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Where Are They Now: Darius Morris

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Where are they now returns for a 4th summer, starting with point guard Darius Morris.

Los Angeles Clippers v Indiana Pacers

I started the “Where are they now” series three summers ago, and have since written about numerous obscure Clippers from the past decade. The series will continue this summer, starting with Darius Morris, who made a brief interlude into the Lob City era during its height.

Clippers career/2013-2014 season:

Darius Morris spent his first two seasons on the “other” LA team, and showed some promise, but was not given a qualifying offer going into the summer of 2013. After starting the season on the Process-era Sixers, Morris joined the Clippers on a 10 day contract on January 6, 2014 after Chris Paul hurt his shoulder. He then signed another 10 day contract, and played in 10 games total as a very low minute backup while CP got healthy. Morris did not, however, impress the Clippers enough to get a rest-of-season deal, and they moved on to other options (including former “where are they now” writeup Maalik Wayns). He then signed a couple 10 day deals with the Grizzlies, but they too did not extend him a longer deal, and Morris closed out the season for the Rio Grande Vipers in the (then) D-League. While there, he set a D-League playoff record with 18 assists in one game (he dropped 51 points the same contest). In the end, Morris’ Clippers legacy, such as it was, was as one of the failed young point guards the Clippers tried to bring in behind Chris Paul after Eric Bledsoe was traded.

2014-2015: Last stint in the NBA

Maybe it was the outrageously good performance in the D-League playoffs, or just Morris’ pedigree, but the Trail Blazers signed Morris to a training camp deal, and held onto him until the final day of cuts took place. However, he was only out of a job for just over a month before the Brooklyn Nets picked him up in December. Darius spent the rest of the season with the Nets, and played in close to half their games (38), but received under eight minutes per contest. As a third-string point guard, Morris was fine, but he failed to connect on a high percentage of his field goals, and was a non-threat from deep. On June 29, he was waived by the Nets in advance of the offseason. Thus far, he has not returned to the NBA.

2015-2017: Rio Grande Vipers

Darius sat out most of the 2015-2016 season, possibly waiting for a call from an NBA team that never came. In late March, with 10 day contracts essentially over with, Morris signed with the Vipers once more, and played in their final three games, as well as three playoff contests. He played well, scoring and distributing the ball at solid levels without turning it over much. The following season, Darius wasn’t fooling around. He was the third leading scorer for the Vipers on a per game basis (20.0), and scored by far the most points in total, playing in 47 of their 50 regular season games. Morris was also their leading playmaker, dishing 6.4 assists per game, and spearheaded what was the best offense in the G-League that season. He only turned his game up in the playoffs, putting up 23.3 and 7.9 while taking the Vipers to within one game of the G-League championship. Unfortunately, the Vipers lost to the Raptors in the Finals, and Morris’ run was for naught.

2017-2018: A brief detour in China

Darius once again sat out the first half of the 2017-2018 season. Maybe he expected an NBA deal after his standout play for the Vipers the previous season, or maybe he was in negotiations that fell through, but Morris didn’t sign with a team until January, when he joined the Guangdong Southern Tigers in the Chinese Basketball Association. He was only in China for just under two months, however, when he was replaced as the lone American player by fellow point guard Donald Sloan. He played in 13 games for the Tigers, and put up solid stats, but didn’t dominate the CBA like so many other NBA transplants have. Morris also shot under 30% from three, a consistent problem for him throughout his career, and had to return to the Vipers once more. Funnily enough, he played the final three games of the regular season for the Vipers yet again, and then in two playoff games before they were eliminated. This was the fourth season that Morris had played (at least partially) for the Vipers.

2018-2019:

For the first time in years, Morris made a training camp roster, this time with the Pelicans. He was with the Pels for over a month, but was waived in mid-October before the regular season started. Darius therefore returned to the G-League, this time with the Santa Cruz Warriors, presumably needing a change from the Vipers. Unfortunately, he had his worst season in the G-League thus far, with a slightly higher turnover rate and lower assist rate. But what really cost Darius, as always, was his outside shooting. He launched 5.2 threes per game, and hit them at a positively Westbrookian 29.5% rate. That’s bad. Darius was the lead guard on a very good Warriors team which went 34-16 and made the Conference Finals, so clearly he was doing something right, but it wasn’t a great season for him to re-establish himself as an NBA player.

The future:

As far as I know, Morris has not been picked up by an NBA team yet. That doesn’t mean he won’t make a training camp roster – he very well might. However, the days of him getting real chances to make an NBA roster seem to be behind him, which is too bad. If he could just improve his outside shot, he might have another shot in the NBA, but that seems unlikely at this point in his career. Still, he’s just 28, and is entrenched as a G-League level starting point guard, so he should have a nice professional career for another half decade yet. Hopefully he can make it back to the NBA, or at least find a nice basketball home for himself.