Marcus Morris is setting an early mandate for himself and his New York Knicks teammates: Protect Madison Square Garden at all costs.
Morris is a tough, hard-nosed player who the Knicks hope can change the culture of the team. Thus far, Morris is stepping into his role as a vocal leader and he wants the Knicks to adopt an aggressive mentality.
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“Old school Knicks. Protect the Garden. You know my biggest thing is no one’s coming in there and disrespecting us,” Morris told reporters after practice on Thursday.
“You’re gonna come in there and get a hard-fought game. The better team is going to win, but we’re not tolerating no disrespect and nobody is coming in there and thinking it’s going to be easy. That’s first and foremost and I think — as a matter of fact, I know we got the guys who are going to stand and fight every night.”
Talk is cheap during training camp, but Morris has a long track record to back up his words. The eight-year veteran is a “dog” who is no stranger to media scrutiny.
He spent last season as one of the outspoken leaders on a Boston Celtics team that fell short of lofty expectations. When asked about how his up-and-down experience in Boston could help the young core in New York, Morris stopped to ponder the question for a moment.
“Last year in Boston, we went through a lot of ups and downs, I can agree with that,” Morris told ESNY. “At the end of the day, our expectations, we didn’t withhold those and it just so happens we lost early.”
The Knicks have been hesitant to define any specific win-loss goals this season. Clearly, the Celtics are a case study in why it’s unwise to set sky-high expectations prior to the season.
However, Morris is making it clear that the Knicks are going to bring an attitude back to Madison Square Garden. They won’t win every game they play at home this season, but Morris is going to make sure they give their opponent a battle regardless.