In the latest move in what's been a very busy couple of days for the front office, the Nets signed guard Darius Morris. A league source told NetsDaily that the deal is non-guaranteed and is set at the league minimum.
In three seasons, Morris has spent time with the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Philadelphia 76ers and Memphis Grizzlies. Over those three years, he has averaged 3.7 PPG and 1.5 APG and his shooting line is .399/.354/.653. Replacing an injured Steve Blake during the 2013 playoffs, Morris played in four games and impressed. He averaged 26.3 MPG and 10.5 PPG, shooting at a 45% clip.
He was drafted out of Michigan with the 41st pick of the 2011 NBA Draft by the Lakers. Standing at 6'5", the 23-year-old can play both point and shooting guard and according to DraftExpress, his ceiling back then was Andre Miller. In Ann Arbor, Morris set a Michigan single-season record for assists with 235 during the 2010-11 season.
Though he wound up a second-rounder, ESPN's Chad Ford was impressed by his pre-draft workout and thought Morris was a sure first-rounder.
Darius Morris looked really, really good in workouts today. He's got a great work ethic and attitude. He's going to be a first rounder.
— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) May 4, 2011
Though he's regarded as a combo guard because of his size, Morris plays like a true point guard. He has great ball handling skills and showed he can effectively run an offense in college. His passing is exceptional and his mid-range game is adequate, though his long-range game has been inconsistent thus far. An underrated aspect of his game is his defense. Though he possesses below-average lateral quickness and athleticism, Morris is fundamentally sound and his size certainly helps.
Morris played 15 dominant games with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers last season averaging 22.3 PPG, shooting nearly 53% from the field, and 8.1 APG. In a playoff game against the Iowa Energy, Morris exploded for 51 points and 18 assists. He was 17-26 from the field, including 7-10 from beyond the arc. Here are some highlights from that game:
Morris could be a great find for the Nets. With a non-guaranteed, league minimum contract, he could be yet another valuable trade asset. If the Nets are truly dedicated to trading away their Big-3, Morris is the type of player, or more appropriately a contract, that can make the logistics of a trade work. If they decide to keep him, he could develop into a solid rotation player, playing either shooting guard or the point, for a cheap price. He's still young and should able to fill in the third point guard void left by Jorge Gutierrez after he was traded to Philadelphia.