Los Angeles Lakers: 3 reasons why re-signing Markieff Morris is key

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(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) – Los Angeles Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers must re-sign Markieff Morris this offseason.

Now that the Los Angeles Lakers have captured their 17th title, the front office must set its sights on setting up next season’s roster. The team has five unrestricted free agents. Perhaps the most valuable one to re-sign is Markieff Morris.

General Manager Rob Pelinka signed Morris in late February after he was waived by the Pistons. He played in just eight games for the Lakers before the season was suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic, all in a reserve role, and averaged just five points in 15 minutes per game.

Morris’ stats improved only marginally in the regular-season games within the Orlando bubble. He played in six of the final eight and averaged six points in 14 MPG.

And his overall postseason numbers don’t exactly jump off the page either. He played in all 21 games, starting twice, and averaged six points and three rebounds in 18 minutes.

So why should the Lakers try to retain the 31-year-old veteran?

1. Markieff Morris provides the Los Angeles Lakers a stretch big

In the final two regular-season games, the 6-8 forward started to demonstrate what he could do, shooting 6-for-9 from beyond the three-point line. Like Anthony Davis, he showed that he was a big who was capable of stretching the defense.

Morris’ three-point shooting really came alive in the second-round series against Houston, when the Lakers used a smaller than usual lineup. He connected on 41% of his long-distance attempts (9-22) and overall 17 of his 31 field-goal tries, 55%. He played half the minutes of the final four games.

He wasn’t used quite as much in the Denver series, but still made his presence known. He shot 5-9 from deep, a sizzling 55%. His minutes increased again against Miami in the Finals, particularly in the final three games. For the series, he hit 12 of his 30 shots from behind the arc (40%).

Overall, Markieff shot a team-leading 42% (29-69) from deep in the postseason. That percentage might seem uncharacteristically high for a career 35% three-point shooter who has never shot as high as 40% for a season.

However, opposing defenses against the Lakers will continue to focus their attention on AD and LeBron James. Those double-teams will result in wide-open three-point looks. And Morris has shown that he can consistently sink those shots.

As defenses continue to sag inside, the ability to make outside shots will remain a valuable asset for the Lakers.

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