Andrew Goudelock, Darius Morris: Which Rookie Makes the LA Lakers Roster First?

Hadarii JonesSenior Writer IJuly 16, 2011

HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 01:  Andrew Goudelock #10 of the College of Charleston passes the ball in the 2011 Reese's College All-Star Game after practice for the 2011 Final Four of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at Reliant Stadium on April 1, 2011 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

There is no doubt that the Los Angeles Lakers must upgrade at the point guard position in order to return to the NBA Finals, and the decision to draft Darius Morris and Andrew Goudelock with their first two picks of the 2011 NBA draft is definitely a step in the right direction.

Morris and Goudelock each bring their own distinctive set of talent and ability to the Lakers, but a franchise must always approach a second round pick with a little caution, especially if it's a point guard.

The lead guard is arguably the most difficult position to play on the court, because not only are you responsible for directing the team's offensive attack, but you are usually the first line of defense in transition and at the point of attack.

There are few players entering the NBA from the college arena who are mentally and physically prepared to star in their rookie seasons, and that sentiment applies doubly when considering point guards.

The NBA has seen its fair share of elite point guards enter the league in recent seasons, but New Jersey Nets guard Deron Williams and New Orleans Hornets captain Chris Paul may have been the most NBA-ready rookies to enter the league in years.

In terms of potential Goudelock and Morris are not even on the same plane of existence as Paul and Williams, since stardom was predicted for each of those players before they had even played an NBA minute.

 Goudelock and Morris do have some of the same qualities as Paul and Williams, but can either player show enough development in their game in the face of the NBA lockout, to make the Lakers regular season roster?

There are a couple of factors that are favorable to Goudelock and Morris and the two most important may be the Lakers recent head coaching change, and the fact that point guard is such a question mark for the team.

Neither Goudelock or Morris stood much of a chance playing under former head coach Phil Jackson who was notorious for his disdain of rookies, but Mike Brown may be more willing give the rookie guards a chance to prove they can play on the NBA level.

Brown's offense will be much less complex than Jackson's triangle offense, and more familiar to both Goudelock and Morris who each ran versions of the motion offense in college.

Quickly grasping Brown's offensive philosophies would allow Goudelock and Morris to concentrate more on the defensive aspects of their games since the defensive transition in the NBA from college is usually the hardest to adapt to.

The fact that the Lakers desperately need help at point guard is no secret, and faced with the potential of another season of Derek Fisher and Steve Blake, the Lakers may be willing to take a few more risks.

Fisher's skills have deteriorated to the point that his presence on the court is actually more of a liability for the Lakers and Blake's first season with the team fell far below fans expectations.

Blake may have been a worse defender than Fisher and he was never able to become a consistent scoring threat from the three point line.

In Morris the Lakers have a guard who has the size and strength to be a superior defensive guard and in Goudelock the Lakers have a player with the potential to light it up from the perimeter.

Morris is listed as 6'4" and Goudelock is is listed as 6'3" which would give the Lakers one of the league's bigger back courts when paired with the 6'6" Kobe Bryant.

Goudelock's offensive game is more advanced than Morris, but Morris' defensive skills may earn him immediate minutes on the court once he proves he has the ability to run Brown's offense.

Both Goudelock and Morris may have a better chance of making the Lakers' final roster than last season's second round draft picks Devin Ebanks and Derrick Caracter.

And under Brown Goudelock and Morris definitely have a better shot at actually seeing minutes if they are able to make the team.

If forced to choose between the two players I would probably give a slight edge to Goudelock because he is a little older, and his overall game is slightly more advanced than Morris.

But Morris does have a tremendous upside, and it wouldn't surprise me at all if both Morris and Goudelock earn significant minutes off the bench once the NBA lockout finally ends.