhi, PG, Zubac, Morris ON – 118.4 points per 100 possessions
Kawhi, PG, Zubac ON, Morris OFF – 128.9 points per 100 possessions

Kawhi, PG, Zubac, Morris ON – 65.0% shooting at the rim
Kawhi, PG, Zubac ON, Morris OFF – 64.5% shooting at the rim

Kawhi, PG, Zubac, Morris ON – 41.7% 3-point shooting
Kawhi, PG, Zubac ON, Morris OFF – 44.3% 3-point shooting


When Marcus Morris is on the floor, Clippers' opponents have a 22.8 percent offensive rebound percentage — meaning the percentage of the opponents misses that resulted in an offensive rebound. When Morris is off the floor, opponents' offensive rebound percentage jumps up to 28.6 percent.

Morris ON – 22.8% Opponent's offensive rebounding percentage
Morris OFF – 28.6% Opponent's offensive rebounding percentage

With Kawhi Leonard and Paul George on, but Marcus Morris off the court, opponents have a 27.1 percent offensive rebound percentage. With the trio of Leonard, George, and Morris on, the number drops to 22.2 percent, which ranks in the 97th percentile.

Kawhi, PG, Morris ON – 22.2% Opponent's offensive rebounding percentage
Kawhi, PG ON, Morris OFF – 27.1 Opponent's offensive rebounding percentage

Here's what those numbers look like with Ivica Zubac joining Leonard and George:

Kawhi, PG, Zubac, Morris ON – 20.8% Opponent's offensive rebounding percentage
Kawhi, PG, Zubac ON, Morris OFF – 26.3 Opponent's offensive rebounding percentage


Here are the opponents' points per 100 possessions, shooting at the rim, and 3-point shooting with Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and Ivica Zubac on the floor:

Kawhi, PG, Zubac, Morris ON – 110.1 points per 100 possessions
Kawhi, PG, Zubac ON, Morris OFF – 115.7 points per 100 possessions

Kawhi, PG, Zubac, Morris ON – 65.0% opponent shooting at the rim
Kawhi, PG, Zubac ON, Morris OFF – 64.1% opponent shooting at the rim

Kawhi, PG, Zubac, Morris ON – 35.9% opponent 3-point shooting
Kawhi, PG, Zubac ON, Morris OFF – 41.9% opponent 3-point shooting

Clearly there's a mix of positives and negatives in there for the Clippers. And your opinions will likely heavily depend on the lens you're viewing the game from. Are you looking at Marcus Morris' individual stat-line? How about looking at how the team performs when he's out there? Maybe you're relying on the eye test to tell you what you believe you need to know.

What I've come to learn is that people — be it fans, media members, whoever — appear to be subjective regarding Morris, this year more than possibly any year I've ever covered the Clippers. There are a lot of front-facing and easy-to-read numbers that support Morris playing just like there are numbers that don't. Look deep enough into the advanced stats, and you'll find numbers to support your case either way.

What you can't deny is that the Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Marcus Morris, and Ivica Zubac quartet has been both the team's most used starting lineup and one of the best. One of the more puzzling things about the Clippers' season, however, is their decision to not use Robert Covington.

According to Cleaning The Glass, lineups featuring Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and Robert Covington have played 35 possessions — yes, POSSESSIONS — together this season. Robert Covington has consistently been out of the Clippers main rotation, but has had key minutes sprinkled throughout the year.

“Offensively and defensively, we're really good when we get a chance to get PG, Kawhi, Marcus, Nico, and either a small or Zu, together, which has been tough for us to kind of get to as of late,” Tyronn Lue explained. “And RoCo has been good for us as far as a small-ball five, causes deflections, be able to block shots, spacing the floor as well. And so, he hasn't really got a great opportunity because our fours have been pretty much healthy this year.

“It's just too many guys. I mean we can't play 11 or 12 guys and I talked about it all year. We have that many guys that deserve to play every night and it's just hard to play that many guys. The good thing with us, our coaching staff, and with RoCo, we've done a great job communicating with him and he's been great. And when he's called upon, he's ready to go. You just hate situations like this because he does deserve to play at times and, so does Bones [Hyland] and so does Amir [Coffey] — he's been great for us last year. It's just tough, but you can't play that many guys.”

This role — the one that's shows him as a ‘Did Not Play, Coach's Decision' for 27 games — is far from the role Robert Covington signed up for, he told ClutchPoints in a recent conversation. Covington re-signed with the Clippers before free agency even began because of the opportunity to contribute heavily, especially on the defensive end, on a team with serious championship aspirations. As we near the end of March, the opportunity hasn't been there and the championship aspirations hinge on how quickly Paul George can return from his sprained right knee.

Despite the underwhelming role, Covington says he's genuinely happy and okay with what he has right now. And honestly, it's easy to believe him. Covington spoke very candidly about being there for his teammates and coaches, no matter what he's asked to do. If you've watched the games, the Tennessee State alum is always on his feet cheering for his guys, and he's the same way in the locker room.

That's what former NBA veterans Elton Brand, Jason Richardson, Carl Landry, and Josh Powell taught him about the league. Whether you're playing or not, it's bigger than any individual.

“Those guys really taught me how to approach each day. That's why I'm okay with it now. I'm ready when they need me.”

Watching from my usual about seat about six rows behind the sideline nearest the home bench, it's hard to imagine why the team hasn't at least tried more of Robert Covington with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Many fans have made the argument that Marcus Morris' numbers are always going to be somewhat inflated because of who he plays alongside of, and that wouldn't be an inaccurate statement. There aren't nearly enough samples of Covington alongside George and Leonard to even worth mentioning.

It sure would've been nice if that trio could've played more time, but it doesn't look like we're getting that anytime soon. Tyronn Lue and the Clippers staff does regularly keep Covington involved in their game plans, and he does his part by playing in the, ‘Stay Ready,' games in case his named is called.

“Stay ready because we're going to need you,” Robert Covington said, reiterating what he's been told by Lue. “Just stick with it.”

Covington also wants everyone to know he has Marcus Morris' back 100 percent, regardless of what his shooting or rebounding numbers might say.

“He still does a lot for us on the offensive side, defensive side, he's a big threat and he makes big shots, so I think people need to understand that no matter what just because he's not playing to people's standards, that doesn't mean he's not doing stuff effective for us. That's what people gotta understand.

“I used to get the same type of issues and talked about when I was in Philly. People would sit up there and say, ‘oh, you wasn't making shots,' or I wasn't doing this or doing that, but you look on the other side, I'm affecting the game in so many different ways. That's what it's all about. You don't have to always be making shots or this or that. It's about how you make an impact on it.”

What does Robert Covington have to say for those whose attention is solely on Morris' stats?

“You can't focus on that,” Covington said. “You can't. You do see the team contribution more than just any individual. It's ways that we can figure out how to make him more and more of a threat, more and more of a threat. That's what's been the challenge with us as a unit, is how do we keep the same consistency with everything. And like I said, people are gonna go through slumps, people are gonna go through certain things, but he's a vet, he's 12 years in. Play through it, and that's what he's been doing.

“You know, I've talked to Marcus a lot. We've had a lot of conversations. He's just gotta keep going. And that's one thing about it. He's a professional, and he knows how to keep going, no matter what goes on, he knows how to keep going and that's what he's gonna do because we're gonna need him.”

With eight games remaining and Paul George out for all of them, it's going to be all hands on deck for the LA Clippers.