According to Marc Stein of ESPN, the Los Angeles Lakers are actively shopping backup point guards Steve Blake and Chris Duhon. But what does that mean for the future of second-year guard Darius Morris?
Presumably, the Lakers are looking to add another veteran guard to the mix in what is already a crowded backcourt. But I'm not sure where Morris fits in the scheme of things, and it's hard to get an idea based on his play in the preseason.
In four games, Morris has scored a total of seven points, dished out four assists and played a whopping 36 minutes. Excuse my sarcasm, but it's difficult to generate a serious discussion on Morris because of his limited time on the court.
At 6'4", Morris has great size for a point guard, and his quickness and athleticism suggest that he could be an above-average defensive player. Morris' ball-handling and offensive game could use some work, though, and he has yet to show any real mental growth in his game.
We have seen glimpses of Morris' potential, but in reality, there is really nothing you can point to that says Morris has done enough to warrant increased playing time—certainly not above Blake, Duhon or fellow sophomore Andrew Goudelock.
It doesn't hurt that Morris will have an opportunity to learn firsthand from one of the best in Steve Nash. And his size might allow Lakers coach Mike Brown to explore scenarios where Morris could play off the ball.
Forward Devin Ebanks may not be facing as much competition for playing time as Morris, but he will still have to prove he belongs in a rotation that includes the newly-signed Antawn Jamison and Metta World Peace.
Ebanks has definitely shown improvement as a player. During the 2012 preseason, he is averaging 10.8 points per game, and he scored 20 in the Lakers' recent 103-98 loss to Sacramento.
Ebanks is not a great athlete, but at 6'9", he has great size for a small forward. During the preseason, he has also shown improved touch on his perimeter jumper.
Brown seems to think Ebanks can contribute to the Lakers' long term-goals this season, as he has been generous enough to play him about 21.5 minutes per game so far.
And while Ebanks has produced, doing it in the regular season is a different matter altogether.
Last season, Ebanks started 12 games and had Lakers fans believing he might be ready to take the next step in his development. Instead, Ebanks ended up on the bench in favor of World Peace. He finished 2012 by averaging 16.5 minutes per game with 4.0 points on 41 percent shooting from the field.
The Lakers could certainly use Ebanks' length and ability to defend opponents on the perimeter and in the paint. But first, he must prove that he can find some consistency in his game.
Ebanks has enough talent to make an impact for the Lakers in 2012-13, and maybe the team's decision to sign Jamison will give him enough motivation to show it on the court.
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