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Monte Morris plays it safe " to Nuggets delight

Monte Morris plays it safe " to Nuggets delight
Published On: Fri, Feb 22
Apr 12, 2015; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker (9) drives between Phoenix Suns players Markieff Morris (left) and Eric Bledsoe (back left) and Marcus Morris (15) during the game at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

Monte MorrisA entered the NBA inauspiciously.

Despite looking like a borderline first-round pick after his junior year, Morris returned to Iowa State for his senior season. He pulled his quad during the pre-draft process in 2017, missing most of his scheduled workouts. He fell to the No. 51 pick. The Nuggets offered just a two-year, two-way contract.

a€œI was excited,a€ said Morris, a Flint, Mich., native. a€œWhere I come from, if you get a chance to get to this level, everybody back home looks at you as the hero. So, I was just happy for my opportunity.a€

Morris has seized it.

WithA Isaiah ThomasA sidelined most of the season, Morris has emerged as a quality contributor in Denver. Morris deserves strong consideration for spots on Sixth Man of the Year and Most Improved Player ballots. And this could be just the start.

The knock on Morris has long been his ceiling. The 6-foot-3, 175-pound point guard is neither big nor overly athletic. In four years at Iowa State, he developed a reputation for protecting the ball and taking what defenses gave him. Usually, future NBA point guards bend the game more at that level. They use their burst and/or shooting to dictate terms to the defense. Morris left many scouts believing hea€™d be a career backup in the NBA a€“ at best.

Morris has improved his outside shooting, making 43.1% of his 3-pointers on 2.8 attempts per game this season. But hea€™s mostly playing the same style he always has, avoiding bad shots and turnovers. It has just translated far better than expected.

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