MORRIS PLAYS SEVEN MINUTES IN DEBUT
LOS ANGELES – Darius Morris was in an unenviable position.
Signed to a 10-day contract slightly more than an hour before tipoff Monday night against the Orlando Magic, Morris was thrust into a situation without knowing plays or players or much of anything the Clippers wanted to do.
It may have been like playing with the equivalent of a basketball blindfold.
“I actually told him to call two plays and I wasn’t thinking and realized it was probably the first time he had heard those words in his life let alone the play,” Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said. “So, that wasn’t very wise on my part. The smart thing is he ran down there and yelled the play out. Now, I don’t know if he knew what was going to happen after that but he did that so that was good.”
Morris, wearing a No. 7 jersey that was made in less time than it took for him to sign his contract, played 7:43 in his debut with the Clippers. He missed all three of his shots, scored one point and had one rebound, one assist and one steal.
“My teammates did their best job to help me on the fly,” Morris said. “Ryan [Hollins], Jamal [Crawford], and Darren [Collison], they tried to do a good job. But I can’t wait for tomorrow to get to practice, try to get this playbook down, and really try to get started.”
Morris, who was originally selected with the 41st overall pick of the 2011 Draft by the Lakers, is in his third season. He was waived by the Philadelphia 76ers on Nov. 20, but has never played under a 10-day contract before.
“You can’t think about it like that,” he said of playing under the pressure of trying to turn the limited contract into a guarantee. “You’ve just got to take it one day at a time, one practice at a time, one game at time, and try to make the best of your opportunity.”
Acquiring a point guard became a necessity for the Clippers after Chris Paul went down with a shoulder injury on Friday. Rivers said the following day that the team would likely make a roster to move. On Sunday they waived second-year point guard Maalik Wayns, who did not play this season after suffering a torn meniscus in October. With the roster spot open, the Clippers worked out Morris on Monday morning and signed him in the evening before tipoff.
“I know he can defend,” Rivers said. “You can see that. Now we have to get him to understand the team defensive part of it.
“I like his body. I think he can handle the point position which is good.”