Offense: As one of the best three-point shooters in NBA history (he will probably go back and forth with Steve Kerr for the remainder of his career), there’s not much you should expect Anthony Morrow to do on the court except shoot. And while his three-point field goal percentage was down compared to year’s past, Morrow’s 42 percent from downtown was exactly as advertised. Meanwhile, Morrow slowly but surely is improving his mid-range game. He shot a respectable 46 percent from 16-23 feet last season, up from 43 percent the year before. From 10-15 feet, he shot 51 percent, up from 48 percent the year before. And with a ball distributor like Deron Williams around for a full season (hopefully), Morrow is due to get more open looks from the perimeter. He just needs to stand out there and wait for the ball to come to him. As he proved on opening night, if he just keeps shooting, he will eventually hit a big one.
Of course, all he can do is shoot. That’s the price you pay with Morrow. He doesn’t create his own shot. He connected on a putrid 48 percent on all field goal attempts at the rim. However, all those catch-and-shoots contribute to Morrow holding the lowest turnover ratio for SG’s in the league last season.
Defense: Last season I debunked a column that claimed Morrow was evolving into a better defender. Beyond shot creation, Morrow’s defense remains his top liability as a player. In a league with explosive wing players like LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, Morrow can’t compete on the defensive end, which I’m sure is why the Nets recruited DeShawn Stevenson. Yet, talking strictly statistics, which are always a little misleading when it comes to defense, Morrow wasn’t terrible. Last season, opposing SGs put up a Player Efficiency Rating (PER) of 13.9 and SF’s a PER of 14.6 when Morrow was on the floor – both below the league average of 15.0. But when you watch Morrow on the floor, I see a guy who lacks good lateral movement and defensive intensity. It’s not where his heart is at in the game.
2011-12 Outlook: With Brook Lopez gone for two months and the Nets lacking a presence in the middle, Morrow needs to elevate his offensive game beyond spot-up shooting to be the second or third option for this team. I don’t know if he’s capable, which is why I suspect he’s going to battle the likes of DeShawn Stevenson and Shawne Williams for crunch-time minutes as the season moves along, though with the number of clutch shots he hit last year, Avery Johnson needs to be careful of his substitutions.
Relevant Jay-Z Lyric:
They say that I’m in the way, they want me to sit with them
But what they admitting is, they ain’t got s— for him
But really the fact is, we not in the same bracket
Not in the same league, don’t shoot at the same baskets