New Milwaukee Bucks two-way player Jaylen Morris stands as a very intriguing prospect largely for his defensive potential, but his range shooting concerns will be a priority that will surely be addressed this coming season.
Since coming on as one of the Milwaukee Bucks’ two new two-way players for the 2018-19 season in late July, Jaylen Morris has been an intriguing prospect to explore.
The focus of Morris’ services at this stage in his development has largely been rooted on the defensive end where his work ethic, physical tools and overall versatility have all garnered plenty of praise from his previous coaches along the way in his journey to the NBA.
Of course, the familiarity he was with the Bucks’ new coaching staff has been seen as a driving force behind his signing and could lead to new head coach Mike Budenholzer leaning on the Buffalo native for occasional stretches as a result of both those factors.
But for Morris to start improving his long-term ceiling and keep on climbing the ranks through his unlikely rise to the NBA, his offensive game will have to be refined and experience a boost in some key areas.
At the heart of that is Morris’ range shooting and overall three-point capabilities, which are particularly underdeveloped as it compares to his overall game.
For example, during his 39-game stint with the Erie Bayhawks in the G League last year, Morris only attempted 94 three-pointers and converted 28.7 percent of those looks.
While Morris’ efficiency from beyond the arc has been a long standing flaw dating back to his days at Molloy College, and the general unwillingness to act as a threat from that level of the floor certainly paints the picture of a non-shooter.
As a result, Morris’ offensive profile generally relies on his ability to capitalize on high quality looks at the rim, whether that’s slashing his way to the basket in half court situations, streaking in transition or cutting to the cup off the ball.
To that point, 231 of Morris’ 381 field goal attempts last season came from within the restricted area, of which he put home 66.7 percent of those looks, per the G League’s stats database.
For Morris to hone his strengths of being an exceptional and multi-dimensional finisher at the rim is a credit to the work he’s put in to this point, and where he is in his development as a scorer.
With that said, it will be key for Morris to supplement his attacking the basket mentality with some capacity of being a threat from long distance, considering the value and responsibilities players of his position are asked to fill in the NBA.
Judging by his free throw shooting percentages and some of his top performances from his first year in the G League last year, some tweaks may be made in Morris’ form to either speed up or smooth out his release.
Delving deeper into Morris’ shot selection shows that he had trouble connecting from the more advantageous spots behind the three-point line, seeing that he drained 12 of his 36 three-point attempts from both corner spots.
There’s no doubt this aspect of Morris’ game will be a point of emphasis during practice and whenever he soaks up major minutes over the course of the next season, which the majority of will surely come with the Bucks’ G League affiliate, the Wisconsin Herd.
How far Morris will go in being able to straighten out what stands as the biggest deficiency in his game at the moment will be one of many things to watch for once play tips off in a few weeks time.