Markieff Morris was the last member of the Lakers to arrive in the NBA bubble at Disney World, and head coach Frank Vogel has made it clear so far that the team plans to take it slow with him and “give him a couple days to get his legs under him.”
Vogel held Morris out of the team’s first scrimmage against the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday, and told the media in his pregame Zoom call on Saturday morning that he would do the same for that day’s exhibition against the Orlando Magic.
“He’s ready to go. He wants to play. But it’s going to take some time. We’re just being intelligent,” Vogel said. “He was willing to get in there for a few minutes, get his feet wet, (but) we just felt like we were gonna wait one more game.”
Queried by one reporter about how Morris’ twin, Marcus Morris Sr., had played nearly 20 minutes in the Clippers’ first scrimmage despite arriving in the bubble only days before his brother, Vogel said he didn’t really see the connection.
“Each team makes their own decisions with their own players. Each player has a different set of circumstances. Even between Markieff and his brother, there is a different set of circumstances involved there,” Vogel said. “It’s a case-by-case thing.”
When Markieff Morris does return, Vogel expects him to provide the Lakers with not just a lengthy and versatile defender who can space the floor, but also an infusion of toughness and physicality that augments an existing strength of the team. But with that said, he doesn’t think his Morris twin — or any of his players — are going to be at full strength until closer to the playoffs.
“Midseason mode takes a long time to get to,” Vogel said. “We’re going to try to bring them along at a pace where we’re still using these seeding games to get to where we want to be. Not trying to force it so that everyone is ready in midseason mode by the beginning of these seeding games. I think those are still part of the build up.”
But Lakers fans excited to get their first look at the start of that process for Markieff Morris won’t have to wait very long.
“We expect to see him in the Washington game,” Vogel said.
The Lakers take on the Wizards in their final preseason scrimmage on Monday, July 27 at 12:00 p.m. PT. They will then have a few days off before facing the LA Clippers in the first of their eight seeding round games on Thursday, July 30 at 6:00 p.m. PT.