Instead, the 6-foot-4 23-year-old guard was thrust into the rotation when Nash and Blake missed games both early and late with injuries. After starting 17 regular-season games, Morris was matched up against
In Game 3, Morris scored a career-high 24 points on 9-of-15 shooting with six assists. His defense on
On the season, Morris averaged only four points on 38.8% shooting in 14.2 minutes a game. The numbers reflect a young player still learning the pro game. He often played too fast, rushing passes or shots, driving into traffic and creating problems for himself.
"Being more decisive," said Morris of his goals moving forward. "When they give you that jump shot, just go ahead and take it.
"When I first came into the league, they said I couldn't shoot," he said after his exit interview with General Manager
Morris will become a restricted free agent this summer if the Lakers make him a $1.2-million qualifying offer. The team can also risk letting him go unrestricted with hopes of retaining him for the league minimum of $884,293.
"I'm a restricted free agent. I definitely want to come back, especially how we ended the season," said Morris. "I'm not where I want to be, but I'm not where I used to be. I think I improved a lot. I'm going to continue to improve."
If Morris returns he would still play behind Nash and Blake, assuming there's no shake-up in the roster.
"If somebody likes my potential and wants to invest in me, I'll definitely have to look elsewhere," Morris said. "I would love to stay in L.A. .... Mitch has invested in me and I like Coach D'Antoni."
The Lakers need youth and athleticism. Morris has length and workable defensive instincts.
If he can learn to play under control, Morris might be a valuable reserve for the Lakers next season.