Player Capsule: Darius Morris

May 21, 2013 1:36 pm PDT
Darius Morris

In his second season with the Lakers after being selected in the second round of the 2011 Draft, Darius Morris appeared in 48 games, averaging 5.0 points and 2.0 assists in the 17 that he started.

The player with the lowest body fat percentage on the Lakers – he spent as much time with strength coach Tim DiFrancesco than any Laker – was often called upon for his 1-on-1 perimeter defense as he continued to learn how to play within the team construct at the NBA level. Morris frequently called upon his quickness and strength for a point guard to slow opposing ball handlers on the perimeter.

Morris was asked to do a lot in the postseason in particular with L.A.'s top four guards - Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Steve Blake and Jodie Meeks - all out injured. He started Games 3 and 4 of the Round 1 playoff series at Staples Center against San Antonio, scoring a career-high 24 points in Game 3 and posting six assists in each loss. The Los Angeles native has acknowledged that developing a consistent jump shot is the critical next step for himself as an NBA player. He shot just 38.8 from the field overall and struggled to finish at the rim over opposing big men, hitting only 51.4 percent from that range* according to NBA.com. Morris did hit an acceptable 36.4 percent of his three-pointers, and has shown general improvement in range over his two seasons.
*Bryant shot 69.7 percent and Steve Nash 70.9 percent at the rim … in fairness, they're future Hall of Famers who know all the tricks. Jodie Meeks was close to Morris, hitting 53.6 percent.

Reflecting back on the season, Morris considered himself pretty fortunate to learn from Bryant, whom he sat next to on team flights.

"It’s truly a blessing … once we became close, he gave me a lot of insight about stuff on and off the court," said Morris at his exit interview. "He became a mentor to me, kept me encouraged, and I really appreciate that. I watch a lot of film on the plane because he’s always watching.”

A free agent, Morris said he hopes to return in 2013-14.

“I definitely want to come back, especially how we ended the season," he said. "We have a group of core guys that are hungry to get after it. Definitely want to come back and redeem this season. I like coach (Mike) D’Antoni and the things he has to bring and I wouldn’t mind being a part of it. I would like to have that chance and have a great season.”