Anthony Morrow: Surprising?
Like everybody else in the Warriors world, I have been swept up in the hype that is surrounding Anthony Morrow. We have seen two truly historical performances in a row and there are two questions that we all want answered –
1) How much staying power does he have?
2) How surprising are these two games?
I will do my best to answer both without making too many outlandish predictions.
As over 3 million bloggers and professional journalist have pointed out, the NBA is not nearly as fundamentally sound as it use to be. One of the results of this trend is that there are very few players that can consistently knock down an open shot let alone one that is contested. To keep it simple, Morrow can shoot and from almost anywhere on the floor. Will he continue to shoot as well as has over the past two games – of course not. However, his quick release and soft shot suggest that he belongs on the floor for at least 25 minutes a night for the foreseeable future.
Now for the bad news
One of the other results of the “Lack of Fundamentals” era in the NBA is that there has never been this many gifted athletes in the league. Today’s NBA player is quicker and faster than ever before which makes defending guards on the perimeter as hard as it has ever been. Anthony Morrow is not an elite athlete and we should start to see him get exposed by teams (Nellie would give anything to exploit him) on the defensive end. There is always a reason a player 6’5” who can shoot does not get drafted and for Anthony Morrow it is because he does not possess the out-of-this-world athletic ability that you will find in most established NBA players under 7’ tall.
A little a short of very
First of all Anthony Morrow was not exactly a stiff before he joined the Warriors. He earned Mr. Basketball honors in the basketball crazy state of North Carolina in his senior year which should not be under emphasized. Furthermore, he suffered a stress fracture in his lower back (believe me – I know what that feels like) which caused him to miss all the weight room preparation and most of fall practice before his junior season at Georgia Tech. Obviously, this injury adversely affected his abilities his junior year but he came back strong in his senior season which included 14.3 ppg and a ridiculous 44.8 3p%. There was no doubt that he could shoot when he entered the draft last year which should not make his shooting percentages (64.7 3p% and 62.7 fg%) that surprising.
However, what is surprising is his lack of big scoring efforts in college. The most points he ever scored against a team you have heard of after his back injury was against Wake Forest last year where he scored 23 points. I don’t think anyone could have predicted he would score 37 points against the Clippers and then 25 points against a very athletic Blazers team. I realize he was shooting the lights out but he was never that hot in college. Additionally, he is playing on a team without a point guard so it is not like he is getting set up to score. His past scoring outputs and lack of a teammate that can distribute the ball does make his last two games pretty surprising.
Unfortunately for Morrow, there are a lot of reasons to believe he will have a rough shooting night in at least one of the next few games. I think the entire Warriors world will be very interested in how he (and almost more importantly Nellie) reacts to some adversity.