Thursday, November 20, 2008

MORROW MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE


I have to admit, that quick release and sick cross-over on Rudy Fernandez got me thinking ....playoffs.

Who would have thought that that an nonathletic, skinny young man that goes undrafted and is not signed by his first few Summer League teams could end up making such a commotion in the NBA? Morrow was a roster after-thought in danger of not making the team's final cut, and is now seen as a diamond in the rough that could become a key part of the young Warrior nucleus. He brings a dead-eye shot and additional boards from the guard spot, but most importantly, Morrow brings this team HOPE. I know I may seem Bi-Polar at times, but until proven otherwise, I'm thinking the Warriors could make the playoffs and perhaps upset a top seeded team IF Monta can return near full strength. I've always advocated learning from last year's mistakes by cutting down minutes for the vets and developing the youngsters as part of a playoff push. Nellie is doing this and it's paying dividends. Morrow is 'discovered', Wright and Randolph show glimpses of greatness and are getting better, others are at least seeing some playing time, and the vets are looking a little fresher in the 4th quarter. I'd like to see Belinelli in extended minutes (rewarded for his improved defense), but I'll settle for watching Morrow, Wright, and Randolph for now. The young Warriors are soon to embark on a brutal road trip that could derail playoff aspirations, but after watching their promising play over the last handful of games, they have me cautiously optimistic about coming out of the other end in fair shape. They may have enough pieces to keep their playoff hopes afloat in a Western Conference that seems to be up for grabs early on.

If Morrow is as good as I think he can be, he'll be the missing ingredient that will bring the Warriors closer to completing the puzzle. The minute he started draining 3's in Summer League at an un-godly clip (not just one game but several), I had a strong feeling we had something special here. I didn't want to get too excited because it was Summer League and because his stats at Georgia Tech did not match what I saw with my own eyes (14.3 ppg? REALLY?), but when I heard we signed him, I knew this was huge, and that he could eventually play a big role on this team. It wasn't until Morrow was given the opportunity to shine as an NBA starter and to back up his breakout game with another strong performance that I realized that my expectations would be confirmed much sooner than I could have hoped.

Morrow is the piece that forces defenses to hedge towards the perimeter and leave the middle open for other Warriors to exploit - Jax/Biedrins pick and rolls, Maggette drives, and soon, Monta slashes to the hoop. His presence on the floor makes every player's job easier. I'm expecting Wright and Randolph to be the future PF's in a run-and-gun system, so the Warriors are a very good PG away from having all the necessary ingredients for a strong showing in the playoffs. Harrington/Maggette/Belinelli/Williams could be used to land that true PG. And if Mullin is brought back as head of the scouting department (doubt Mullin will take a demotion though) along with Nellie's eye for talent, the Warriors can draft a very good PG in a PG heavy draft to grow along with the team and eventually run the squad.

What they need to do is keep playing the youngsters, regulate the veteran's minutes, hover around .500, and bring back Monta for the big playoff push. Last week I thought there was no chance of us ever making the playoffs - Morrow has got me believing again.

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