Anthony Morrow didn't start the season in Dallas, so obviously he was not included in our season preview series back in September. Though he didn't see a lot of action, he is a Maverick, so we will recap his season in this installment of the Mavs Moneyball Player Reviews.
A quick recap:
Anthony Morrow went undrafted back in 2008 after four years of inconsistent playing time at Georgia Tech. Given a chance in Golden State, he became a surprise contributor right away, carving out a role as a spot-up shooter. He was so successful at this role, in fact, that Don Nelson, former Mavericks coach and Warrior coach at the time, called him the second best pure shooter he had coached, after Hall of Famer Chris Mullin.
Morrow spent two years in Golden State, then another pair of seasons in New Jersey(where he is perhaps best known for honoring the late Drazen Petrovic in the three point contest), Included in the infamous Joe Johnson trade this past offseason, he was sent to Atlanta, who after signing Kyle Korver and Lou Williams and drafting John Jenkins in the first round, did not have a huge need for a three-point specialist. Morrow appeared in only 24 games for the Hawks, averaging just 12 minutes a game, less than half his career average at the start of the season. Then, after much speculation about the Hawks trading Josh Smith, Morrow ended up being the only Hawk to be sent away at the deadline.
Obviously, Morrow's PT didn't improve in Dallas. Morrow did show aggressiveness in his brief run on the court, scoring 39 points in 82 minutes, but clearly his impact was limited, and it's hard to be upset about his lack of court time. Morrow is an outstanding shooter, but that's just about all he is. He entered the league a one-trick pony and his list of tricks remains singular.
Infact, it is possible that the "best shooter" label might have been prematurely applied. Morrow shot well above 40% his first few seasons in the league, but just 37% both this year and last. That's still plenty good, but hardly incredible, and for a player who's value is so heavily rooted in making the long bomb, anything less than incredible puts him at risk of losing his spot in the NBA.
Now, it is also possible that Morrow is simply experiencing a "down phase" in his career, and that regression for him, in this case, will be positive. Afterall, 37% isn't terrible, and he's still at 42% for his career. For a guy who led the league in three point percentage as an undrafted rookie, a return to the 40% level is entirely within his reach.
What do expect going forward:
Morrow isn't likely to be the first, second, or third impending free agent on the team that Donnie and Mark Cuban talk to. However, for some reason I admit I'm interested in bringing him back. Having just finished a three year, $12 million deal, Morrow isn't likely to get anything like that this offseason, and for the reasons I stated above, it is possible that getting him for a veteran minimum type salary could be a bargain. He's a less extreme example of a "buy low" scenario. There is also something to be said for trying to keep some small bit of continuity with the roster, as the likelihood is high that most of the team's free agents will be playing somewhere else next season.
One thing worth keeping in mind about Morrow: his cap hold for next year will be about $7 million, so the team will probably need to renounce his rights to clear up cap space.