KEY POINTS

  • Morris is ready to contribute what he can for the Lakers
  • Lakers were not the first choice of Morris
  • Morris adds more toughness to the Lakers on both ends

The Los Angeles Lakers finally signed Markieff Morris, a player who undoubtedly raises their chances of winning an NBA title. In fact, the 30-year-old forward seems pretty much hyped about it, claiming he could be the X-Factor for the purple and gold's title aspirations.

There is no doubt that the Lakers got tougher and better with the arrival of Morris. He can post up, shoot and also play defense, making him a flexible addition for head coach Frank Vogel. This season, the 13th overall pick of the 2011 NBA Draft has played 45 games, averaging 10.9 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists, per Basketball-Reference.com. His coming should ease the load off LeBron James and allow Kyle Kuzma to focus on his actual forward role.

The Lakers had pursued Morris's last NBA season but failed to sign him. Instead, the 6-foot-9 forward ended up playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder. According to him, Morris said that the Thunder seemed to be the right fit for him. But now, it seems things are different, the Silver Screen and Roll reported.

Curiously, there was a chance he could have spurned the Lakers anew. He revealed in the same report how things just fell apart with another (unnamed) team at the last minute. After looking at his options, joining the Lakers made the most sense. Further, it also gives him a chance to win an NBA title if the Lakers do good moving forward.

For his part, Morris seems to be all hyped and plans to be the Lakers' "X-Factor," ready to do whatever the team needs from him. With the firepower that Los Angeles has right now, the immediate need is a role-playing and defensive-focused player. This should be easy for Morris, knowing he is someone who can make life tough for players of opposing teams.

“Me, personally, I’m just trying to be the X-Factor that we need. Whatever’s needed out of me, I want to come in and provide. That’s just where it’s at. However, they use me is how they use me,” Morris said.

Morris may not be the actual player the Lakers need but he does give them a healthy body upfront. The Lakers were looking for a playmaker but ended up going for the best talent immediately available. Morris suits up for the Lakers against the New Orleans Hornets where his first assignment will likely be to contain either Brandon Ingram or Zion Williamson.

Markieff Morris With Markieff Morris off the table, the Lakers are likely to end up signing Carmelo Anthony soon. Markieff Morris #5 of the Washington Wizards and Mitchell Robinson #26 of the New York Knicks exchange words during the first half of a preseason NBA game at Capital One Arena on October 01, 2018 in Washington, DC. Photo: Getty Images/Patrick Smith