Before Anthony Davis went down with the injury that has kept him sidelined for the last two months, Frank Vogel had a conversation with Markieff Morris, in which he told him that he would no longer be part of the rotation. Morris wasn’t happy with Vogel’s decision, and he made that known, but he vowed to stay ready for when his number was called. Little did he know that he wouldn’t have to wait long.
Just two days after Morris’ last DNP-CD for the Los Angeles Lakers, Davis was shut down with a calf strain. Since then, Morris has started 22 of the 27 games the Lakers have played without Davis, and he’s taken advantage of the opportunity.
In the 22 games Morris has started in Davis’ absence. Morris has averaged 11 points per game on 48% shooting overall while shooting 38.6% from behind the arc to go with 6.2 rebounds per game. Prior to Davis’ injury, Morris was averaging career-lows in points per game, rebounds per game, field goal percentage and, of course, minutes per game.
Clearly being in the starting lineup has changed things for the better for Morris, but he doesn’t think that starting has been the key difference for him during this stretch. For him, it’s been the consistency of his role.
“I wouldn’t even say just like a starter role,” Morris said. “Just like a consistent role, just knowing how it’s going to go every game, picking my spots. It’s the same thing. I’ve been a starter for nine years, I started last year in Detroit, so it’s normal. Once you get your feet under you, the consistency, that’s what the league is about.”
It’s a good thing Morris feels that way, because after the Lakers’ lost to the New York Knicks on Monday, Vogel confirmed to obvious: Morris will move back to the bench when Davis returns.
“I anticipate he’ll go back to the backup power forward role,” Vogel said when asked what Morris’ role would be when Davis gets back.
Finding minutes in Vogel’s rotation won’t be any easier than it was before now that Andre Drummond is in the fold, but with how well Morris is playing, he should be able to get the consistency he’s looking for with the Lakers. And if not, at least now they know he can step in and produce when he’s called upon.