Los Angeles Lakers: Remaining questions after signing Markieff Morris

(Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
(Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images) /
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Los Angeles Lakers
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

Can Markieff Morris Strengthen Defense on the Wing?

Throughout the season, the Lakers have struggled with long, athletic scorers on the wing. Over the last two games, first-time All-Star forwards Jayson Tatum and Brandon Ingram combined for 75 points against Los Angeles.

Morris isn’t going to solve the team’s biggest defensive issue. Although he’s a big body (6’8″, 245 pounds), the 30-year-old doesn’t have the step and agility to keep pace with some of the league’s best forwards.

On the flip side, Morris’ length can help defend against stretch 4s. He can also play in small-ball lineups. In the first half of the 2018-19 season, the ninth-year veteran played more center than power forward for the Washington Wizards.

Before his debut with the Lakers, Morris talked about becoming a versatile contributor.

"“Me, personally, I’m just trying to be the X-Factor that we need,” Morris said. “Whatever’s needed out of me, I want to come in and provide. That’s just where it’s at. However, they use me is how they use me.”"

Defensively, Morris will earn his keep on hustle plays like his block on Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday at the end of the third quarter Tuesday—just don’t expect a lockdown defender.

Nonetheless, the Lakers should feel fortunate to welcome any additional defensive energy off the bench, especially in the form of a long forward, who can alter shots at the hoop or beyond the arc.