Warriors’ Morrow shot his way into the league
Posted Jul 10 2009 10:26PM
LAS VEGAS -- A missed bus and the NBA might have celebrated a different 3-point champ last season. That’s at least how Anthony Morrow felt, recounting a misstep a year ago that might have cost the sharpshooter a spot with the Warriors.
“I remember being scared to death,” Morrow said Friday before the opening game of the NBA Summer League. “I was going to miss the bus and I thought for sure they were going to cut me on the spot, and I’d end up overseas the next week or something.”
Morrow caught his ride and did more than just catch on with Golden State. The undrafted rookie out of Georgia Tech shot his way into the NBA with a scorching showing last summer. Morrow averaged 18.1 points, shooting 55 percent, during his stint in the NBA Summer League and the Rocky Mountain Revue.
In a precursor to his rookie season, the 6-foot-5 combo guard was nearly automatic from 3-point territory in Las Vegas and Salt Lake City. Morrow nailed an unreal 17-of-23 (74 percent) from beyond the arc last summer.
And if there’s a coach out there that appreciates shooters, especially those without a conscious, it’s Don Nelson.
“I didn’t know who he was,” Nelson admitted from his perch in the stands at the COX Pavilion. “I never heard of him. I saw him here for the first time. I watched him and wanted to invite him to camp.”
If others were surprised by Morrow’s marksmanship last summer, he wasn’t. That confidence and efficiency spilled into the regular season. Morrow became the first rookie and first Warrior in league history to lead the NBA in 3-point percentage, finishing at 46.7 percent.
“I knew that’s what I was capable of,” Morrow said. “I work hard on my game. I knew it wasn’t luck or anything like that. I’m not saying I didn’t have any off games -- everybody has those -- but my work ethic and the way I’ve been shooting the ball all my life, I knew I’d be OK.
“Playing with guys like Stephen Jackson, Monta Ellis, Corey Maggette and all those guys that draw so much attention, they kick it out to me and we got things done.”
Morrow tried not to focus on the 3-point title, but admitted it became a topic of conversation within the locker room.
“Towards the end of the year the coaches and the guys on the team told me I had a chance to get it, so do what you can do to get it,” he said. “I was just glad I was able to do that not only for myself, but for the Warriors organization.
Morrow ended up playing in 67 games as a rookie, averaging 10.1 points and 3.0 rebounds in 22.6 minutes. His numbers as a starter while Ellis was out -- 16.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and 34.9 points in 17 games -- are hard to ignore.
He’s hardly a finished product. Nelson said Morrow needs to work on his playmaking ability and putting the ball on the floor. He’s off to a slow start, having turned his right ankle in practice Friday and missing Friday’s 73-69 loss to Houston. Morrow hopes to play Saturday or Sunday at the latest.
But he also knows there’s a spot on the team waiting, unlike his road a summer ago.
“I knew the odds were going to be against me,” Morrow said. “Obviously, I knew I wasn’t in a position to come out here and feel I was going to make the team. I knew I had to work hard.
“The coaches told me they liked my game. They believed in me. That gave me a lot of confidence from Day 1. As long as I’m playing hard, keep my faith and my confidence, I knew I didn’t have anything to worry about. I just wanted to see how far I could take it.”
After he made the bus, the ride began.
If you have a question or comment for Art Garcia, send him an email.