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Monday, June 27, 2011

How Will Darius Morris Fit in With The Lakers?

Last Thursday, Everything Michigan and More reported that Darius Morris was selected as the 41st pick in the NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers. Though most people have been excited about Darius' return to his hometown, a lot of the basketball fans have been wondering about Darius' role on his new team. He obviously had great success at Michigan, specifically last season where he was named to the All Big Ten Third Team by both the coaches and media and led the Wolverines one shot away from overtime with a #1 seeded Duke team in the 3rd round of the NCAA Tournament, but his NBA status is still unproven.

Though the Lakers' selection of Morris seems to imply the team's faith and hope for him in the future, he was selected in the 2nd round, where there are no contract guarantees. There is still a slight chance that the Lakers could bail on Morris, but this seems highly unlikely. In fact, I'd like to explain why I think Morris could do big things in this situation.

The Lakers do have a veteran point guard in Derek Fisher, but have little depth at the position outside of him. The Lakers' other point guards are Shannon Brown and Steve Blake. Three experienced point guards make the team seem to have considerable depth, but most speculation argues that Shannon Brown will test free agency, meaning that at least one spot would open up before next season for Morris.

So assuming that Brown will leave Los Angeles, which seems quite likely, especially with a new coach and a potential starting lineup shake-up for the team, that leaves Fisher and Blake "ahead" of Morris as of now. However, another fact about these players that is often overlooked is their age. Both have been fairly consistent over the past few seasons, but with both players in their 30s, there are no guarantees they won't hit the age "wall" in one of the next few years. With this in mind, it only makes sense for the Lakers to pull in a young point guard before they start losing too much depth at the position.

To me, Morris offers the Lakers a solid back-up for an aging position with a ton of potential. There were rumors that the Lakers themselves thought Morris was going to go higher in the draft, which shows that the team believes he can be a great player. So bottom line, the Lakers have shown considerable interest in Morris and their team will likely have the space required to effectively bring out some of Morris' potential; veteran leadership, some depth at the position, and the willingness to invest in the player.

Regardless, let's wish Darius the best of luck.

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