Gamble Pays Off For Darius Morris

Gamble Pays Off For Darius Morris

Postby Kobe8Fan on Mon Nov 19, 2012 11:16 pm

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By Mike Bresnahan, Los Angeles Times

November 20, 2012

There's a job waiting for Darius Morris when his NBA career ends. He should be an agent.

The reserve point guard wasn't just your average second-round pick when the Lakers took him 41st overall in the 2011 draft. He took a small financial risk and was ultimately rewarded for it.

Second-round picks in the NBA typically receive nonguaranteed contracts for two years, but Morris signed for only one year so he could become a free agent last July.

He thought he would impress the Lakers enough to earn a more lucrative contract in his second year. They liked what they saw of him and signed him to another one-year deal for about $950,000, doubling what he earned his first season.

Andrew Goudelock, on the other hand, was on the nonguaranteed two-year pay scale. He was cut by the Lakers during training camp. He would have made $760,000 this season. Goudelock was taken five picks below Morris in the 2011 draft.

"It's kind of bold, especially for a second-round pick," Morris said of his contract gamble. "You just have to have faith and believe everything's going to work out for you as long as you work hard."

Score one for Morris the negotiator.

Score one for Morris the player as well.

He has experienced a rapid uptick in playing time because the team's top two point guards are injured. Steve Nash isn't expected back until at least Friday because of a small fracture in his left leg. Steve Blake is day to day because of a strained abdominal muscle.

Morris scored a career-high 12 points and added five assists in the Lakers' 119-108 victory Sunday over Houston.

"I just needed to get some reps. It's unfortunate that both of our point guards go down, but it has enabled me to get some valuable minutes," said Morris, who seems more at home in Lakers Coach Mike D'Antoni's wide-open system.

"Just watching Nash while growing up, D'Antoni's offense definitely opens the floor a lot. It enables the point guard to make decisions, make plays. Being a pick-and-roll guy all my life, it kind of fits my game well."

The Lakers like Morris's energy, even if he pushes the pace too quickly at times and has to regain control of the ball. They also like his defense.

"I think he's getting better," D'Antoni said. "We've got to keep slowing him down and showing him film."

Morris, 21, will be a restricted free agent in July.

"I would love to stay in L.A.," said Morris, who went to school locally at Windward High before playing in college at Michigan. "I have a lot of friendships out here. There's no better place, but after the year is over, we'll see what happens."

One thing's for sure. He probably won't become an agent when his playing days end.

"Yeah, I don't know about that," he said. "But I definitely want to put my brain to use."

Day to day

D'Antoni will be a game-time decision Tuesday against Brooklyn, a funny thing to say about a coach.

He hoped to make his Lakers coaching debut Sunday against Houston but was talked out of it in no particular order by his wife, Laurel, and Lakers trainer Gary Vitti.

D'Antoni had knee-replacement surgery recently.

"I'm going to try," he said. "We'll see. I don't want to say 'Yeah,' and then don't do it again, so we'll see. Every day it gets tenfold better."

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

twitter.com/Mike_Bresnahan


http://www.latimes.com/sports/basketbal ... vrit=53295
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Re: Gamble Pays Off For Darius Morris

Postby OX1947 on Tue Nov 20, 2012 12:58 am

Hill, Howard, Morris, Meeks. You are looking at young players who each have a set of skills different from the other. Howard is Howard, no need to explain him, same with Hill. Meeks is going to be our sniper, no doubt about it. When nash comes back, I want a Nash, Meeks, Kobe, Hill and Howard lineup every game at some point in the game. That lineup would KILL teams. And Morris. If Morris plays the way he has been playing the last few games, it would be a gigantic boost for this team in terms of rest for Nash and just overall youth that are making a difference.

I also seriously think Blake becomes expendable. I do not want to stick Morris with 5 min a game and ruin his development, even if Blake is effective. Morris has better skills if he gets better then blake will ever have.
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Re: Gamble Pays Off For Darius Morris

Postby JGC on Tue Nov 20, 2012 8:37 am

I will own up to saying that Darius Morris was an absolutely awful player who doesn't even look NBA caliber as recently as this season. Seeing him grow his confidence, not try to do too much and just fill a role, play surprisingly good defense against some good point guards, I'm not ready to anoint him the new and upcoming black Nash, but ... he's won me over.

Still lots of room for improvement, but he seems to want to work on his game. He kind of reminds me of Norris Cole with the Heat. Not a major talent, but filling a role and allowing the great teammate around him to make him better. That's all we need from Darius.
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Re: Gamble Pays Off For Darius Morris

Postby Thessias on Tue Nov 20, 2012 9:11 am

I hope the Lakers resign Darius Morris. He's on the team and his play keeps improving. I look for him to be a dependable guy off the bench.
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Re: Gamble Pays Off For Darius Morris

Postby bruddahmanmatt on Tue Nov 20, 2012 9:21 am

Thessias wrote:I hope the Lakers resign Darius Morris. He's on the team and his play keeps improving. I look for him to be a dependable guy off the bench.


Why would you want them to retire Darius Morris? :man1:
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Re: Gamble Pays Off For Darius Morris

Postby Weezy on Tue Nov 20, 2012 1:02 pm

I'm stunned how this has played out so far. Lakers gave him a contract this offseason and I was somewhat surprised yet still optimistic that he had potential because we'd seen a lot of reports about how hard he worked this offseason. Then his first few summer league games I was disappointed and wondering why they gave him the contract so early. Then his last few summer league games he put up some big numbers and was leading the team in scoring, I thought ok the potential is still there. Then of course we all saw his preseason and I gave up on him, thought he simply didn't have what it took to put it together in an actual NBA game and it was time to move on. Then Brown gets fired and all of a sudden he looks like a legit 3rd string PG, that potential shows itself again, he's even doing an admirable job filling in as starter, and most importantly showing the defensive ability we heard talk of since he was drafted. Now I don't even know what to think anymore, what's real and what will happen going forward with him.
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Re: Gamble Pays Off For Darius Morris

Postby Juronimo on Tue Nov 20, 2012 1:50 pm

I didn't think he was a real NBA player during preseason and initially but right now he at least looks serviceable. I guess Mike Brown really did have a leash on the whole team while he was coaching. He still has a ton of stuff to work on though but he at least has improved quite a bit since preseason. I have to give him credit for that at least.
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Re: Gamble Pays Off For Darius Morris

Postby Chillbongo on Tue Nov 20, 2012 3:03 pm

Dude's on ball defense is respectable. Check.

His Bball IQ is improving. Check.

He's young & atheltic. Check.

He's from LA. Check.

The Lakeshow have a habit of WIN NOW mentality and seemingly never get talented young/athletic players.

D Morris is a keeper as long as he is willing to ride the ship and win some rings. IMO, there's a spot for him on this roster and the future roster once Kobe and Co. call it quits.
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Re: Gamble Pays Off For Darius Morris

Postby marcelo on Tue Nov 20, 2012 4:00 pm

Weezy used the correct term. Stunned. I'm also stunned.

You watch this kid during Summer League.. God he sucked. Just couldn't do anything.

Now you see more of the stuff he could do in college. Plus the outside shot.

He's really surprised me.

Keep it up!
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Re: Gamble Pays Off For Darius Morris

Postby revgen on Tue Nov 20, 2012 5:28 pm

I'm not stunned. He played very good D on CP3 last season in the few stints of playing time he received, so that's nothing new. He has definitely improved his J from last season, which is very nice. His ball handling and playmaking are still suspect, but he's improved by reigning it in and playing more conservatively. Not trying to do what he can't do. He's still a WIP, but at least he's not as much of a liability when he's out there as he was last season and earlier this season. Because of his improved shooting and playing more conservatively in the ball-handling/playmaking department, he's become a legit 3rd string PG. His playmaking/ballhandling need drastic improvements to become 2nd string or starting caliber.
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Re: Gamble Pays Off For Darius Morris

Postby Rooscooter on Tue Nov 20, 2012 7:53 pm

I will say I'm encouraged but am still going to withhold final judgement until we play a tough team and he still performs decent.

He's putting pressure on opposing point guards which is something we never see.... He's still shaky at best in play making. He's hitting his shots now which can do nothing but help his chances of sticking longer term.
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Re: Gamble Pays Off For Darius Morris

Postby Weezy on Tue Nov 20, 2012 8:00 pm

Final judgement is a long way off when it comes to this kid, I'm just glad he's justifying the contract he was given at the moment. Our #1 and #2 PG's got injured, we just happened to have signed this kid for some reason and he was stashed on the roster, he got a chance to step up, and he has. Whether or not he regresses or starts sucking again remains to be seen, could easily happen, but at least he's good now as opposed to never. At least that work he put in this offseason keeping in great shape and getting stronger seemingly is paying off in the here and now, especially defensively, we heard about his potential for defense for a long time, this is the first I'm seeing of it in real games.
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