July 17, 2010

Out Of Ammo

While we were looking elsewhere, the deathbed-ridden front office let Anthony Morrow slip away to the New Jersey Nets, declining to match a three-year $12 million offer that seemed more than reasonable. This was not a crippling error, but it was an error, and it robs the franchise of one of its most likeable and statistically fascinating players.

The two recently departed Anthonys were a delightful study in contrasts. Randolph was all athlete; Morrow is all gym rat. He's not fast, long, strong or explosive, but he worked his way into an NBA career all the same. The speed and precision of his jumper, the running floater that he converts an improbably high percentage of the time... these are testaments to a shit-ton of good old-fashioned hard work. The kid wasn't supposed to get here, and he seems excited and grateful during every second of every game, whether or not he's on the court. No Warrior has ever been easier to root for than Anthony Morrow.

And no NBA player has ever shot like this. If he can keep his accuracy where it's been, sometime in November, Anthony Morrow will officially become the best three-point shooter in NBA history. His career percentage stands at .460... that's the equivalent of a guy shooting friggin' .690 from two-point land. A guy like that will help you win games even if he can't do anything else, and Morrow rebounds his position well and almost never turns it over. His net plus-minus totals in his two Golden State seasons were +3.1 and +4.1, and adjusted plus-minus suggests that warn't no fluke. He's a limited player, but a good one, and he and Courtney Lee will make a dynamite offense/defense combo at the two in New Jersey. Don't be surprised if Morrow sees the postseason before the Warriors do.

The mantle of "hardworking undrafted swingman" now falls to Reggie Williams, who seems poised to carry it well. The upcoming Warriors season should be a better one, but the absence of Anthony Morrow will hurt, both on the stat sheet and in the heart. Fare thee well, marksman.

1 comment:

Philip said...

I've always hated the "limited" or "flawed" player comment. Morrow is the classic case of perception vs. reality, he doesn't have a good handle, he looks slow on defense, etc. But the Warriors always played better when he was in, and for reasons that should be obvious. Making threes at an amazing rate and rebounding better than your average two guard are two pretty important skills to have.
I think Morrow will be missed more than a lot of people think.
And I just saw that CJ was signing with the Bulls, and we're probably not going to match (thought we're working on a sign and trade). He's another player who fails the eye test, yet the Warriors have played better with him in.