The answer to the question “Who on the Knicks will step up in the absence of Marcus Morris?”: nobody. Nobody stepped up and the result was getting drubbed by the Lakers in a game that was essentially over in the third quarter and where the Knicks went 4-of-20 from three. But rookie RJ Barrett made the best effort at stepping up. His nineteen field goal attempts led the team and he made nine of them. Everybody else was doodoo.
What’s weirdest about this scenario is that we’ve reached a point where Marcus Morris is a player who needs to be explicitly replaced in the lineup. In past seasons, if Morris was going to miss a game, it was no big deal. You could have anybody with a three-point shot and a measured height between 6’5″ and 6’10” take those minutes and nobody would worry too much about it. Now it’s like, if Morris isn’t gonna play, how are the Knicks going to score any points at all? Players have to “step up” to replace him, while in the past, players would only have to “step in” to replace him.
Barrett did quite a poor Morris impersonation, but his job isn’t to hit jumpshots anyway. That’s Reggie Bullock’s job. Barrett’s job was to use up possessions that wouldn’t or couldn’t be used by anybody else, and in that sense, he performed admirably.