Marcus Morris Sr. thinks he just hasn’t been himself on the West Coast.
The Halloween trade that sent James Harden, P.J. Tucker and Filip Petrusev from the Philadelphia 76ers to the Los Angeles Clippers brings league veteran Morris (along with a few other players and draft picks) from coast-to-coast, to the City of Brotherly Love.
For Morris, this is coming back home. The 34-year-old was born in the city and played basketball for Prep Charter High School before going off to Kansas for his collegiate career.
“It’s surreal, man,” Morris said Wednesday. “It’s one time in my career to be able to play in front of the people I grew up in front of, that watched me my entire career in high school, college — even middle school and AAU. And my family. It’s surreal.”
The Sixers are Morris’ seventh team in his now 13th season in the NBA. His production with the Clippers over the past four seasons has been relatively solid. In 65 games last season for L.A., Morris averaged 11.2 points on 42.6 percent field goal shooting, 4.0 rebounds and 1.8 assists.
But he says he could do much better, and the change of scenery is exactly what he needs to do it.
“I just think, the way the team I was on in previous years … I didn’t feel like I was myself,” Morris said. “I was always on the West Coast. We all know there’s a big difference with East and West. I know I wasn’t myself; I know I wasn’t half myself. So being able to come home and being able to play in front of different fans, embracing the fans and embracing the fanbase, being able to see my family a lot, it’s going to be a different atmosphere for me.”
In his homecoming, Morris looks forward to surprising those Sixers fans that may not be expecting much from the league veteran — though he admits he’s not quite sure what his exact role will be with his new team just yet.
“Wherever they need me,” Morris said. “I think it’s gonna be a big surprise to a lot of you of what I’m gonna bring to this team, what I’m gonna bring to this city. I’m excited and wherever they need me at, that’s what I’ll do.”
Despite not being sure where he’ll fit in with the process, Morris is quite familiar with what’s expected of him now that he will wear a Sixers uniform.
“I’m from Philadelphia, so I know there’s always expectations to win,” he said.
The expectation level is matched only by Morris’ sky-high confidence level with who he now has alongside him to help him reach those heights, between the league’s reigning MVP and one of its brightest young stars.
“We all know Joel [Embiid]’s the best big man in the league. [Tyrese] Maxey, he’s an up-and-coming star in this league,” Morris said. “Just playing off of them, finding my spots and making it easier, man. I’m a veteran. I’m a high-character guy. I’m a leader.
“So I think it’ll be a piece of cake, honestly.”