Morris: 4.0 ppg, 1.2 rpg, 1.2 apg, 38.8 FG%, 14.2 mpg, appeared in 48 games
Duhon: 2.9 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 2.9 apg, 38.2 FG%, 17.8 mpg, appeared in 46 games
Darius Morris was able to beat out players like Andrew Goudelock and Chris Douglas-Roberts for a roster spot in the preseason mainly due to the Lakers being run by a defensive minded coach at the time, Mike Brown. Morris, possessing nice size and strength for a guard, was the better defensive player of the aforementioned guards; therefore, more attractive to Mike Brown, but is very limited offensively. Once the offensive minded Mike D’Antoni took over the reigns of the team, Darius time dwindled and his DNP’s piled up.
Morris got a golden opportunity in the playoffs after the Lakers were decimated by injuries to just about every guard on the roster. Morris got a chance to start game 3 of the first round match against the Spurs and delivered 24 points, 6 assists in 37 minutes. Morris showed that he has a place in this league and enough upside to be considered for a roster spot with the Lakers next season.
Chris Duhon’s season was uneventful and disappointing. Coming over as filler in the Dwight Howard trade from the Orlando Magic, Duhon never found a role on this team. Even towards the end of the season and playoffs when the Lakers back court was wiped out due to injury, the coaching staff opted to go with the inexperienced Andrew Goudelock and Morris instated of the veteran Duhon.
2013-14 Season Forecast:
The Lakers will likely bring Darius Morris back for a chance to win a roster spot. Morris will be a restricted free agent, giving the Lakers an opportunity to match any offers he would receive, which is unlikely to be anything more than the close to 1 million dollar salary he received this past season. The Lakers will be looking to improve their perimeter defense and will likely bring in another guard via free agency. Morris’ defensive ability and improvement on the offensive end would be a great asset at the end of the Lakers bench, just don’t look for him to get significant playing time this coming season.
Chris Duhon will be in the last year of his contract, making close to 4 million; however, he has a 1.5 million dollar buyout that the Lakers could, and likely will exercise. It is unlikely that the Lakers would voluntarily choose to bring back Duhon considering the amount of use that they got out of him this past season. Expect to see Duhon in another jersey next season.
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