January 28 - Give Me Morr-ison
It is a league that is desperate to get back the prestige it had in the 1980s and early 1990s. Not only
has it fallen behind its “super” cousin but it must be “maddening” to watch its younger brother be the
version more preferred. In a series of articles last year, we dissected the NBA Draft and wondered
aloud why NBA General Managers consistently avoided the common sense approach of drafting the
best collegiate players available. That a basketball version of Billy Beane could walk into the league
right now and be the new Red Auerbach. Today, we take a look at the words of some of the
journalists covering the game and more importantly their bias against last season’s college
superstar, Adam Morrison, and their tendency to push the first overall pick, Andrea Bargnani.
With the season halfway over the debate as to who should have gone first in the NBA Draft rages on.
I was in the camp that Adam Morrison made the most sense. That the point of the draft was for the
worst teams to select the best, most polished players. Most of all, I felt this was an opportunity for the
NBA to finally extend their hand towards fans the college game who have felt alienated over the years
by a league that has put a premium on drafting high schoolers and foreigners over collegiate
superstars. This was due to the fact that Adam Morrison was one of the most popular college
basketball players over the past ten years. Instead of extending that hand a back was turned. This
turn of the back has continued in some of the words of NBA writers in their midseason awards.
Instead of just evaluating Adam Morrison and Andrea Bargnani on a level playing field, it feels as if
this resentment towards the ex-college superstar has made its way to the surface. You have to
wonder if there is a lingering animosity towards the fact that you have to navigate college basketball
games on CBS, ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, CSTV, and Fox Sports and then through about 300 other
channels until you get to NBA games located in the 400s.
Adam Morrison? Please. If Bobcats games were nationally televised, his awfulness would be more
-John Hollinger in ESPN’s Midseason Revue
John Hollinger is ESPN’s resident NBA stathead and he has made it perfectly clear since Morrison
started playing that he has an utter disdain for his game. In December I believe Mr. Hollinger’s exact
words on ESPN Insider were, “Look, we knew he'd be fairly one-dimensional, but lordy. This guy
makes Lara Flynn Boyle seem well-rounded.” Every time Mr. Hollinger has gotten a chance to knock
Morrison, he has taken it. At this point, you almost have to wonder if Hollinger is just jealous that
Morrison possesses a full head of hair while Hollinger…….quite frankly……does not.
So quick on the trigger to knock Adam’s play in ESPN’s midseason revue as awful yet so silent on
Andrea Bargnani. His was the only mention of Morrison in that article. At the same time, three of his
peers took the time to pimp Andrea Bargnani as a Rookie of the Year candidate (Greg Anthony, Chris
Sheridan and Marc Stein constitute the three). Let me introduce Exhibit A in Adam’s defense. I like to
call it the “Everybody Who Thinks Andrea Is Outplaying Adam Is Smoking Crack Index”. My formula is
very simple. In fact, I am quite sure that every coach since middle school has used it. To gauge a
player’s true offensive productivity you take their points per game plus their assists per game times
two and divide that by their minutes played per game. In the case of Morrison versus Bargnani the
disparity is fairly significant. As of January 28th here are their numbers:
PPG APG MPG Productivity Per Minute
Morrison 13.5 2.3 32.7 .553
Bargnani 10.1 0.7 23.2 .495
Heresy this formula! Trevor you are twisting statistics to your advantage. This is more ridiculous than
the series of articles you wrote about applying common sense to the NBA Draft. Surely you are
leaving something out. I know it. I heard Adam is struggling with his shot and I am sure Bargnani
averages many more rebounds a game. Currently, Adam is shooting 37.6% from the floor and is
averaging 3.3 rebounds per game. Admittedly, those are both numbers that can be improved upon.
However…..Bargnani is shooting 40.5% and is averaging 3.7 rebounds per game. If Adam is
displaying “awfulness”, then what is the statistically inferior Bargnani displaying……..
Bargnani's numbers aren't great (10 points and four rebounds in 23 minutes of action), but he is
showing great potential.
-Steve Kerr’s explanation in awarding Andrea Bargnani his Midseason Rookie of the Year
That makes an OVERWHELMING amount of sense. I did not realize we awarded Rookie of the Year
based on potential instead of performance. Could somebody please go retrieve Cadillac Williams’
Rookie of the Year trophy, we are going to need to get that back as that belongs on the mantle of Alex
Smith. DeMeco Ryans……paging DeMeco Ryans, we are going to need your Defensive Rookie of the
Year Trophy back, Mario Williams is waiting in the lobby for it.
The flavor of the moment is Brandon Roy, and with good reason, but this is still a very wide-open race
that Andrea Bargnani can win.
-Chris Sheridan in ESPN’s Midseason Revue
I am sure when Chris Sheridan made this comment; he must have studied film of Andrea Bargnani’s
past five games and made a conclusion that can be supported by facts. I mean if you are going to
mention that Bargnani can win as a throwaway line and not the statistically superior Morrison there
must have been compelling evidence over the past six games that indicate this. Let’s take a quick
look at Bargnani’s production over his last six games (we went with six games instead of the normal
five due to the fact that Bargnani registered a DNP-Coach’s Decision on 1/24):
Date Points Assists Rebs Minutes
1/17 7 0 5 18
1/19 12 0 5 30
1/22 14 0 3 25
1/24 DNP-Coach’s Decision
1/26 7 3 3 20
1/27 2 0 0 22
Let’s put it this way, if I stuck a seven foot trash can out on the court it would collect more rebounds
and dish out more assists on the ricochet than Bargnani has over the past ten days. But yes Chris
Sheridan…….the race is wide-open and Andrea Bargnani can win. I mean there’s always a chance
that Adam Morrison and Brandon Roy could meet up at Elephant & Castle in downtown Seattle for
$1.50 until the keg blows night and do something so extraordinary that David Stern hands down a
year long suspension.
My goal here is not to knock Andrea Bargnani. It is to point out the inequality of the way Morrison has
been treated by the media. Here is a guy who has overcome Diabetes to become a great player. A
player whose name is worthy of being mentioned as Rookie of the Year. These writers should be
going out of their way to embrace this great college star. Instead all he received is criticism and
mocking. It is something I just cannot understand for it is fans of the college game that represent the
majority of basketball fans in America.
The Italian may prove that he is better than Spokane’s finest. But he isn’t right now. Just remember,
for every diamond in the rough, there is a stone in the dirt.
If you have any questions or comments feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.