Stats: 40 G, 31 GS, 12.5 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 1.2 apg, 0.1 bpg, 46.3 FG%, 90.5 FT%, 11.99 PER
Preseason Expectations: “Anthony Morrow will likely be the starting shooting guard for the Nets this year, and while I know some folks will cry Terrence Williams, I actually think it’s a good thing. Morrow’s premier three-point shooting will provide needed spacing around slasher-creator Devin Harris and offensive post wizard Brook Lopez. If guards are forced to stay with Morrow as he traipses the perimeter, it opens up lanes for Harris to dive into as well as lessens the potential of a double-team down low on Lopez. While he’s fairly limited offensively outside of his jumper, that’s really what the Nets need from the shooting guard position: someone who can shoot the lights out. This spacing will prove to have value beyond his own numbers as a result. After witnessing last year’s team brick three-pointer after three-pointer, it’s hard not to be excited about someone with such a sweet stroke.”
The Good: I think it’s safe to say that Anthony Morrow has been one of the Nets best players and biggest surprises this season. I knew he was a good three-point shooter, but I’ve been impressed at how consistent he’s been shooting the ball. Morrow got off to a strong start in November, averaging 13.3 points per game and shooting a scorching 47.7 percent from the field. He played just seven games in January, but shot a ridiculous 54.2 percent from three-point range in those games and personally had his best game of the season in that stretch. In just his third game back from injury, and still coming off the bench, he hit a ton of big shots down the stretch and basically saved the Nets from losing at home to Cleveland on January 24th. To sum it up there has been a lot of good surrounding Anthony Morrow this season.
The Bad: Certainly you have to begin with the injuries that forced him to miss 17 games before the All-Star Break. Morrow injured his hamstring in mid-December, right when he was playing his best basketball of the season. In the Nets first six games in December, he was averaging 16.7 points per game, despite the team losing every one. After playing just a minute against the Sixers on December 14th, Morrow didn’t play again until the Nets went to Detroit on January 21st. The other issue with Morrow’s play this season has been some inconsistency, which has plagued every Net at some point. Just look at his game log and you’ll see a few too many 35-minute, 5-point performances (2/11 at Charlotte). But it’s hard to argue with how well he’s been shooting the ball this season, so finding the bad with Morrow was not the easiest thing.
The Extra: There may not be much to look forward to for the rest of the Nets 2010-11 season (assuming they don’t get Carmelo) but keeping an eye on Anthony Morrow’s career three-point percentage is worth watching. Morrow is currently shooting 45.5 percent from beyond the three-point line in his career, which is the highest percentage in NBA history. Now I realize that’s in less than three full seasons, but we at NAS will be keeping tabs on how Morrow is doing compared to the retired all-time leader, Steve Kerr, for the rest of the season.
Final Grade: It’s hard to give any player on this team an A because let’s face it, 17-40 is still pretty bad. But Anthony Morrow has been a solid contributor for the Nets this season and there is nothing to complain about with his shooting percentage. Through the team’s first 57 games, he’s arguably been the team’s best player, adjusting for preseason expectations, and I hope to see Morrow splashing three’s for the Nets for many years to come. Grade: B+.