2012 Atlanta Hawks Player Preview: Anthony Morrow

Four years ago, Anthony Morrow went undrafted after posting a career 3pt% of 42% in four years at Georgia Tech. Being the Tech fan that I am (and a huge fan of Morrow), I was upset that no one took a shot at him in the draft. Surely a bunch of teams could use a sharpshooter off the bench, right?

However, a struggling (aka: terrible) Golden State team picked him up through free agency, figuring they could use his services. In his fourth game in the NBA, Morrow put up 37 points and 11 boards in a win over the Clippers. (I remember being immensely pleased by this boxscore the next morning) Morrow finished his rookie season by leading the league in 3-point shooting at 46.7%. Yeah, all you NBA teams should have listened to 15 year-old Bo!

Actually, I had just purchased a Mike Bibby Hawks’ jersey at the time, which is probably one of many valid reasons my objections went unheard.

Back to Morrow, he signed a 3-year/$12 million deal will the Nets a couple of years ago, and will likely be spending the last season of that contract with our Atlanta Hawks thanks to the Joe Johnson deal. (Of course, Danny Ferry could still do something ridiculous and we could have a completely different roster in an hour)

Anyways, what can the four-year veteran bring to the Hawks? Because of the team’s surplus of guards, Morrow won’t be getting the minutes that he was getting in New Jersey the past two seasons; this may not be a bad thing. Since posting that 46.7% mark in his rookie season, Morrow’s 3-pt shooting has dropped each season since. (Still a 42% career mark) Coincidentally (well, not really), his usage rate increased each season and his minutes on floor are were much higher than that of his rookie year. He was at about 20% usage at 30 minutes per game in his two years with the Nets. For comparison, Al Horford played the last two seasons at about the same usage in only marginally more minutes.

That won’t happen in Atlanta. I see Anthony playing between 15 and 20 minutes a game. Though he is naturally a shooting guard, he could get minutes at small forward due to the Hawks lack of depth at that position. According to 82games.com, Morrow played about 160 minutes at the three position last year with the Nets, and actually had his best shooting efficiency at that position. Of course, he didn’t exactly excel defensively at that position, or any other position for that matter. However, with Jeff Teague, Devin Harris, Lou Williams, and John Jenkins all in the backcourt, that could be where he gets a healthy chunk of minutes.

So, how will Morrow fit into the offense? Let’s start with this video clip here:

Of course, most of these plays are typical of your regular sharpshooter: running off of screens, trailing or pulling up in transition, waiting around the arc for the ball-handler draw a double-team, etc. With Joe gone, these plays will need to be much more prevalent in the offense, some of which we saw when Joe was out for a few games at the end of February/beginning of March. One of the main play’s used in that period was simple: Smoove would iso in the post, draw a double team, and start a carousel of passing leading to an open shot. With Horford back and healthy, this simple play becomes even more dangerous because, well, Horford is a lot better than Zaza. (no offense to Zaza, who played great last year at starting C after Al was lost for the season) Add Teague and any one of the team’s other shooters and the spacing possible is pretty much a head coach’s wet dream.

In summary, I think the addition of Morrow was a great one for the Hawks. You get a great shooter with a very manageable contract. It also means I can bust out my Georgia Tech #23 jersey (the number Morrow had at Tech) at Hawks games, which is a win for everybody, right?


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