July 17, 2009
Should you expect him to be dropping 47 points in a regular season NBA game any time soon? No.
Morrow did drop 47 in a summer league game last night, and I have to tell you, that's significant. It's worth our attention. The kid is no joke. He can play, and while you would think he's right at home on Don Nelson's Golden State Warriors, understand that nobody (save for, strangely, Stephen Jackson(notes)) is really "right at home" on Nellie's roster.
Also understand that, while I appreciate the attention others are paying to the summer leagues, and the way the NBA puts this together, there is absolutely no value in what we're seeing right now. There is no history of any of this summer play translating into anything significant come fall and winter.
Too many oddball defenders, too many strange contexts to consider, too many motivational factors that make spring training baseball look downright prescient by comparison. Don't read anything into it.
But know that, whether Morrow drops 47 or averages 4.7 points in the summer league, this kid can play. And he's stuck on a joke of a team and a joke of a franchise, and it's really not fair.
The chortles, and people are right to chortle, started soon after news hit of Morrow's 47. That's fair. I just spent 30 seconds of your time telling you why you should chortle at the summer leagues. And the name I kept hearing was "Marco Belinelli," who played exceedingly well in Golden State's 2007 summer league outfit.
Here's the problem with that. Marco's international stats translated horribly to the NBA. He was not, nor should have ever been, on any team's radar. The Warriors, smitten with the idea of an international big guard named "Marco," went ahead anyway. And a month after drafting the guy, seemed pretty happy when he went off in the NBA-sponsored offseason tournaments.
But Marco went right back to being Marco once the NBA season started. And it's not a case of the guy not getting the minutes he deserved. I'm sure Belinelli is a lovely chap, but he's not NBA material.
Morrow is. Morrow proved that in 2008-09, not in the summer leagues, and Thursday's 47 should be a reminder of such.
The Warriors, who I must remind you are "a joke of an organization," probably don't want to know. Not while Nelson is running things, especially. He gets bored, and he plays to the ignorance of fair weather fans.
The ignorance, and this isn't their fault (they'd rather pay attention to the 49ers) that tells you that Morrow's hot 2008-09 start was a bit of a fluke, and it's OK to slowly decrease his minutes until you get to 7.6 minutes per game in February.
(Well, Kelly, he shot 36 percent in February. Which came first, the low minutes, or the bad shooting? Nellie's been at this since the 1960s, and he's reacting to Morrow's cold touch.)
No, he's being Nellie. You try coming off the bench for seven minutes toward the end of a 20-point loss and firing up a 24-footer two and a half hours after warming up. It's bound to go in, no matter how good a shooter you are, about 36 percent of the time.
Of course, Morrow averaged nearly 41 minutes per game in April, but that's how this joke of an organization works. Poorly.
The point I'm getting at is that, overall, Morrow is a stud. The guy shot 47 percent on three-pointers last year. Couple that with a 6-6 frame, and you have a player that should be starting, or at least playing more than 22 minutes a night (his average). Or, and I know I haven't been doing this since the 1960s, playing consistent minutes, as opposed to 41 minutes in April, and 7.6 minutes in February.
The problem here is that, as unorthodox as Nellie is, the man completely falls in line with NBA orthodoxy when it comes to sitting or starting guys he likes. He'll twist things to his advantage, every time, just as long as it leaves him looking like a plucky upstart who was thisclose to taking down the well-heeled favorite.
Morrow's an unheralded shooter? Then you can move him around a bit. He's always replaceable. He'll always be on the bench, ready to shoot.
Anthony Randolph(notes) doesn't have much of a jump shot? He hasn't put on weight? Well, then there's no way he can score, consistently. Even though he's scoring, you know, pretty damn consistently. Even though he's giving you eight and six with a block and a steal in only 18 minutes AT AGE 19, without you running any plays for him.
So just remember this, in January. Morrow's no fluke. Randolph is still a stud. They can both play, even if they aren't, and while Stephen Jackson is still averaging 41 minutes a night.
UPDATE -- So many mugs have missed the point, that I have to come back for an add on.
I never called Warrior fans "fair weather," in any way. I pointed out that Nellie takes advantage of the sort of Warriors fans that are fair weather fans, a group of sometime-observers that every team boasts. But I never concluded that the fan base of the Warriors was in any way dominated or even sparsely populated by "fair weather fans."
In fact, those who have read me for years would recall me pointing out how unfortunate that a passionate and intelligent fan base like Golden State's gets wasted on one of the worst organizations in sports.
Of course, that would involve reading, so I might be asking too much of people. Carry on.