Lakers point guard Darius Morris (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)
The Lakers came into the season with four point guards, which didn't bode well for second-year guard Darius Morris.
Naturally, Steve Nash was going to get the bulk of the minutes, and with veteran reserves Steve Blake and Chris Duhon on the roster, it didn't look like Morris would get much floor time this season.
"I can control what I can control," Morris said. "You just have to work hard, and I'm thankful for the opportunity I'm getting right now. I'm just trying to make the best of it."
With Nash temporarily felled by a non-displaced leg fracture, Morris has passed Duhon in the rotation as Blake's primary backup.
In two appearances this season, Morris is averaging 6.5 points per game on 50% shooting from the field. His assist numbers aren't quite there (1.5 a game against 1.5 turnovers) but the minutes are helping to build his confidence.
"Things are slowing down a little bit more," he said. "I still have those times where I could control it a little bit more, but it's definitely an improvement from last year."
As a rookie, the Michigan guard seemed overwhelmed at times.
"I was thrown into the fire last year for about eight games when Steve Blake went down," Morris said. "Everything was moving really fast."
Now he can often be found at the Lakers' practice facility, putting in extra sessions and working on his shot.
"I have always been that way all my life," he said. "That's probably why I'm standing here right now. I just always try to outwork everybody. I just want to get better."
Coach Mike Brown is hoping to get a defensive presence from Morris who has good size for the position at 6-foot-4.
"Kobe [Bryant] and coach talked to me, saying that's what this team needs," Morris said. "My role is just to come out, especially with the elite guards in the West. It's really hard to stop them, but at least try and slow them down and contain them with my length."
The Lakers have been adjusting to Brown's hybrid Princeton offense, but Morris noted he is comfortable in it.
"I'm kind of familiar with it because at Michigan, we ran a certain style of the Princeton," he said. "I think that once everybody knows the plays ... I think it's going to be really rolling."
As far as his individual game?
"To me, I'm just scratching the surface," he said. "This is really good, just taking positive steps to try and get to be the player I want to be."
The Lakers play again on Wednesday night, facing the Jazz in Utah.
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