Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Adam Morrison returns...for now

Adam Morrison came over (with Shannon Brown) in the February salary dump of Vladimir Radmanovic. A prolific college scorer who was drafted #3, his career so far has featured a disappointing rookie season followed by a major knee injury, and the subsequent attempt to work his way back and carve out a role in this league. He played only 44 minutes for the Lakers, and did not make an appearance in the postseason.

He does have some offensive tools and a scorer’s mentality. He can hit open shots to the three point line and beyond, and has a nice little step back move that he can use to get his shot off over pretty much anybody that is guarding him.

But that’s about it. He does not have the athleticism or skill to take NBA players off the dribble and create shots or get to the line. He is not strong enough to post up and take advantage of his height. And he is an absolute sieve on defense, with the lack of strength and athleticism making him a guy who just cannot guard NBA players one on one.

If he was a big scorer, you could justify hiding him on defense, but with him not being efficient enough to be anything other than a complementary scorer it’s really hard to see how he is going to find his way into an NBA rotation, more likely settling in as an end of bench guy who can help you at the end of quarters or give an occasional scoring spark, with lots of DNP-CD’s in the meantime. Barring a bad run of injuries, he will be very lucky to play more than 50 minutes a month this year for the Lakers.

His contract is guaranteed this year at $5,257,228 and nobody is going to give him the $6,897,484 qualifying offer he would be due next summer, so he is for all practical purposes an expiring contract. And thus he will have some trade value at the deadline, as teams look to clear cap space for next summer (particularly with the ever-shrinking salary cap).

Thus he will be spend his time at the end of the Laker bench or in his best business casual attire this year, before they try (and will probably be able) to unload his expiring contract at the deadline, to try to add a piece for the stretch run or to avoid some luxury tax.

I wish Morrison the best in his basketball future, but I have doubts that he has much of one in the NBA beyond this year. Perhaps he can find a home in Europe, where his floor-bound shooting game might work out.

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