Morrow in 3-point Shootout?

How’s this for a novel idea: the league needs to put Morrow in the 3-point contest for All-Star Weekend. He certainly can shoot. He’s also got the great story they can milk.
Morrow’s down.
“I know I’ll win,” he said with a smile.
The league hand picks who they want in the shootout, so Morrow’s at the mercy of Stu Jackson (I think he’s the one over that area).
He’s been left out before. He said he wanted to be in the college 3-point shootout, but wasn’t invited despite shooting 45 percent from 3-point range his senior season.
As you can imagine, Morrow is a huge fan of shootouts. He said he always watches the NBA one and his favorite Shootout moment was Larry Bird winning with the warm-up jacket on (I so thought he would say Craig Hodges’ 19 straight).
Morrow’s shot is almost perfect for the Shootout. He has the quick release, so he should get the shots up in plenty time. He’s also got textbook form, which makes it much easier for him to get on a roll. With the way Nellie is playing him, his stamina should be up, so fatigue won’t be as much of a factor come February.
There is one obstacle Morrow would forsee.
“The only thing for me,” he said, “is getting the ball off that rack. I’d have to get used to that.”

One more thing …
At practice on Wednesday, president Robert Rowell, executive vice president Chris Mullin and new assistant general manager Larry Riley were all there. Mullin and Rowell sat outside on the balcony for a while before walking across the court together. Mullin didn’t fulfill interview requests (we were told he had meetings lined up), but he plans on talking to us Friday at shootaround.
As a view into my world of self-amusement, I couldn’t help but snicker to myself at the sight of them two walking across the court in lock step. It looked like one of those photo ops you see in a presidential campaign. It just looked like it was some kind of planned appearance, like they hired David Axelrod and he suggested they pal around in front of the media.
I’m not saying it was a PR performance. I don’t know and really don’t care. No doubt they could have been seriously talking or whatever. They may even do it all the time while we’re not around.
Just the musings of a West Wing junkie I thought might interest you.


What I Saw …

* Sign No. 834 that the Warriors miss BD: they can barely inbound the ball. Is it me, or should that be down pat at this point? Who do you trust to take the ball out? I woulda said Jax if not for his bad inbounds pass on opening night (which coulda been Maggs fault if he went to the wrong spot). I would say CJ, bit not after that Detroit blunder. That leaves, I guess, Marcus Williams? At least he won’t be making mistakes because of fatigue.

* Speaking of Maggs, his J is looking nice. He’s guaranteed 20 a night if that is falling, with the way he attacks the basket. He just needs to hit a couple here and there to set up his drive and not be like Jax and rely on it.

* Know what separates Morrow from Marco? OK, besides a purer shot, athleticism and rebounding. I submit it’s Moreow’s drive. Dude is hungry. He plays with an intensity and urgency that makes things happen for him. Marco seems to be waiting for things to happen. I normally don’t buy into intensity being exclusively a chest pound or a scream. But Morrow’s hunger shows up in how hard he comes off screens, how aggressively he hits the boards (several times he was trying to block out Oden), how he’s ready to shoot when he gets the ball, not pump-faking himself out of a shot. Plus, he calls for the ball. He tells his veteran teammates to get him the rock. He wants it.

* How is it Jax put up 18 shots and Morrow 12?

* C.J. Watson’s defense really stands out against second and third tier PGs. He’s quick and pesky, but against the Steve Blakes, his gambling style doesn’t hurt him so much. He can reach and freelance without worrying too much about getting burned. Last night, Sergio Rodriguez drove, Watson reached around from behind and knock the ball away. Straight playground move. Against CP3 or Nash, he’d look stupid trying that move, whiffing while his man scores.


Jax Signs

Remember that contract extension Stephen Jackson said he was getting. He got it. After holding onto the contract for days, he inked it. I’ve heard it was for three years, $28 million, but haven’t gotten that from a reliable source yet. I’m sure it’s in that ballpark though. Will give you more info after practice.


What the Morrow Will Bring

The most amazing part about Anthony Morrow’s performance Saturday was that it wasn’t that amazing. Sounds like a contradiction, right? But check out these numbers stats:
*Of his 15 made baskets, only four was from the 3-point line
*He only had three points from the free throw line, one on a three-point play
*He took no more than five real shots in each quarter (I say real because one came when the game was over and the other was a tip on an offensive rebound)
Normally when a guy goes off for 37, it’s because he got hot from the deep and knocked down a bunch of 3-pointers. But Morrow was just 4 of 5. Not bad, of course, but hardly astounding.
If it’s not 3-pointers, then usually players get 37 by getting to the free throw line a lot. You’ll see them make like 10 shots and 13 free throws or something like that. Morrow got to the line just three times.
Also, often big games happen because a player is just getting up a ridiculous amount of shots (a la Kobe, who had 30 points on 29 shots against Detroit on Friday). Either they are feeling it and keep getting fed, or they just dominate the ball so much they are going to get a ton of shots. Well, Morrow didn’t get a lot of shots. The fourth quarter was the only quarter he took the most shots.
This performance was basic basketball. Sure, it was a perfect storm of the Clippers poor defense, his feeling it and Nellie giving him the opportunity. And defenses will certainly be paying attention to him at some point. But him getting 10-15 points on a regular basis is not that far-fetched.
Morrow can manufacture points because he is an outstanding shooter, he understands how to get his shot off and he is not one dimensional. If Nellie can factor him into the offense (they had a couple double screens he came off of) and not have a quick hook, and if his teammates look for him when he’s in the game, he can get you a nice bunch of points off the bench. Two 3-pointers, a couple mid-range jumpers, a few free throws and a lay-up, you got 15 points.
There will be nights when he’s off, but it is a much more efficient way of scoring than Stephen Jackson and Corey Maggette and Kelenna Azubuike taking on double-teams and taking difficult shots. Plus, they’ll be fresher down the stretch if they aren’t always expending energy trying to create offense. A shooter does that for you.
This sucks for Marco Belinelli, though. His just became expendable. Morrow is a purer shooter, he’s bigger, he’s more athletic, he’s tougher, he’s more aggressive, he’s fundamentally more sound, and he’s cheaper. I would not be surprised if Chris Mullin/Larry Riley has already linked Marco with Al Harrington and Marcus Williams in trade offers.
It may seem to suck for Azubuike, but it shouldn’t. Kelenna is much better at 25-30 minutes than he is at 35-40 minutes. Plus having another guy for defenses to key on will only open up more for him, or at the very least keep defenses from paying close enough attention to realize he’s not going to pass.
If Azubuike is going to start, Morrow should be his back up. If a point guard starts, such as C.J. Watson, or Monta Ellis when he returns, then Azubuike should be sharing the back-up minutes at the two and three with Morrow. Kelenna should get the lion’s share, but Morrow should get some.


What I Saw …

* Monta is killing this team. They are in a gunfight with two bullets. The problem is, before reinforcement comes, this thing could be a rap. The Pistons showed that the Warriors can be defended. Actually, Memphis, Sacramento and Minnesota did as well.
Even more so than in past years, the Warriors have few ways to break slumps. Before, Baron – whenever he decided to stop jacking 3-pointers, could go to rack at will. But this cast is guardable. You can have a strategy against them and it’s a good chance it will work. Especially with Mags nursing a hamstring.
Jax and Maggette and Azubuike will be exponentially better with Monta on the court, as he’s the one guy who will torch you even if you have a strategy to stop him. Of course, by the time he gets back, it probably will be too late to make the season interesting.

* Anthony Morrow’s got a stroke

* Anyone notice that Kelenna Azubuike practically never passes the rock? You hardly ever see him drop it off, draw the defense and kick it out. He’s going Clyde the Glide on ’em – puts his head down and goes to the rim. Eventually, he’s going to have to develop some kind of vision and passing ability because opposing defenses will lose their hesitancy for helping when he drives if they know he won’t pass.

* Say what you want about Sheed, but when he’s on, he’s a beast.

* Did I say Anthony Morrow can shoot? Why isn’t he and Belinelli ever in the game together? Especially when the offense is struggling or you have to catch-up in a hurry, I’d run both of them out there and put them on opposites. Which ever side comes to help, that’s the side I kick to.

* One thing these last few games have shown is that C.J. Watson is a back-up point guard. Nothing against him as a person. He plays hard. He’s got some talent. He’s a solid back-up at this point in his career. If he’s the starting point guard, the team won’t be very good. But if he’s coming off the bench, giving you 20 minutes of energy and quickness, you are a pretty good team.
That mistake tonight, stepping over the inbounds line on such a crucial possession, was unbelievable. You just can’t make that mistake. Sorry. I like the guy, but you can’t make that mistake.

NELLIE: “First of all, the point guard’s not supposed to take the ball out. That was an error by a
young player, and Iverson faked like he was going to go for a steal and he did a dumb thing.
Its not the only thing he did, but he actually played a pretty good game. I’m asking him to play
starter minutes and he’s actually played himself into a very good backup point guard position,
and unfortunately I don’t have a point guard who can play most of the minutes so he’s in a
tough spot. I think he’s playing real well. I’m very proud of him really in the way that he
played, but he’s going to make an error or two or more, and I have to live with him and I’m
going to.”


Rowell Speaks

After practice, President Rowell got “ambushed” by us media types. Here is the result. Let me know what you think of his answers.

What was behind the Pete D’Alessandro firing? (I’m assuming this was the question. I couldn’t hear)

It was a move that was made. It’s personnel move and really I don’t discuss those. I don’t discuss moves when they are made in the area of ticket sales and services, nor do I discuss them here (in this case).

Didn’t hear this question either …

From our perspective, we’ve still got a lot of work to be done. The team’s now 2-5. We’ve got to get work done between now and the end of the season to get better. That’s what Chris is focusing on. Contrary to popular belief and opinion, he and I are on the same page on pretty much everything.

Nor this one …

The assessment of the team is we’re 2-5 right now. I will assess it on our record. When it comes to evaluating our talent, those are questions you need to ask Chris and Don and Larry (Riley).

But you have final say (Yay! I heard one!)

I hired basketball guys to make basketball decisions, so I’m letting those guys do their job and make the talent decisions with respect to the roster and who our players are. I’ll get involved like I have got involved with terms and conditions and whether things fit in our budget, those types of things. But there’s a reason why I’ve got basketball guys running the basketball division

Why Larry Riley? (couldn’t hear this one too well)

He’s got over 20 years experience in the NBA. You add his experience with Chris Mullin’s experience with Don Nelson’s experience, I have faith that we can do nothing but make the team better and I’m looking forward to those guys all working together.

How does it make you feel that the perception is that you and Mully have beef?

I’m into what reality is, and reality is that we’re on the same page with respect to pretty much everything that we’re doing. And I think you should ask him the same question because I’m sure he’ll give you the same answer.

So no positive PR needed? No hugs in front of the cameras in the parking lot?

I think we’re all right.

Were you and Mully on the same page with the decision to fire Pete?

Again, it’s a personnel matter. I don’t make comments on decisions that we’re making. In most areas of business, when you make personnel decisions, you don’t necessarily comment on them publicly.

Nelson said he’s got to get comfortable with the fact that this team will struggle. Why do you think he’s the man to coach this team?

Starting the season, Don as 53 wins away from being the all-time winningest coach in the NBA. He’s expressed an interest to continue and wants to be part of the future here and wants to end his career here as coach of the Golden State Warriors. We felt that it was the right time and the right place and the perfect fit to do that. And also, knowing that we’re a younger team, we also wanted to give him a little peace of mind that it wasn’t all about picking up those 53 wins all in the first 53 games this season.

What does t mean that he would be here to set that record as a Warrior?

I think it’s more important that the team wins, obviously, than it is any personal and individual records. And I think Don will tell you the same thing. But I think it says something about him and his career that he’s able to finish it here.

Any update on Jax’s extension?

It’s in the works.

What’s the hold up?

I wouldn’t say there’s a hold-up for anything

So terms are agreed to?

I didn’t say that either. I said it’s in the works.

How far along in the process then?

Enough for you to be able to ask the question and me to tell you it’s in the works.

How is business?

Business right now it’s tough. It’s no different than it is for any other industry. And I think in ours, we offer entertainment and the ability for you to escape. We still have to create something that’s a little bit better than the other thing(s) to escape to. So we’ve got our work cut out there as far as being creative and creating an environment where people can come and relax and watch a game. But I do think business is tough. You can ask all the various sports teams and they’re all feeling it.

This is your first post-practice press conference in at least four years …

This wasn’t my idea. I was walking down to tell Raymond Ridder something and I just got ambushed by Miss Hu over here. Basically, I answered her question and you guys all turned your stuff on and moved on in.

Any symbolism to the fact that you’re seen as taking a larger role in the decision making process.

I’ve been president of this team. This is the sixth year that I’ve been the president of this team. I’m at practice all the time and I’m always around. So, it’s kind of a dumb question, but it’s OK.

What’s your mood about how things are going?

No one likes to be 2-5 to start a season, so I mean there’s obviously caution there because you want to start a little bit better than we’ve started. … I think we’ve got to get healthy. We’re missing three of our starters right now, our prohected starters coming into the season. And that’s not an excuse, we’ve just got to get healthy and we’ve got to see what we got.

Looking forward to the day all the off-court drama ends?

I want to focus on what needs to be done down here. That’s what the guys are focusing on right now is making this team better and that’s what they’re going to do, Chris, Larry and Don.

Why Larry Riley? Why not someone outside the organization who has worked in the front office more recently?

He’s not that far removed from working in the front office and I think his job and his focus is going to be player evaluation and also trying to find the right fit and pieces for what we’re doing. I think the fact that Don Nelson is our head coach and he and Larry have worked together for a long time, I don’t think it hurts to have someone who knows – along with Mully, who has a real great depth of experience with what makes Nellie tick as a coach and what he needs to coach.

You see this as Nellie having more influence?

The day we announced Don Nelson as head coach of the Golden State Warriors brought Don Nelson’s influence to the organization.


Marco Needs Shots

Nelson checked Marco Belinelli into the game much earlier than normal, like midway through the first quarter. But the Warriors, when he’s on the court, usually don’t look for him.
What’s the point of having Belinelli in the game if he doesn’t get shots? The one thing he can do is shoot? Why not take advantage of it? Run some plays for him. Get him off some screens. Look for him in transition.
The Warriors did a much better job on Sunday. He played six first-quarter minutes and got four shots, making three for 7 points. C.J. Watson found Belinelli drive-and-kick, and Belinelli knocked it down from 3-point range. Stephen Jackson found him with a cross-court pass. Belinelli lost the defender with a strong pump fake, took one dribble as he stepped in, and nailed a 21-footer.
Apparently sensing his stint was up, he hoisted a deep off-balance 3-pointer, which he bricked. Seconds later he came out.
When you’ve got a guy who can shoot like that, he’s got to get touches. Belinelli is certainly not a defender, and he can’t dribble against good defenders. So if he’s on the court, he has to get shots. He’s got a nice stroke that the Warriors can certainly use. Most important, he makes a defender stay honest, which opens the paint area.
In seven first-quarter minutes, Brandan Wright had six shots. Nothing against BW, but two of those should’ve went to Marco.