September 28, 2012 in Professional
Young players stuck on the bench of veteran NBA teams pretty commonly make mistakes or don’t play comfortably when they are pressed into action. Former Michigan player Darius Morris was recently profiled by Mark Medina of the L.A. Times and discussed how he learned that lesson his rookie season:
Morris also had high hopes last season for a large role even though the second-round draft pick played behind a veteran unit, including Derek Fisher and Blake. That chance came when Blake suffered a rib injury. But Morris’ seven-game stretch where he averaged 3.6 points on 40% shooting made the coaching staff feel he tried too hard in showcasing his athleticism and quickness instead of just running the offense.
It remains unclear if Morris will have an increased role during Blake’s absence, or if he’ll still have limited playing time. But one thing’s clear: Morris said he learned not to try to treat playing time as a highlight tape.
“That comes with time and maturity in the game,” Morris said. “Knowing a lot of times last year when I got thrown in for two minutes, I felt like I had to show everything that I could. In Summer League, I was able to get in a rhythm and get used to that feeling again. It let me know I don’t have to hit a home run every play. Just let the game come to you. Just playing the game and getting more comfortable.”
The good news for Morris is the Lakers backcourt this season could actually use his mix of size, strength and defensive potential as a backup at both guard spots. The bad news? The Lakers roster is even more loaded than it was a season ago, so Morris will have plenty of competition for those bit minutes.