The Detroit Pistons were in need of a second, veteran ball handler this offseason. Someone who could take pressure off of Cade Cunningham, while also add a threat from the perimeter.
It wasn’t likely that Killian Hayes would have been able to handle that role, so Detroit achieved this in the form of Flint native Monte Morris. Monte is in his seventh season in the league, first for Detroit.
The 6-foot-2 point guard has an incredible turnover to assist ratio and has proven to be a knockdown shooter from the perimeter. But what about Marcus Sasser? The Pistons traded up to get the rookie out of Houston, and the early go of it appears that Sasser might be on the same trajectory as the veteran point guard.
The similarities between Marcus Sasser and Monte Morris are becoming more apparent
Starting with physical similarities, both Sasser and Morris stand at 6-foot-2, with Sasser having just 10 pounds on his veteran counterpart. Marcus is a faster, more electric player at the moment, likely just due to his youthfulness, but both have the ideal size for your primary ball handler.
Stats-wise, Morris is a career 10.4 points, 0.8 turnovers, 4 assists, and shoots 39.2 percent from three per night over his seven seasons. While Sasser’s sample size is much smaller because of his rookie status, and lack of minutes, his numbers are quite similar at 7.2 points, 0.9 turnovers, 2.7 assists, and 40 percent from deep. To further the similarities, Morris has a career field goal percentage of 48 percent, Sasser is shooting 47 percent. Morris has an effective field goal percentage of 55 percent, same as Marcus Sasser. In terms of offensive firepower, both are able to help the Pistons in the scoring column.
The only stat that is slightly off between the two is that off their assists per night. Sasser has a tendency to dribble too much, and that can often limit his view of open teammates. It’s fair, however, to say that the game will eventually slow down for Sasser. With time, I think that Marcus will eventually see the floor as well as Monte does, and his assist numbers will increase. When you look at Morris' first true season, his stats truly reflect what Sasser is going this year.
How should the Detroit Pistons handle these two?
Detroit has a terrible logjam at the guard position. It’s that same quagmire that has Killian Hayes already on the outside looking in. Marcus Sasser has gotten minutes, albeit somewhat limited, this season thus far due to the Monte Morris injury, so we haven’t quite run into this issue until now. We were able to see that Marcus Sasser is actually more of an offensive contributor than originally thought. But Morris is now back from injury, so does Sasser fall out of the rotation and risk stunting his growth? Or does Monte Morris sacrifice some minutes so the rookie can continue to grow on the court? Or is this finally the end of Killian Hayes in Detroit?
The league knows what Monte Morris provides, and in his limited time back in action for Detroit, he has doubled down on his obvious abilities. So would Detroit be open to moving the veteran ball mover for a second rounder or two? Or would they elect to stick with Morris, and attach Sasser in a trade that may net the Pistons a larger piece? I think both should be discussed if it will clear up some of the point guard/guard logjam that is Cade, Sasser, Morris, Ivey. If the deal is there for either, Detroit needs to weigh the options.
There is an argument to just keep both, as the two can function together and there should be fewer guards if Killian Hayes is traded or allowed to walk in free agency.