2013-14 Season In Review: Anthony Morrow
Pelicans.com continues its look back at the 2013-14 season with player-by-player analysis of the team:
NBA experience: Seven seasons (one with Pelicans)
Games played/started: 76/9
During the 2013 offseason, New Orleans made headlines by trading for an All-Star point guard in Jrue Holiday and signing another talented young player, Tyreke Evans, who had captured the Rookie of the Year award in 2010. The mid-July signing of Morrow to a free-agent contract barely caused a ripple across the league, but as the 2013-14 season progressed, the veteran sharpshooter proved to be a valuable and underrated addition.
Morrow finished the regular season fourth among all NBA players in three-point percentage (45.1), his forte since breaking into the league with Golden State in 2008. He increased his career percentage to 42.8, which ranks third among active players (he trails only Stephen Curry and Steve Novak).
Morrow’s month-by-month statistics tell the story of a player who gradually took on a larger role, partly necessitated by injuries to teammates. Prior to the All-Star break, the 6-foot-5, 210-pound shooting guard averaged just 15.6 minutes per game, but in March that average was up to 21.5 and he made four starts. Over the team’s eight April contests, he averaged 30.6 minutes and scored 15.1 points per game.
“Guys went down and we had a lot of injuries this year. That’s unfortunate,” Morrow said. “When opportunity comes, you have to be ready for it. Monty (Williams) put me in some positions this year to be able to start and run some plays for me and get me going. My teammates did an unbelievable job of finding me. The little span where I was starting with Tyreke (Evans) really helped us learn how to play off of each other. I thank God for the opportunity, and it worked out.”
“He’s a competitor,” Williams said. “He’s just had a really good year for us.”
In addition to Evans’ second-half surge and Anthony Davis’ emergence as a bona fide star, Morrow played a critical role in the Pelicans going 9-7 during March, the team’s only winning month (New Orleans went exactly 7-7 in both November and December). Despite the Pelicans sometimes being without five or six of their top scorers in games, Morrow’s offensive production helped spark several upset victories. During a 4-0 Pelicans homestand that featured wins over Miami, Brooklyn, the Clippers and Utah, he averaged 17.0 points and went 10-for-19 (52.6 percent) from three-point range.
“That’s been our thing all year. We fight through it,” Morrow said late in the regular season. “Guys work hard and come to play. We’re just thankful for the opportunity. When you have that mentality, you put yourself in position to win a lot of games.”
TOP THREE ANTHONY MORROW GAMES OF 2013-14
#3: April 4, 2014 – New Orleans at Utah
Morrow turned in one of his best all-around shooting performances of the season, going 9-for-11 from the field, 3-for-3 from three-point range and 5-for-6 from the foul line. His 26-point night was capped by a dozen points in the fourth quarter, nearly bringing the Pelicans all the way back from a deficit in a 100-96 loss.
#2: Jan. 24, 2014 – New Orleans at Detroit
In a fourth-quarter span of just 3 minutes, 28 seconds, Morrow sank three straight three-pointers, spearheading New Orleans to a comeback road win. Overall, the guard netted 13 points in the decisive final period, highlighting the Pelicans’ 103-101 victory. He totaled 21 points in only 25 minutes.
#1: March 26, 2014 – L.A. Clippers at New Orleans
Morrow staked the Pelicans to a 55-52 lead by pouring in 20 points, then tacked on seven more after intermission for a season-high 27 points. New Orleans held on for a 98-96 win, when Clippers guard Jamal Crawford’s deep three-point attempt at the buzzer misfired. It was the Pelicans’ fourth straight victory, all against playoff-bound opponents.