Summer League Spotlight: Just a Matter of Time for Darius Morris
During Darius Morris’ career, he has bounced between the NBA and NBA D-League consistently. Players like Morris -- NBA talents waiting for the right situation to return to the league -- are precisely why the NBA D-League exists.
Morris finished this past season ranked second on NBADLeague.com's Prospect Watch, and now the former Lakers' 2011 draft pick just finished playing with the San Antonio Spurs’ team at the Samsung NBA Summer League.
The Michigan alum was once considered an elite pro prospect due to his athleticism and impressive size for his position. A free agent like most players at Summer League, the 6-foot-5 point guard hopes to prove to teams this summer that he deserves another shot in the NBA.
“I’m just hoping to show teams my game. I’m trying to take advantage of this opportunity," he said. "I want to show that I’m a good point guard and I can help a team win.”
In Las Vegas, he orchestrated the Spurs' offense, executing high pick-and-rolls beautifully and using his size advantage against smaller opposing guards on drives to the basket.
Morris began last season with the Philadelphia 76ers and was expected to receive significant minutes on the young team. However, just weeks into the NBA season, the Sixers unexpectedly decided to waive him.
Morris went on to sign 10-day contracts with the Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies, but failed to land a contract for the duration of the NBA season.
At that point in his career, Morris could have easily gotten discouraged, but he chose to take advantage of the NBA D-League by playing with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, which allowed him to further develop his game. Morris believes the decision to compete in the NBA D-League was crucial in his career:
“The D-League was great for my development as a player both on and off the court, just being able to have the opportunity to play and get your game back. I learned different things about my game and I really got my confidence back, which I think is key in the NBA.”
He put up eye-popping numbers in the NBA D-League, including a record-breaking performance in the NBA D-League playoffs against the Iowa Energy with 51 points and 18 assists.
Morris should have plenty of confidence in his game this offseason, considering his experience in the NBA D-League, his performance at the Summer League and his youth (still just 23 years old).
Scouts and executives recognize that he is an NBA-caliber player. It's just a matter of time before Morris lands in the right situation and stays in the NBA permanently. Until then, the NBA D-League is always available for Morris to continue to hone his game.