Adam Morrison: The Great White Nope!

By L.A. Batchelor
Updated: July 4, 2006

NORTH CAROLINA — He’s slow, he is small for NBA standards, he doesn’t play defense, doesn’t rebound and since when does a player from Gonzaga sell tickets?

So with all of this said, why is Consensus All-American Adam Morrison not only the 3rd pick in the draft but the 1st round pick of the Charlotte Bobcats?

Let’s look at Morrison’s stats:

— In his three seasons at Gonzaga, the Zags compiled an overall record of 83-12 (.874 winning percentage) and won three West Coast Conference (WCC) championships

— He helped lead the Zags in 2005-06 to a 29-4 overall record, equaling the school record for wins, finished ranked #10 in the final USA Today/ESPN coaches’ poll, while also winning the West Coast Conference regular season (14-0) and tournament titles, and assisting the Zags to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen.

— He finished his junior (2005-06) season averaging 28.1 ppg., 5.5 rpg., 1.8 apg., 1.1 spg., while shooting 49.6 percent from the field, 42.8 percent from 3-point, and 77.2 percent from the foul line.

— He also finished last season ranked first in the NCAA in scoring while scoring over 30 points 13 times in 2005-06 and recorded five 40-point performances.

— Was named 2005-06 Chevrolet Player of the Year as selected by CBS Sports, runner-up for the John R. Wooden Award, a James Naismith Player of the Year finalist, the co-recipient of the Oscar Robertson Trophy presented by the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA), CO-recipient (with USA teammate J.J. Redick) of the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Player of the Year.

— He was also a Consensus Associated Press and USBWA All-American, West Coast Conference Player of the Year while also setting single-season marks for points (926), field goals made (306) and free throws made (240), while tying for 10th for single-season 3-point field goals made (74) and 3-point field goals attempted (173).

— On the Gonzaga career charts, he ranks third in points (1,843), third in field goals made (659), ninth in 3-point field goals made (127), eighth in 3-point field goals attempted (344) and fourth in free throws made (398).

All great stats, but they all add up to offense and no defense.

Look, if you are looking for a guy who can score on a team who needs a guy who can primarily score, then the Bobcats are the team for Morrison, but it’s been authenticated that defense wins championships whether it’s basketball, football, baseball or some other sport.

Now let’s not delude the team’s offensive locale in the NBA. They finished 18th in the league in scoring but they finished only with a 4 point differential in points allowed, a 4 point percentage in field goal percentage and pretty much the same in 3 point percentage.

They also finished at 72 percent from the free throw line which is pretty analogous to other teams in the league. Again, defense wins championships and it’s been validated more recently with the last three champions of the NBA.

The Detroit Pistons won their championship in 2004 with great team and solid individual defense efforts to win the NBA title 3 years ago led by 3-time Defensive Player of The Year, Ben Wallace.

The San Antonio Spurs used tenacious team defense and the ability to be fundamentally sound on offense to win their last championship and even in that series, the scoring was down because the Pistons exemplified the same type of solid defense.

Finally, the Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks can point to their committment to “D” as major factors in making it to their first NBA Finals appearance. It was the Heat who held all-world player Dirk Notwiski in check while finals MVP Dwayne Wade totally dominated the series on both ends of the court especially the last 4 games of the series which were all Heat victories.

What about the players available in the draft the Bobcats did not pick?

Most experts, scouts and analyst will tell you UConn’s Rudy Gay was probably the most talented player in the draft with abilities and athleticism that would make him an NBA start for years to come. He also showed the ability to play man-to-man defense as well as help defense with his quickness and shot blocking ability.

He also comes from a college program that’s produced lots of solid NBA players like Ray Allen, Richard Hamilton, Ben Gordon, Omeka Okafur and now Gay. The clamor about Gay was his decidedly lack of desire or eagerness to take over a game when his team needed him to do so but that is something that can come in time with maturity and experience.

Gay is just one example of many players available in the draft the Bobcats could have selected. Others like Tyrus Thomas, Shelden Williams, Randy Foye and Hilton Armstrong are just examples of players with offensive ability mixed with a defensive desire, athleticism and prowess that would have been a much better fit for their team.

Instead, they draft a player with extremely good offensive skills but has shown the inability to guard most players that are larger, smaller or quicker than he is.

I am not denouncing Adam Morrison or alleging that he will not be a star in the NBA nor am I saying he doesn’t have the ability to improve on the defensive end of the court especially since Morrison does show the desire to play with passion, his willingness to learn and the fact that he plays hard.

I am merely attributing that the Bobcats could have procured offense and defense amassed especially in a league where most can score, but the elite or great players can score and defend.

It’s easier to teach a person to score from 5, 10 or 20 feet then it is to teach quick feet or how to move them quickly, size, strength and and defensive tenacity. Hopefully, Mr. Morrison can develop that part of his game sooner rather than later.