Pacers' Draft Possibilities: Darius Morris

CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 20: Darius Morris #4 of the Michigan Wolverines misses a last-second tying shot over Ryan Kelly #34 of the Duke Blue Devils as the Wolverines lose 73-71 during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Time Warner Cable Arena on March 20, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

With the Draft Lottery complete, the Early Entry List set, and the NBA Draft fast approaching, it's time to examine more in depth some of the players who could be available for the Pacers. Over the next few weeks I'll be trying to put together as many profiles as possible. Instead of identifying players as specific targets for either Pacers' pick, I'm just going to cover a pool of players I think are possibilities. You'll find some players who the Pacers would likely have to trade up or down for. I've also expressed my opinion that the Pacers need to be focused on talent as much as fit so players at all five positions will be included.

These profiles are not intended to advocate for one player over another, just examine their strengths and weaknesses, and discuss in some detail what they have to offer. For each profile I provided Ten Important Statistics to guide the discussion. Today we'll be looking at:

Darius Morris - 6'5.25" 190 lbs. - University of Michigan

Ten Important Stats - Darius Morris

Pts/40

Reb/40

Ast/40

Stl/40

2PT%

3PT%

FT%

FT/40

TO/40

USG%

18.5

4.9

8.2

1.3

53.3%

25.0%

71.5%

5.3

3.6

23.3

 

Current DraftExpress Projection: Round 2, Pick #3

Strengths:

  • Excellent size for a point guard, very strong and uses that to his advantage
  • Adept at getting into the lane, solid finisher at the basket and gets to the free throw line
  • Has shown the ability to be a solid distributor, creating scoring opportunities for his teammates
  • Has all the tools to be a very effective defender, should be able to defend both backcourt positions at the next level

Weaknesses:

  • Is still learning the point guard position, decision making needs development as he has a tendency to force shots or tough passes
  • His perimeter shot needs a lot of work, doesn't have three-point range at this point in his career

Impressions:

The area where Morris has really stood out and made strides this season has been as a distributor. Aided by the fact that he's asked to handle the ball and create shots for himself and his teammates dozens of times per game, he's shown to have a solid feel for making drive and dish plays, even if there's still plenty of room for improvement. He's clearly embraced his role as the Wolverine's primary ball-handler and playmaker, nearly doubling his assist rate from last season.

Defensively, Morris has the potential to be a solid defender at the NBA level. He has ideal size and length for a point guard, he moves well laterally, and he plays with good energy. He'll need to improve on defending the ball-handler on pick-and-rolls and work harder at fighting through screens, but he can get better with that in time.

While Morris may not be able to operate offensively in the NBA in quite the same manner as he does at Michigan currently, his size and knack for getting into the lane and making plays is definitely intriguing. As he continues to add polish and improve as a perimeter shooter and decision maker, he'll likely be a player we talk much more about in the future.

- Walker Beeken, DraftExpress.com

Comparables:

How he can help the Pacers:

The Pacers’ need to upgrade the offense this summer, and adding Morris could go a long way towards accomplishing that. He has the ability to be the penetrator/shot-creator that was missing on the second-unit last year. Lance Stephenson may end up filling that role, but the way his rookie campaign went, he certainly can’t be counted on. Morris’ size would allow him to play alongside A.J. Price, assuming he’s brought back. This would make Morris the primary ball-handler and allow Price to focus on finding opening for jumpshots. He his abilities to score and distribute would give a lot more versatility to the Pacers’ offense when Darren Collison comes off the floor. Morris also has the size and strength to maintain the aggressive defensive identity of that second-unit.

Video:

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