Jaylen Morris signed a 10-day contract with the Hawks Wednesday morning. A few hours later he was active for their game against the Pacers. Within eight minutes of game time Morris was making his NBA debut, and by the end of the first quarter he’d scored his first basket.
“That was a dream come true to come here, be here for a day and play on the biggest level,” Morris said after the 107-102 Hawks victory. “I couldn’t be happier.”
Morris played 12 minutes against the Pacers and scored two points on 1-for-6 shooting with two rebounds and two turnovers. He was on the court to begin the fourth quarter but coach Mike Budenholzer replaced him once the Pacers whittled their 23-point deficit down to 14.
Morris had been playing for the Hawks’ G-League affiliate in Erie, Pa.
“I liked him,” Budenholzer said. “Even in the (12) minutes you see a little bit of athleticism. There’s a confidence. He shot it well this morning in our little shootaround. I think he’s definitely someone who has impressed us in the G League. The decision-making maybe didn’t look great tonight but the fact that he’s trying to make the reads, he sees the pass, he sees the decision, I think there was a lot of positives.”
Morris made his NBA debut without the benefit of a full practice with the Hawks. Morris said he was “felt comfortable, for the most part.” It helps that the Hawks and Erie run similar schemes.
“The nerves were pregame,” Morris said. “I was a little shaken. But once I get out there I just remembered it’s basketball. Keep doing what I’ve been doing. Came out aggressive.”