Cavs vs. Celtics: Marcus Morris says he's 'probably the best' at defending LeBron James, 'outside of Kawhi'
Marcus Morris is a confident person, but this one might burn him a little
Celtics forward Marcus Morris is one of those players that is just confident in himself. Everybody in the NBA needs an irrational certainty in their game. That's why these athletes are as great as they are. Yet Morris has confidence that exceeds even the normal NBA player, and it's going to be put to the test in the Eastern Conference finals when he's tasked with guarding LeBron James.
Morris acknowledged that no one person can guard James, but that doesn't meant there isn't a formula to guarding him. Maybe, with his best efforts, he can slow James down. For Morris, he says there's only one player in the NBA who guards James better than him.
Morris comparing himself to Kawhi Leonard -- the 2014 NBA Finals MVP winner -- is a definite example of his inflated confidence, but it goes even further than that. When Leonard won his MVP, it was largely due to his ability to "slow down" James and not allow him to just run wild during the entire series. That series helped establish Leonard as one of the NBA's best perimeter defender and the only player that is really seen as someone that can handle James 1-on-1.
During the 2014 NBA Finals, LeBron James averaged 28.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, and four assists while shooting 57 percent from the field, according to Basketball Reference. If that's considered slowing James down for Leonard, then Morris will have a lot of work cut out for him. The only positive to take from that Finals stat line is that James didn't average 30 points.
However, individual stat lines isn't how guarding James should be judged. He is going to get his numbers no matter what. The real effort into guarding James is preventing him from becoming a creator. When Morris said nobody can guard James by themselves, he meant it was a team effort. James is at his most dangerous when he's using his entire tool set to beat an opponent. Force him into being just a scorer and maybe you'll have a chance to survive him.
If Morris can do that even a little then maybe his comment has some weight behind it. One thing that's for certain: You know he believed every word he said. He's just that confident in himself.
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