Los Angeles Lakers Select Darius Morris with No. 41 Pick

Dylan Burkhardt

The Los Angeles Lakers selected Darius Morris with the No. 41 overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. Morris averaged 15 points and seven assists during his sophomore season before entering his name in the NBA Draft.

Second round picks are not guaranteed contracts but Morris was the first pick of the draft for the Lakers, who didn’t have a first round draft pick. The Lakers used their other second round picks on Andrew Goudelock (College of Charleston) and Ater Majok (formerly of UConn). The other point guards currently on the Laker roster are Steve Blake and Derek Fisher. Shannon Brown has opted for free agency but could also return to Los Angeles.

Morris’s primary goal was to be picked in the first round but he couldn’t ask for a much better scenario as a second round pick. The Lakers don’t have a lot of point guard options going forward and Morris will have the opportunity to play in his hometown.

Here’s Morris after the draft:

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  • He actually has the potential to get a lot of minutes next season, congrats Darius! 

  • Ctopher

    Second round pics hardly ever make it in the NBA.  It’s sad really, the kid could of made a huge name for himself next year in the national spotlight at Michigan and been a top 15 (if not lottery) pick after his junior year.  He also could’ve lead Michigan to their first Big Ten title in years.  What a waste IMO.  I love D-Mo and hope for the best, but this is just a huge mistake in judgement. 

    • sane1

      LA’s roster is thin at guard, and the Lakers had no first round pick. Darius can make this team and even get some PT. Next year is pure speculation. Next year’s draft is projected to be a lot deeper than this year’s.

    • dd34

      Morris was never going to be a lottery pick.  With the loaded draft class next year, he probably wouldn’t make the first round   His stock was highest this year and he gambled.  He’s not in a bad spot if he can make the team.  Morris is not a great athlete, and his shot wasn’t going to improve enough to get him into the lottery.  He’s in an okay spot.  The longer you hang around in college, the more holes get poked in  your game unless you’re a mega talent like Barnes, Sullinger, etc.  

    • Guest

      Morris would not be a 1st round pick next year draft. Next year draft is loaded with talents.  There are at least 20 players who are better prospect than Morris.

      • Ctopher

        How can you say with a straight face that next years class is more loaded than this years?  How do you know that, or did you just hear someone say it and you recycled it?  If you think next years class will have better guards than Irving, Knight, Walker, Jimmer, Shumpert, etc… Point is 8 point guards were taken in the first round and Darius wasn’t one of them.  If you think it’s going to be more loaded at that position for next years draft, I’d like to hear you expalin how?

        • http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/draft/results/top100/_/year/2012
          It’s certainly heavier at the top. I think it’d be extremely hard for Morris to work his way into that lottery, which contains many more stars than this year’s lottery.

        • Guest

          Let’s see college players who are locks to go to the lottery are Harrison Barnes, Perry Jones, Jared Sullinger, Terrance Jones and Jeremy Lamb.  Throw in some college players who are better prospects than Morris.  That pushes Morris down already.

          For one and done players, it’s a very deep draft with Austin Rivers, James McAdoo, Anthony Davis, Micheal Gilchrist, Quincy Miller, Marquis Teague, Myck Kabongo, Brad Beal, and Adonis Thomas.  That’s probably the deepest freshman class in a long time.

          Throw in some unknown college and international players who will emerge as a 1st rounder.

          Odds are stacked against Morris on getting drafted in the 1st round.  There is a risk if Morris does not improve his shot, his stock will plummet because NBA scouts will worry that he’ll never be a good shooter.

        • YpsiTuckyBoy

          WHY DOES EVERYONE TALK ABOUT NEXT YEARS’ DRAFT BEING STRONGER? Geez, for the love, don’t people realize that ::gasp:: Darius could’ve just stayed for four years and avoided the loaded draft next year? It just makes no sense to me.

          He clearly made a mistake. Should’ve just stayed until he graduated.

          • Guest

            NBA does not like seniors for the simple fact that they’re too old for a rookie and they pretty much reached their ceiling as a player.  Darius already realized that next year draft is loaded and if he stays for his senior year, he may not get drafted.  To him, it’s better for him to come out as a sophomore and earn money 2 years earlier rather than staying for his senior year(thus risking injury in the next two years).  Second contract is more important than the first one(though it helps to have a 1st round contract) because if you’re established player, you’re going to get paid far more than the rookie contract.

          • YpsiTuckyBoy

            You assume that Darius will be playing in the NBA for the next two years, and I think that’s a big assumption.

            Also, plenty of college seniors get taken in the 1st round of the Draft if they’re good enough.

          • Guest

            That doesn’t happen very often (regarding college seniors).

            Not a big assumption when you look at LAL roster and how they have Morris at #19 in their big board.  Morris is pretty much a lock to make the roster since LAL needs to get younger.

    • MGoTweeter

      Its impossible to say whether or not this was a mistake.  Obviously going in the first round would have been better because of the guaranteed money, but there was no guarantee that staying another year would have put him there.  The national spotlight is irrelevant to these conversations.  NBA GMs will find a player regardless of how much of a spotlight is on them. 

      The biggest issue with Darius’ game is that he is not a great athlete.  That was not going to change by coming back another year.  Improving his shot and left hand would have helped, but next year’s draft class is at another level in terms of talent.  He could have improved his game a great deal and not moved up at all. 

      We will never know if this was a mistake because we can’t see the alternate universe where he stayed in school.  If he does not make it in the NBA it will be because he never was good enough not because he got drafted in the second round. 

    • Nick

      I agree with Ctopher. he left a season too soon. At this point, I don’t think it’s up for debate; however, i believe he will mature into a pro if given a chance in LA. This was not a good day for Darius. I hope he makes the team and learns everything he can from the vets on the Lakers. I just wish Phil was still there to initially guide him…

      • MGoTweeter

        I’m sure its not the result that he wanted, but to say that this was not a good day for Darius is pretty absurd.  This is his lifelong dream and now he’s going to get his chance to fulfill it.  He definitely wanted a better result, but it’s still special to hear your name and get this chance. 

        I don’t know if he left too soon or not, but the reality is that no one knows that and no one ever will know that. 

      • gpsimms

        this is crazy.  whay does everyone insist that a player’s career i ruined if he gets drafted in the second round, but yet he will be wildly successful if he waits one year and gets drafted in the first?

        first, it is not given he would have drafted any better, and second, he is the same player this year or next, witht he same potential, with the same drive to get better, with the same height, etc.  if he’s gonna make it in the league, then he’s gonna make it in the league.

        the only way your argument makes sense is if you are saying that he was neevr gonna make it in the league, so he really needed that one guaranteed pay check to invest wisely over the rest of his life.  if darius thought that about his skills, then he would never have been a DI scholarship basketball player.

        • Nick

          I disagree with both of you guys. Draft day was not a good one for D-Mo because at one point he was projected to go around 16 or 17 by nbadraft.net, which generally pretty reliable; he then went in the middle of the second round. I would imagine a disappointment like that would ruin one’s day. Also, he hasn’t realized his dream yet of making an NBA team (yet). Most 2nd rounders don’t make a squad (although I think Darius will make the Lakers next season). He doesn’t have a guaranteed contract, which was likely a determining reason for him entering this years draft.

          And for gpsimms post, the reason people usually insist a player’s career is over if they are drafted in the second round is because the stats back it up – with the exception of a few players, most of them end up in Europe or NBDL. It’s absurd to make the statement that he would have been the same player next year as he was this year. I’m sure you saw the drastic improvement in this game and strength this season. If he would have stayed and developed an NBA quality outside game, he would have had a better chance at being a first rounder and garnering the guaranteed contract, assuming of course the labor agreement doesn’t change too much.

          I really enjoyed watching him this season at UM. I wish Darius luck and hope he can make a squad.

    • A2JD

      Plenty of players in the first half of the 2nd round make NBA rosters.

      • A2JD

        I do hope the Players and Owners resolve their issues, though.  Summer league will be very helpful for Darius.

  • JBlair52

    If he were to make the roster, what’s the typical salary he’d probably make?

    • I’m no NBA guru, but I think something around 500k for his first year.

      • catwomanrx

        Benchwarmers make a minimum of $440,000/year.

  • KRN

    Are they just making up names now?

  • MGoTweeter

    Congrats Darius!  Im going to hate myself for it, but I guess I am a little bit of a Laker fan now.

    • gpsimms

      seriously.  going from my 2nd least favorite team to my 2nd favorite team, just like that.

  • Congratulations me baby, uh poetic justice… See, you can always go back home. What a good look, we happy for you D Mo you deserve it… Go Blue!!!

  • MattM

    I think the kid still has a shot. And he had the absolute right to make his move this year if that is what he thought was best. He owes us fans nothing, when it comes to that. I wish him all the best.

    But when we talk about him going this year because next year’s draft will be much deeper, it doesn’t add up to me. Next year he would’ve had the chance to improve that much more and lead a talented team to the next level. My guess is he still might not have cracked the first round, but he didn’t this year either so… if we are only talking about his pro potential (of which I think he has a lot), wouldn’t it have perhaps been best to stay ALL FOUR years? He would have a more filled out/defined body and had a lot more maturity and experience. Of any position, I think point guards risk the least by staying in school longer.

    But again, I will be rooting for him. I just think that perhaps this was a case where it would have been in his (for preparing for an NBA career) and our (as fans who want to see him for as long as we could) best interest for him to stay and complete his eligibility. That is a rare case.

    • jemblue

      Next year he would have had the chance to improve, yes, but so would everyone else – including all the guys who would have been ranked ahead of him now if they’d gone pro.  As for two years from now, who knows?  Two years is a long time to wait if you feel like you’ve got NBA game as it is.  A lot can happen in the meantime.  Your stock could go up, or it could go down.  Manny stayed for his junior year and saw his stock drop.  If you stay and don’t make measurable progress, you’ll be passed in the rankings by someone younger who shows potential.

      Anyway, people should keep in mind that he is the Lakers’ top draft pick.  They loved him, but didn’t have a first-rounder this year.  

      • MattM

        Even though his stock dropped, I think Manny was better prepared to make a squad because he stayed.

  • Xerxes

    Hey Lucas, you’re still on the board. Get off D-Mo’s court….

  • Dave

    I hate to say it but now I have to root for the Lakers if DMo makes the roster – and gets playing time.

    It’s hard to say whether this was the best decision for DMo – too many unknowns. He likely would have improved with another year in college but next year’s draft is much deeper and there’s always the risk of injury or a disappointing junior year.

    I do think DMo is likely to have a very good NBA career IF he’s given the chance to develop his game further at the NBA level for another couple years.  But that’s always a big IF – there’s some luck involved.  He has more potential than most of the guards chosen ahead of him and I’m surprised he dropped into the second round.  DMo is THE best passing point guard in the draft and (I believe) the tallest – so he might have been the THE best point guard prospect in the draft.  He can shoot and has the smarts and work ethic to improve his shooting skills dramatically – just look at the leap he made with the rest of his game in just one year.  The NBA scouts blew this one – he should have gone higher.  Hope he gets a chance to prove himself.  

    • gpsimms

       of course i am a huge darius fan, so what i say should probably not be taken all that seriously–but i agree the scouts blew this one.  there were two pg’s taken at the end of the first cory joseph and norris cole, i only saw either of these dudes play once this year, but i really do not see how either could end up nearly as good as darius can be.

      as for whether it was a mistake for darius to come out early, anyone who is saying that his career is ruined because he got picked in the second round was just looking for more reason to hate on him.  my opinion is that he couldn’t make the wrong decision either way…he’s got (in my biased opinion) too much going for him to not make it in the league.  if he came out next year, he mighta been drafted higher, but i think the end result for him is going to be a long, successful nba career.

      in 10 years, it wont matter whether he was 2nd round in 2011 or 1st in 2012, or undrafted in 2012….if he wanted to leave school and take the next step, then he did the right thing.  he’ll play next year, and he’ll be in the league for a while.

  • A2JD

    If he had to get taken in the 2nd round, I can’t think of a better situation for him.  I won’t enjoy rooting for the lakes but I may have to at least a bit.

  • Mattski

    I guess it’s what sports sites like this are for–idle speculation–and god knows I engage in my share. But it is really odd to me that people think they see Darius’s situation better than he can, given family, agents, contacts with teams, multiple evaluations, etc. Just. . . probably. . . not. . . the case. Yes, sometimes things work out better, sometimes worse, but he’s operating on the basis of way more data than we have. Paul Millsap, Manu Ginobilli, and Pau Gasol were all LATE second-round picks, so the idea that second-rounders don’t make it just isn’t true. 

    It’s only bleacher report, but someone there is certainly high on the Lakers’ pick of Darius, even projects him as their point guard of the future:


    The main thing, though, is that Darius Morris plays basketball. It’s what he likes to do. None of us stops being an ecologist (what I am) or an architect because s/he didn’t make it to the first round, or because we’re not projected as among the 30 best in our trade in the world coming out of college. He’ll make what for 99.999% of humanity is very large money and have great adventures even if he ends up in the HEBA A1 in Greece. He can finish school or do any one of a million other things after that (he was all-conference academic, right?)

    And the Lakers? His hometown team? Are you kidding? If he does make it, look out. I always thought that as a tall guard he had a tiny bit of that Magic in him anyway. But then, I think I believed in him more than a lot of people did, from the beginning of last year on. I’m sure all of you will be happy for him if he proves he can do it.

    • A2JD

      I think you mean Marc Gasol, Matt.  Pau went top 5.

      • Mattski

        I stand corrected!

  • South Florida Maize Rage

    It’s gonna be devastating if Michigan struggles at PG next season and D-Mo is in the D-League. I will be sick to my stomach all season if LA stashes him in the D-League. 

    • Guest

      I don’t think it’s going to happen. Morris is better than Steve Blake and Derek Fisher as a PG.  Derek Fisher isn’t a true PG and may not come back next season but if he did, it’d be a year or two before he’ll retire.

      • A2JD

        I think Fisher will be a great mentor for Darius.

        • Guest

          Not sure about it because Fisher isn’t a PG and plays in a triangle offense in which he’s not a “PG” in all of his career.

  • Brian_W_97

    An interview with 2013 shooting guard Malcolm Hill regarding U-M…


  • Rkw

    updated crisler photos on mgoblue. looking good!

  • This is the ideal situation in my eyes..he lands in his home town, for a team that desperately needs youth at the guard position and also a bigger point guard..to me morris will most definately make this team an potentially has the chance to be a starter..the lakers cpboard is very dry at pg..fisher an blake..i’ll take morris over those two anyday..great grab by the lakers..

  • EchoWhiskey

    Looks like a good fit on paper.  He’s got too much talent not to make it in some capacity.

    Highlights of last year make it harder to accept that he’s gone, but happy for him on this huge accomplishment.

  • Champswest

    I hope that D Mo made the right decision for himself.  If it were me, I think I would have stayed. 
    Folks say, next year’s draft is better so I won’t go high, but then again, I was only #41 in a weak draft year.  Also, I was 3rd team All Big Ten, so there were 10-14 guys better than me in my own league.  To leave after only 2 years, you need to be pretty good.  Maybe I’m not that good.  Maybe I should stary 4 years and at least try to have a great college career.

  • DingoBlue

    LA Lakers bit on Morris and some thoughts on if he will get playing time.


  • There’s every chance the atmosphere next year in LA is going to be toxic with Mike Brown trying to handle all those personalities in that place, especially with Kobe declining and not admitting it (he won’t).

    Hopefully Darius can find his way onto the bench rotation and start to do well from that base.

    I hope Darius does well. I don’t think this is a great result for him but it is his hometown team, they do need a point guard, and he will work very hard to make it.

  • Guest

    I wish Darius all of the best.  I think, though, he’ll have his work cut out for him.  He doesn’t have the quicks to stay with or get by a lot of NBA PGs and without a 3P shot he’s not going to help spread the floor for playmakers like Kobe.  As for those who say he shouldn’t have stayed 4 years because teams think players have hit their ceiling I disagree.  Morris went later in this year’s draft because teams thought his ceiling was limited by his lack of athleticism.  2 more years in college could have only helped had he developed a 3P shot, a defensive reputation and lead a team on the continued rise.