LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 19: Darius Morris #1 of the Los Angeles Lakers dribbles during the game against the Los Angeles Clippers.
With Steve Nash only having played a game and a half to this point, the Lakers have had trouble with the point guard position.
Steve Blake was the safe and experienced choice to deputize for Nash, but Blake's lack of speed, size, and athleticism made him a liability on both ends of the floor.
After Nash went down with an injury, former Lakers coach Mike Brown started using Darius Morris off the bench as a backup for Blake. Morris was averaging 13 minutes per game under Brown and showing some promise. Morris displayed an ability to knock down a shot on one end and harass opposing point guards on the other.
After Brown was fired, Morris was the first player off the bench for interim-coach Bernie Bickerstaff. In the win against Golden State, Morris played significant minutes with the starting unit due to Blake getting in early foul trouble. Morris gelled with the first unit and set career-highs in points, assists, and rebounds.
Morris' activity on both ends of the floor created a buzz in the locker room with Metta World Peace calling his play "moist." Metta's translator was not immediately available, but his facial expression suggested "moist" was a compliment.
In the next game against Sacramento, Blake's abdominal injury resulted in the 32-year old guard out of Maryland only playing 14 minutes. The 21 year-old Morris took most of Blake's minutes, as Morris put in more time on the floor than Blake for the second game in a row.
"I think he's playing well," Bickerstaff said about Morris' play over the past couple games. "He understands the game."
However, when asked whether he was considering starting Morris in the next game, Bernie responded, "No, I haven't even considered if I'm starting the next game."
Morris was with the team last season, but he eventually fell down the pecking order behind Andrew Goudelock, who was waived by the Lakers this preseason. Morris' improved shooting combined with his natural speed and quickness is a positive sign for the Lakers.
New coach Mike D'Antoni’s system rewards quick guards that can push the ball, pass, and score. If he can maintain his high level of play, Morris may prove to be a sparkling asset for the Lakers bench in the new system.