Darius Morris had his best game in a long time Friday night in Detroit. Although the Nets lost, Morris scored 10 points on 4-of-10 shooting, including 2-of-5 from three, in 19 minutes. One of those shots, a driving layup with 4:39 left, brought the Nets to within 84-82 and YES cameras caught him getting pumped up and trying to rally his troops. With Deron Williams out and Jarrett Jack posting big minutes, the Nets need the 6'5" Morris to play well given spot minutes.
It was solid game for the 24-year-old now on his fifth NBA team, not counting summer league and training camp stints, in four years. And it came after a mediocre game vs. the Sixers when he scored only two points in 12 minutes ... and had +/- of -20 in a two-point loss. Lionel Hollins, in his post-game interview Friday, volunteered that he thought Morris "had a good game."
Ups and downs are common for the journeyman from southern California, as Steve Simineri writes. After a disappointing freshman year at Michigan, he played well in his sophomore year and decided to enter the draft, falling into the second round when he had hoped for late first. But the lifelong Laker fan was selected by LA, which he told Simineri was "special" for a kid from southern California.
"It was kind of surreal leaving L.A. to go to Michigan, and then getting drafted back with my family there and everything was a pretty cool experience," said Morris
He was barely visible in his rookie year, but late in his second year, he got a chance. In the Lakers' first round loss to the Spurs, he started and had the best game of his career, a 24-point effort in Game 3, and averaged 10.5 for the series.
He thought it was time to go out on his on, but things didn't work out. He signed with Philly, but fell behind Michael Carter-Williams and Tony Wroten and was cut. Two 10-days with the Clippers and Grizzlies didn't result in contracts then he was among the last cuts by Portland in training camp. He wound up in the D-League where he had one one of the league's greatest single games, a 51-point, 18-assist effort in the playoffs. Rather than go back, he decided to stay at home and wait for the call.
"The D-League was just a really humbling experience. Being in the league and going to the D-League is kind of different in terms of everything else, the travel and the competition," he told Simineri.
On Wednesday, his non-guaranteed deal became fully guaranteed and he seems to have won the confidence of his GM and coach. After all, the Nets could have used that open 15th spot to take on another point guard. Instead, they chose to stick with him.
"I like to look at it like a movement and I just keep moving through it. So hopefully every time somebody sees me out there in a situation they can say I’ve gotten better or he looks a lot better than he used to." he said of the ups and downs. The Nets hope that Friday's game, despite the loss, is a part of that process.
Well-traveled Youngster Darius Morris Getting a Chance in Brooklyn - Steve Simineri - Double G Sports