Darius Morris Does His Best Andre Miller
By caseyholdahl Posted in: AndreMiller
After just two years in Portland, Andre Miller has become one of the most beloved Trail Blazers in recent memory. His unassuming, team-first approach to the game, status as the NBA's preeminent ironman and willingness to mix it up when the situation calls for it has endeared Miller to a fanbase that places a premium on players who adhere to working class values. Show up for work everyday, put the needs of the employer ahead of personal goals, lead by example and stay until the work is done. That's Andre Miller.
But Andre won't be around forever. Twelve seasons and 915 games, the majority of those consecutive, take a toll on a player's body. While Miller hasn't shown any substantive signs of letting up, there's going to be a time when someone else will have to assume the mantle at point guard. That could be Michigan's Darius Morris, a player many already compare to Miller.
"Darius has got great size for a point guard," said acting GM Chad Buchanan. "Really good with the ball. Good vision. A lot of people have compared him to Andre (Miller). He's an LA kid just like Andre. He's a natural playmaker. He's got to become more consistent shooting the ball with some range, and he knows that. That's kind of the one chink in his armor. But he's got great vision, sees a lot of things happen before they develop."
It's easy to see why Morris, who entered the draft after two years playing for John Beilein, is often mentioned in the same breath as Miller. Both are Los Angeles-raised, past-first point guards, a breed of player that, with the rules changes that have all but eliminated hand-checking above the free throw line, has become more and more uncommon in the NBA.
"As far as in the NBA, a lot of people can score," said Morris after his workout in Portland on June 17. "I'm a playmaker and I can make others around me better. A job as a point guard, just getting other players involved and finding what suits them best to better the team. I think I can add that dimension to a team being a true point guard."
A "true point guard" from L.A. with good size who is not a particularly effective shooter from long range (at least not yet) or a freakish athlete? That sounds a whole lot like Dre Miller. It's a comparison Morris appreciates, especially as he tries to differentiate himself in a draft with considerable point guard options.
"I'm really honored," said Morris of the comparisons to Miller. "For a player who has had such great success in the league and has been a steady, dominate point guard in his own right. I'm pleased to hear that people would think that I would have a chance to be like he is on this level because he's an incredible player, been a starting point guard for years. I feel like they see that we're both tall, both can use our bodies, both can pass the ball and can also use our body to get in there and score as well."
Buchanan, though he sees the similarities between Miller and Morris, isn't ready to go all-in on the comparison. After all, Miller is 14th on the NBA's all-time assist list and hasn't missed a game (that he was allowed to play) in over eight years. That's a lot of praise to heap on a sophomore who has yet to play a single game in the NBA. But the potential is there.
"Andre was a more probably proven player coming out through Utah," said Buchanan. "Darius is a little younger than Andre was coming into the league. But Darius is a little bigger, Andre is probably more of a postup guard. I think Darius could evolve into a very good point guard at our level, though."