SI: Pistons’ Morris trade among best of NBA offseason

The Detroit News

Stan Van Gundy appears to be making all the right moves as the Pistons president of basketball operations.

Two weeks after Sports Illustrated called point guard Reggie Jackson’s five-year, $80 million contract one of the best signings of the offseason, the publication called the Pistons’ acquisition of forward Marcus Morris one of the offseason’s best trades in its “Data Dimes” column Thursday.

Both moves were hailed by Sports Illustrated based on the analysis of statistics. The Pistons received Morris, Reggie Bullock and Danny Granger in exchange for a second-round pick from the Phoenix Suns this summer, a trade in which SI’s Ben Leibowitz said the Pistons “made out like bandits.”

“By surrendering a second-round pick in 2020 to complete Phoenix’s salary dump,” Leibowitz wrote, “Stan Van Gundy’s Pistons essentially netted Morris (and his remarkably modest contract) for nothing”

Morris is averaging 13.7 points and 5.3 rebounds in 45 games, all starts. But it hasn’t been Morris’ individual numbers that have impressed Leibowitz.

“Morris hasn’t exactly been lighting the world on fire in his new digs, though,” he wrote. “He’s shooting an ugly 31.3% from long range and sports an unsavory 12.05 (player-efficiency rating). However, the 26-year-old swingman has started all (45) games he’s played in, and the Pistons are a far superior offensive team when he’s on the floor.

“Detroit scores more than 10 additional points per 100 possessions with Morris versus when he sits on the bench,” Leibowitz continued. “It’s worth noting that Morris plays the bulk of his minutes with team stars Reggie Jackson and Andre Drummond, so they could be propping those numbers up. But it’s also worth noting that three of Detroit’s four best lineups by net points include Morris, per Basketball Reference.”