Adam Morrison

Adam Morrison profile
Drafted #3 in the 2006 NBA Draft by the Hornets
RCSI: 105 (2003)
Height: 6'8" (203 cm)
Weight: 198 lbs (90 kg)
Position: SF
High School: Mead Senior High School (Washington)
Hometown: Spokane, WA
College: Gonzaga
Current Team: Gonzaga
Win - Loss: 26 - 8


NBA Summer League Player Reports (Part Two)

Matt Williams
Matt Williams
Jul 26, 2009, 08:57 pm
When the Charlotte Bobcats made Adam Morrison the third overall pick in 2006, this is likely what they would have liked to see from him in his first summer out of college. Three years and one torn ACL later, Morrison was a dominant scoring threat from start to finish in Vegas. His knee appeared healthy and his offensive game looked much more like the one he displayed during his days at Gonzaga than the one that earned him 11.8 points per game on only 37.8% shooting as a rookie.

Not an impressive athlete by any standards, perhaps the most important thing Morrison showed here was not that he could still score, but that he was able to keep up in an NBA-style setting. In fact, his first basket of the summer was a two handed slam off a give and go in transition early in a Laker’s victory over the Toronto Raptors. In addition to knocking down the type of shots that earned him national attention years ago, Morrison even got to the rim off the dribble in a few half court situations.

Always the aggressor, Morrison came out firing in each of his four games in Las Vegas. Though he didn’t get hot from the perimeter until the second half of the Toronto game, he made his presence felt in a hurry, hitting a pair of off balance pull up jumpers to set up a drive and dish pass that earned a teammate two shots from the foul line. Morrison’s shooting stroke is still a thing of beauty, and his ability to get his jumper off at his size with his quick release and terrific accuracy leaves some room for optimism regarding his ability to stick in the NBA.

With his confidence at what was probably a three year high, Morrison used the triangle to his advantage, making the most of his open looks from the perimeter and using hand offs to create driving lanes which he used to get off his midrange jumper. His terrific scoring instincts are obviously still very much intact, as he showed on a number of occasions with his ability to convert floaters, step-backs, and execute complicated spin moves. Possessing deft touch on nearly all of his shots, one of the biggest issues Morrison had this week in terms of offense was his tendency to settle for bad shots. Not all that efficient a player at the collegiate level already, his inability to convert the fade-aways and contested jumpers he attempts inside the arc at an acceptable rate is one of the major reasons he’s struggled to get his NBA career going thus far. Morrison’s 2-point percentages hover well below the 40% range, which is simply unacceptable for a player his size.

When he was able to get closer to the basket, he showed a couple savvy up and under moves, but wasn’t able to connect with very good consistency from in close. His lack of strength and athleticism hurts him here in a major way, and is yet another reason why his game just hasn’t translated from the WCC-level to the NBA at this point. Playing for Gonzaga, Morrison was able to get to the free throw line almost at will, but without getting the type of calls now he was used to a few years back, that part of his game has completely evaporated, and with it, his scoring efficiency.

In addition to having some issues around the rim in half court sets, Morrison also had a number of passes deflected in the paint, though he did create a few good looks for his teammates when giving the ball up closer to the elbow, despite never being known for his passing skills. With his shot back in working order, the name of the game for Morrison moving forward will be to get the other offensive moves that used to make him effective back to a consistent level, since many of his other weaknesses may not be correctable.

Despite all the success Morrison found offensively on his way to a 20.8 point per game average, he showed both of his biggest weaknesses: his poor defensive presence and the offensive inefficiency that has hampered his NBA career. As always, his lateral quickness was an issue defensively, as he had a hard time running around screens and had no chance to recover if he closed his man out off balance. While he won’t ever be a decent defender on the NBA level, he had a couple of nice possessions in Vegas where he at least wasn’t a liability due to the intensity he displayed.

At this point, the two things Morrison needs are confidence and consistency. He showed both here in Las Vegas, though his final game was eerily reminiscent of some of the contests from his rookie season. Despite being in a shooting funk, things could have been a whole lot worse given that he scored 17 points and led his team to victory. The Lakers won’t need him to be quite that prolific moving forward. Morrison would be well served on tightening up his game and trying to become as efficient and versatile a role-player as he can, as he clearly doesn’t possess the athleticism to emerge as a feature scorer. His spot up shooting could be a welcomed asset, and if he can find a way to at least become an acceptable passer, rebounder, and defender, he could earn some minutes off the bench. Looking at his full body of work this week, he may be heading in that direction, although the jury is still out.

NBA Pre-Draft Camp Media Day (Part Two)

Mike Schmidt
Mike Schmidt
Joseph Treutlein
Joseph Treutlein
Eric Weiss
Eric Weiss
Jun 12, 2006, 02:41 am
In regards to working out against other players in workouts:

Adam Morrison: I feel like I'm better against competition. I'm not a high-flying athlete. I'm not one of those type of players by myself, so I feel like I just player better against competition. I'd just rather play against somebody else.

Joseph Treutlein: What have you been doing to prepare for the draft so far?

Adam Morrison: Working out six days a week, non-stop, making sure I'm in shape, tweaking up my game, and staying sharp.

Reporter: Is this fun for you?

Adam Morrison: Yeah, it's fun. It's a whole different world now. I'm starting to get paid to play basketball. It's what I've been dreaming about, so it's obviously fun, sure.

Reporter:Are you tired of talking about diabetes or do you look at it as a platform?

Adam Morrison: I think a little bit. I think I've proven myself last year enough and I don't know why it would be any different at the next level. I'm not going to stop taking care of myself. I'm just making sure I'm doing the right things. I did it last year at a very high level. Everyone's seen how I played, so I don't know why it's different now.

Reporter:I guess the only unknown is because there's more games and it's more rigorous travel.

Adam Morrison: Yeah, you know, but the thing with the travel, I've talked to Dudley [Former NBA player Chris Dudley, also a diabetic], and he said that the travel is easier because you're flying in a nice private jet, getting catered to what you need. Obviously it's more travel, but you know, I'll prepare my body for it.

Reporter:What is the extent of your relationship with Duds?

Adam Morrison: A couple conversations, he’s helped me out when we played in Portland down there, I got to sit down and talk with him for about an hour, hour and a half. It was just good to hear from a guy who’s gone through the whole process.

Joseph Treutlein: If I’m an NBA general manager, why should I pick you in the draft? Sell me on you.

Adam Morrison: I feel like I can score at the next level. I’ve proven that I can play at a high level and I’m a tough player that can come in and make an impact. I’m not a guessing game. You’ve seen my abilities. I feel I have a lot of upside. I can get stronger.

Joseph Treutlein: You mentioned your ability to score. Against the bigger, more athletic defenders in the NBA, how do you think your scoring proficiency will translate?

Adam Morrison: In college I played, with our kind of schedule, the bigger athletic guys and I scored fine. I played every type of guy. So, I mean I think it’s going to be different, but the NBA is a lot more one-on-one type of game, and I think that suits me a lot better.

Joseph Treutlein: We’ve heard that in the Charlotte workout against Rodney Carney, you did very well, do you have anything to say about that?

Adam Morrison: Well, you know I played him against Memphis, and like I was saying, I can play well against athletic guys, and it was a good workout, and that’s why I like going against competition, because I feel I can show that I can play against more athletic guys. If I workout by myself, you’re not going to be able to see that. So that’s why I chose to workout against competition.

Reporter: Is it important to you to be the #1 pick in the draft?

Adam Morrison: No, not really. The biggest thing for me is to get in the right situation that I can be in the right situation and have a chance to play, and be a positive impact on the organization. It’s cool that I have a chance to be the #1 or a top-3 pick, but when it’s all said and done it’s about where you end up, and how you fit in that organization, if you’re a positive part of that organization. But the number doesn’t matter to me. If I’m the 30th pick, if I’m in the first round, I’m happy.

Reporter: Is Portland any more attractive because of its proximity to your school?

Adam Morrison: Yeah, it’d be great to play four hours from home, driving distance every night, to have family and friends from the Northwest. I think the Northwest knows who I am as a person. And they have a great coach, McMillian’s a great coach, he’s proven that over the years. They’re trying to rebuild that organization back to where it was, and from what I’ve heard, back when Clyde [Drexler] and those guys were playing, it was the best basketball city in the NBA. I’d love to play in Portland, it’d be a great experience.

Reporter: Are you very knowledge about their situation, about their team, the roster?

Adam Morrison: Not really. I haven’t really followed the NBA that much until now.

Reporter: I think your moustache has gotten a lot of publicity. When did that come into play?

Adam Morrison: I think the start of that was when one of my old teammates and I were watching an old Bird game, I said if I could grow a moustache I would, and he said I wouldn’t, and then I was finally able to grow one and it just grew from there, it kind of grew into its own entity I think, and kind of had a cult following in Spokane.

Reporter: Have you worked out for Toronto?

Adam Morrison: I’m working out on the 21st.

Reporter: What do you know about that situation, as far as Bryan [Colangelo], the team, and where they are?

Adam Morrison: I know that they obviously have the #1 pick and I don’t know if they’re going to make moves or whatever. I’m just taking it day-by-day. I don’t really look ahead that much.

Reporter: Have you talked to Colangelo or anyone?

Adam Morrison: I haven’t talked to them, they communicate through my agent, but I’m sure I’ll talk to them by the 21st.

Reporter: How many workouts are you going to do?

Adam Morrison: Right now I have four scheduled, but I’m sure I’ll have more. You know if a team wants me back to see me at the end, or some other teams move up, or like I said, I’m open to working out pretty much anywhere. The number doesn’t matter to me, the situation’s the most important thing.

Reporter: Do you still have Portland on Thursday?

Adam Morrison: Yes.

Joseph Treutlein: Of the players you’ve worked out against, who has impressed you the most?

Adam Morrison: Well, I’ve only worked out against Carney, but I’ve played against Rudy [Gay] and Brandon [Roy], and they’re both very good… great players. They’re going to be good NBA players. And they’ve impressed me a lot just by playing against them in the regular season.

Reporter: It’s interesting that you said, when talking about your moustache, that you were watching Larry Bird. Many compare you to him. Do you like him? Is that why you were watching tapes of him?

Adam Morrison: I think he’s one of the greatest players, obviously the greatest player in my mind, of all time. I just like how he played the game, how hard he played. I think he revolutionized the game as far as coming off screens. He was the first guy to use the curl like nobody else could, using his body. He knew how to play the game the right way.

Reporter: Is it safe to say you tried to emulate him?

Adam Morrison: Yeah, I’ve tried to emulate just because I have a similar body type to him. I’m not the most athletic man on this planet, neither was he, and I just try to play how he did.

Reporter: How concerned are you about guarding NBA players?

Adam Morrison: You know what, I’ve played against Devean George for the past three weeks every day in one-on-one, and he’s obviously an established veteran and a champion. I feel I can take the next level up in regards to defense. A lot of it’s using your hands and your length. In college it’s all about “get up in the guy, get up in him.” In the NBA it’s “stay in front of the guy, don’t let him get by you.” I feel like that helps me out. I can use my length better.

Joseph Treutlein: There was a lot of media coverage given to the way you reacted at the end of the UCLA game in the NCAA tournament, how you were very emotional. Do you have anything to say about that?

Adam Morrison: You know, positive, negative. Some people considered it a positive, some a negative. You know, at the time, every guy who lost in the tournament that cared was crying. I just didn’t make it to the locker room, that’s pretty much it. I could’ve been thinking about money and this whole process, because I knew that was my last game. Some people found it offensive, but simply those are people who don’t play sports.

West Coast Swing: Adam Morrison Workout

Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
Jun 05, 2006, 02:59 am
For the fourth and final workout of DraftExpress’ West Coast swing, we visited the 360 Health Club in Los Angeles to watch a private workout with likely top 5 pick Adam Morrison.


The workout was run by former UCLA legend Don MacLean, the all-time leading scorer in UCLA history. Shooting drills were the name of the game here. Morrison started by roaming around the perimeter shooting 18-20 footers from different spots on the floor, 50 to be precise, of which Morrison knocked down 46 of or 92%. NBA 3-pointers followed, and over the course of the workout Morrison shot 5/8, 5/8 and 5/8 from the left corner in 3 separate shooting contests, 5/6, 5/10 and 5/8 from the left corner-wing, 5/8, 5/5 and 5/5 from straightaway, 5/8, 5/11, and 5/7 from the right corner-wing, and then 5/8, 5/5 and 5/5 from the right corner, for a total of 75/110 - or 68%. What’s truly scary is that Morrison looked quite disappointed in his effort for the most part when he wasn’t knocking every single shot down. Some players throw a hissy-fit when their shot isn’t falling in a workout, but Morrison just quietly scolded himself with a confident aura of disappointment, knowing that he is capable of better than that. What this tells us is that no one can question the fact that Adam Morrison brings consistent NBA 3-point range to the table right off the bat for the team that drafts him, and that the 45% he shot from college 3 this year is a lot more indicative of his perimeter shooting ability than the 31% he shot as a sophomore.

Morrison’s shot is technically perfect from a mechanical perspective. In the drills he shot it identically every time, with an incredibly quick release and a super high release point that makes it extremely difficult to block or alter when taking his size and the elevation he gets on his shot into consideration.


Shooting 3-pointers while training by yourself in a gym is one thing, but getting it off in a competitive setting is another matter altogether. Morrison was matched up with a 6-10 and fairly long power forward in Kibwe Trim who had the unenviable task of defending him. While some might say that this is a matchup that Morrison would eat up all day long, which is true, Trim actually did a very nice job of getting a hand in his face on almost every single shot, moving his feet well, trying to anticipate what he’ll do next, using his body and strength to challenge him, and generally doing everything humanly possible to stop him. And while it might be hard for some to believe, Morrison actually shot the ball better while being defended than he did when he was wide open, which tells you a little bit about the type of competitor he is.

Morrison started most of the competitive 1 on 1 possessions from behind the college 3-point line, and used an incredibly wide array of offensive moves to put the ball in the basket nearly every time. His ball-handling skills are phenomenal and he possesses a wonderful arsenal of shot-fakes, jab-steps, hesitation moves, change of speeds and other crafty moves that made him the toughest player to defend in college basketball throughout his career. He mixed up his mid-range game with plenty of slashing, taking the ball strong to the rim and finishing with either a dunk, or a pretty floater or finger roll. When Trim would deny him the angle to the basket, Morrison would calmly and quickly pull-up off the dribble for an incredibly difficult fadeaway shot off one foot. The type of crazy floaters from 14 feet out on the baseline, one handed step-throughs off one foot from 18 feet and other ludicrous moves are things that would get most NBA players benched immediately, but these are things that Morrison practices everyday until he’s reached perfection and made it an art form. Those are shots he’s made throughout his career and he knows exactly what he’s doing when he’s taking and making them. His footwork and touch are off the charts and he can release the ball with consistency from a half dozen or more different release points, which again makes him a nightmare to defend.


The best thing to come out of this workout might have been the work MacLean and Morrison’s strength and conditioning coaches have been doing with his agility. Morrison has more bounce to his step right now than we remember from college, possessing a quicker first step and vertical leap and just much more overall mobility than we’ve really ever seen. Much of this workout was focused on conditioning, and this is something that Morrison himself says has been the biggest improvement he’s seen in his game over the past month or so. Full-court sprints, baseline to baseline, plenty of dunking drills to work on his lower body strength—Morrison’s body seemingly has no choice but to respond with the work he’s been doing here over the past month or so. He’s still as skinny as he was during the season, but according to him, the majority of his work in the weight room will be done during the offseason, not before his private workouts.

One thing that we certainly did not come away impressed with from this workout was Morrison’s defense. He is likely to put a lot more effort in on this side of the floor in a real NBA workout rather than in front of us, but with this being one of the top weaknesses we came to look at, Morrison didn’t do much change our mind here. Getting banged around in the post by the much bigger and stronger Trim was more than understandable, but he did not do a great job of getting out to contest the mid-range shots he took on the perimeter.

All in all, though, Morrison backed up the hype and then some in this workout. Watching him play in a setting like this, it’s hard not to come away with the feeling that his impact in the NBA will be almost immediate. Granted he lands on the right team (Toronto, Charlotte or Portland, for example), he has to be considered the early favorite for Rookie of the Year honors. That isn’t saying that he doesn’t still have room to continue to grow as a player and improve upon his weaknesses, though, as a new dimension to his slashing game will be opened up as he improves on his strength through work in the weight room.

Talking to him off the court, it was surprising to see how humble and good natured he seems to be. From his on-court demeanor and swagger there is a certain impression left that he might be quite an arrogant person off the court as well. After having the chance to sit down with him after the workout and conduct a candid and wide-ranging conversation with him over lunch, that was not the impression at all. He seems to realize that there will be an adjustment period from the NCAA to the NBA, but is confident enough in himself and his work to know that he’ll be fine.

Perhaps the most telling sign of his personality to come out of this entire day came after we first met in the parking lot before we both walked in. While I was signing in to the gym as a guest, he caught wind of a big-screen TV on the other end of the room showing an old NBA finals series from the 80’s between the Celtics and Lakers. Morrison was in a trance for a few moments as he watched the players on screen go at it. Already done signing in, I stood next to him wondering which direction I needed to walk towards. Morrison snapped out of it all of a sudden and smiled sheepishly…”sorry, that happens to me sometimes.”

NCAA Tournament: NBA Draft Stock Watch (Sweet Sixteen, Thursday games)

Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
Mike Schmidt
Mike Schmidt
Joseph Treutlein
Joseph Treutlein
Mar 24, 2006, 04:15 am
Gonzaga’s heartbreaking loss to UCLA will undoubtedly be the last game of Adam Morrison’s NCAA career, though it didn’t end in the way you’d expect Morrison to go out on. Ever the clutch player with the penchant for game-winning and game-sealing shots, Morrison came up short twice in the final minute of Gonzaga’s loss, missing on a lay-up and a fadeaway jumper. Even the best player can’t hit them all.

Morrison’s usual impressive array of offense was on display, to go along with some things we don’t normally see from him. Perhaps in a continuation of his previous game, Morrison had an improved commitment on defense and the boards, being more aggressive than usual on both fronts. There were still a fair share of plays that Morrison took off, but he was trying more than usual. On the offensive end, Morrison was excellent without the ball, putting himself in position for many cuts that led to floaters and lay-ins. He also had some strong drives off the dribble, making a few lay-ins as well as some nice pass outs to the open man. Morrison handled double teams well, making the appropriate pass outs when necessary. He did force a few off-balanced fadeaway jumpers, but with his open looks coming so few and far between, and him shooting 10-for-17 from the field, you really can’t complain about that.

Morrison’s passion was as evident as ever tonight, unfortunately hitting its peak as Morrison lay sobbing on the floor moments after the game was over. Morrison has nothing to be ashamed about, though. He left absolutely no doubt about who the best collegiate player in the country was, and he’ll have plenty more chances at game-winners in his future. Projected as a top-five pick with a chance to go number one in the draft, most of Morrison’s career is still in front of him. There is much debate over how Morrison’s success will translate to the NBA, but you can bet your money he’s already looking forward to the challenge.

NCAA Tournament: Stock Watch (round of 32, #1), Stock DOWN/NEUTRAL

Rodger Bohn
Rodger Bohn
Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
Mike Schmidt
Mike Schmidt
Jonathan Watters
Jonathan Watters
Mar 19, 2006, 03:34 am
We all know Adam Morrison is impossible to stop on most nights. But what about when he's not hitting 15 foot fadeaways and contested 3-pointers with ease? Tonight was an opportunity to see Morrison when he's not at his best. The results were somewhat mixed. After a quiet first half in which JP Batista shouldered most of the scoring load, Morrison attempted to take over early in the second. After bricking several contested jumpers, he initiated an altercation with Indiana's Roderick Wilmont underneath the basket, which led to a double technical foul. Mark Few quickly pulled Morrison from the game.

Upon returning, Morrison quit looking for his own offense. With Indiana's best defenders still shadowing him relentlessly, the lane opened up for Erroll Knight, Jeremy Pargo, Sean Mallon, and other slashing 'Zags. Morrison focused on other things that we don't see from him very often, such as defense and rebounding. And of course, it was Morrison's driving layin with 3:01 to play that ended the Indiana rally, shifting the momentum back to Gonzaga.

It should be noted that Gonzaga didn't need a great game out of Morrison tonight. He should be commended for recognizing that it wasn't his night, and deferring to his teammates. At the same time, I have to wonder if we would have seen a more productive Morrison on one of these nights at the beginning of the year. That amazing ability to backcut at the perfect time, the relentless running of the floor, and the countless easy points around the basket (only 7 FTA's on the night) just weren't there tonight, and haven't been there as much in the latter stages of the season. Even as far as getting his teammates involved, you would think Morrison could have registered more than 1 assist on the evening with all the attention he was getting.

Nonetheless, every player has an off night. It will be interesting to see how Morrison responds in the Sweet Sixteen, going up against a great defensive team in UCLA.

NCAA Tournament: NBA Draft Stock Watch (round of 64, Thursday games)

Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
Mike Schmidt
Mike Schmidt
Joseph Treutlein
Joseph Treutlein
Mar 17, 2006, 04:16 am
Gonzaga’s tournament life was hanging in the balance, on the verge of being upset by 14th seed Xavier, but Morrison would have none of that. The Zags were down eight with nine minutes to go when it seemed as if the entire Gonzaga roster other than Morrison was in foul trouble. In a situation where he had to take charge, Morrison did just that, scoring 14 in the final nine minutes, including some key shots down the stretch. Gonzaga hadn’t led in the second half until there was 2:03 remaining, as Morrison casually hit a pull-up three pointer to put the Zags up by one. Over the next two minutes, Morrison hit 4 of 4 free throws, had a key defensive rebound, and assisted teammate J.P. Batista on a dunk, icing the game for Gonzaga.

Morrison’s immense offensive repertoire was on full display, as he scored in nearly every way possible. He was hitting three-pointers, spotting or pulling up. He was taking it to the hole by both cuts and one-on-one penetration. He posted up, he pulled up for mid-range jumpers, and despite the mass of attention he received from Xavier’s defense, still found a way to score 35 points. To do this, he pretty much never stopped moving without the ball. Morrison wasn’t just scoring, though. He took advantage of his court vision, especially when double teamed, hitting cutters, shooters, and feeding the post. He did take a few forced shots, but even still, he had an incredibly efficient scoring night and was the sole reason Gonzaga won this game.

Morrison had a so-so showing on the defensive end, occasionally reverting to some lackadaisical tendencies. But in the second half and down the final stretch, his intensity was up and he was playing strong on both sides of the floor. Gonzaga’s zone defense (and the mediocre competition) veiled most of Morrison’s problems with lateral quickness, though it will become more evident as the Zags move deeper into the tournament. But the Zags will only go as far as Morrison takes them. Morrison will need to play like this in every game from here on out for the Zags to stay alive. And knowing him, he will.

Adam Morrison NBA Draft Scouting Report

Mar 03, 2006, 02:36 am
One word: instincts.

College basketball hasn’t seen a player with Adam Morrison’s natural feel for the game in a very long time. Obviously Morrison knows how to score the basketball, but his instincts make him much, much more than just that. Mentally, he is just a step ahead of everybody else on the floor.

The first thing that you notice about Morrison is his ability to score. He understands how to create his own shot better than anybody we've seen at the college level in years. Not only does utilize contact and spacing better than any player in the country, he has also mastered the art of the contested jumpshot. If he is able to get a step going toward the basket, the defense might as well give up. He is going to get a shot off, and whether or not it goes in has little to do with a hand in his face.

Morrison nails Nowitzki-style turnaround fadeaways with ease, and is very comfortable throwing up one-handed floaters on the move from 10-15 feet. These types of shots (that the average player would get benched for even attempting) are what Morrison has built his legend on, and are the main reason for the controversial Larry Bird comparisons.

Already mentioned was the fact that if Adam Morrison gets a step on his man, he is literally unguardable. Morrison’s improved outside jumper is making it even harder for teams to keep him from attacking off the dribble. Where defenses could almost sag off him a season ago (31% from beyond the arc as a Sophomore), Morrison has begun to hit the 3-pointer at a frightening clip in 2006. He recently made 8-13 3-pointers in a 44-point explosion against Loyola Marymount, and is hitting nearly 45% of his long-distance attempts on the season. This percentage is even more impressive considering how much attention Morrison gets, and how often his 3-point attempts are contested, end of the shot clock types of looks.

Morrison’s shot is a thing of beauty. He uses multiple release points, and is able to get it off in an almost limitless number of ways. When you realize the technical mastery behind Morrison's form, it makes a bit more sense when those freakishly difficult fadeaways start dropping. The rim is definitely Morrison’s friend, as his touch seems to almost force the ball through the basket after an initial bounce.

Of course, Morrison will still have an off shooting night from time to time. It is in those moments that one gains another level of appreciation for his game.

Despite a herky-jerky running style and an almost frail appearance at first glance, Morrison will aggressively attack the basket when his shot stops falling. Whether it is slashing into the lane before defenses can react, posting up smaller defenders for midrange hook shots, relentlessly running the floor or simply scrapping for offensive rebounds, Adam Morrison always gets his 25.

Of course, it all comes back to instincts. Morrison has two and often three defenders thrown at him for entire games, and he still manages to find a way to score. Not only does he have all these offensive tools, but Morrison exhibits a nearly machine-like ability to recognize defenses and take advantage of whatever he is being given. Take away his dribble drive, and he will spot up. Play him tight, and he will take the ball to the basket all night. Put a big guy on him, and he will get the step. Defend him with a smaller guard, and he will go to work in the post.

Sticking with the instincts theme, Morrison has also nearly mastered his ability to utilize screens. Many see Reggie Miller or Rip Hamilton in the way that he never stops “attacking off the ball”, and always manages to exploit the pick to the fullest. Morrison consistently makes perfectly timed backdoor cuts and will pick up a freebie around the rim the instant a defense loses a bit of focus.

Adam Morrison’ ability to read and exploit defenses in the blink of an eye, combined with his formidable shot creating tools allows him to be one of the most feared clutch scorers in the country. Morrison has earned his reputation as a guy that always hits the big shot (see games against Michigan State, Oklahoma State, Stanford), and relishes the pressure that comes with that “go-to” role. We aren’t just talking buzzer beaters, either. Morrison hits “momentum” shots, ending a run by the opposition or giving his team a boost with a 3-pointer right before halftime.

Morrison’s clutch plays don’t always show up in the scoring column, either. While he averages less than 2 assists per game, he finds his teammates at crucial moments on a regular basis. Sometimes it is just a steal or a rebound, but Morrison can almost always will Gonzaga to victory.

That will to win is just one more thing that sets Morrison apart, and adds to his national appeal. While he sometimes takes his scrappy, fiery demeanor a bit too far, Morrison is always the most competitive player on the court. He will do anything to win, and his emotional on-court displays electrify both his team and the crowd. Not only is he uniquely talented, but his intensity and flair make him the type of unique personality that will always draw people in.


1/20/05 - Jonathan Watters

Perhaps the best pure scorer at the NCAA level. Morrison Lights it up in a variety of ways, whether it be on an outside jumper, taking his man off the dribble, or fading away from fifteen. Despite his awkward looks, is quick enough to get a step on most NCAA defenders. Once he's by his man, it's as good as two points. Uses his length to take the ball all the way to the basket, finishing with a dunk or finger roll, but is more prone to pull up for a circus-style, fading jumper. Probably more comfortable shooting the ball falling away with a man in his face than he is with his set shot. Furthermore, the very Larry Bird-esque way he shoots from above his head makes it almost impossible to block his shot. As well as he creates for himself, he also knows how to create for others. Handles the ball well for his size, and will find his teammates with regularity when teams try to double him off the drive. Despite having the ball in his hands a lot, almost never commits a turnover. When he gets going, he wins games by himself. Morrison is a firey competitor, and seems to relish getting in mouthy, one-on-one challenges on the floor.

While Morrison’s dominance at the college level can’t be questioned, many still doubt how his game will translate to the next level. Morrison has a certain amount of deceptive quickness to his game, but is he a good enough athlete to be a star in the NBA?

With how hard Morrison has to work to get shots at the college level, can he create offense against the Ron Artests and Bruce Bowens of the NBA? While the caliber of defender guarding Morrison has made little difference during his time at Gonzaga, it remains to be seen whether he has the footspeed or overall athleticism to succeed as an all-around scorer at the next level.

The other hole in Adam Morrison’s game can be easily observed on the defensive end. Morrison clearly reserves most of his energy for his scoring expoits, and tends to coast on defense most of the time. Gonzaga will often switch into zone defenses so teams can’t exploit him on that end.

While Morrison has solid defensive instincts when he is focused, it is generally perceived that the lack of footspeed will really hurt in one-on-one situations on the defensive end. Morrison may very well be able to create his own shot in the NBA, but it is hard to see him being able to stay in front of the freak athletes occupying the wing position in the NBA. It is likely that whichever team ends up drafting Morrison will have to come up with a defensive gameplan that covers for Morrison’s shortcomings on that end.

As was mentioned in the strengths section, sometimes Morrison takes that fiery persona a bit too far. As the season has worn on, he has gotten much more daring in his working of the officials, and has enraged several opponents with bouts of what some would call intensity or competitiveness, but others would call showboating. This is nitpicking, but there is definitely a noticeable trend as Morrison has gone from everybody’s favorite underdog to national superstar.

The only other issue to discuss here is Morrison’s diabetes. It is hard to see the condition being a deciding factor on whether a team drafts him or not, as he has proven that he can continue to play at a high level with very little rest in the most grueling of situations. Nonetheless, you can bet that NBA teams will do their homework on what the implications of the disease could be.


1/20/06 - Jonathan Watters

Looks incredibly slow, frail, at first glance. Eventually it becomes obvoius that he's a lot more athletic than he looks, but quickness is going to be an issue in the NBA. A bit of Mike Dunleavey in him in this regard. This also hurts him at the defensive end, where he is at a severe disadvantage in terms of footspeed. Where his understanding of how to put the ball in the basket is almost surreal, Morrison has a long way to go in terms of understanding how to play defense. It's not a lack of effort, but Morrison still hasn't figured out how to be physical and disruptive on the perimeter. While his shooting stroke is as pure as you can get, he's shooting under 30% from behind the arc. However, he differs from most shooting specialists in that he doesn't rely much on the three.

Adam Morrison plays in the WCC, certainly a Mid-Major caliber conference. While he certainly doesn’t face the top competition in January or February, Gonzaga always plays a tough non-conference schedule, and Morrison’s star always shines its brightest against the toughest teams.

Morrison surprised many by averaging over 11 points per game as a freshman, on a loaded, upperclassmen-laden Gonzaga squad.

He really broke out as a sophomore, taking over the role of go-to scorer very early in the season. He scored 26 in consecutive against Illinois and Washington, and put up 24 in a nationally televised game against then-highly regarded Georgia Tech. Morrison gave everybody a preview of what was to come in March of 2005, averaging nearly 27 ppg in four games during the WCC and NCAA Tournaments. On the season, Morrison averaged 19.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg, and 2.8 apg. He shot 49.8% from the floor, 75.8 % from the line, and 31.1% from beyond the arc.

Morrison became a national sensation nearly overnight after leading Gonzaga to a thrilling 3-OT victory over Michigan State in the 2nd round of the 2005 Maui Classic. Gonzaga needed every single one of his 43 points to get the win, though Morrison has been doing his best to top that performance ever since. Whether it was his second 43-point outing of the year in a loss at Washington, his banked-in buzzer beating 3-pointer against Oklahoma State, the way he took over down the stretch against Stanford, or his 37-point second half outburst against Loyola Marymount, Morrison has an entire nation of college basketball fans wondering what he will manage to do next.

On the season (as of February 24), Morrison is averaging 29.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.6 apg, and 1.1 spg. He is shooting 51.7% from the floor, 77.9% from the line, and 44.9% from beyond the arc.

One way that Morrison can silence the critics about the competition level he faces is to lead Gonzaga on a deep NCAA Tournament run. The ‘Zags have received high seeds the last two seasons, and have gone home early both years. It appears that Mark Few’s team is in line for a top 3 seeding once again.

Adam Morrison is undoubtedly a top 5 pick, and could go as high as number one depending on which team is selecting there. Morrison isn’t a lock to be a star, but will be a very successful NBA player in the right system. There is little up in the air when it comes to Morrison’s skill level and feel for the game, but there are questions about his physical abilities on the next level. Does he have the footspeed and overall athleticism to create his own shot in the NBA? To put up a fight on defense? Opinions on Morrison probably vary greatly depending on which person is making the decisions, so his final draft position will probably be locked in only when the draft order is. If the GM with the top selection needs a wing and believes Adam Morrison can be a go-to scorer, it is hard to imagine him being passed on.


1/20/04 - Jonathan Watters

I am higher on Adam Morrison than most, but the consensus is that this guy is a future first round pick. Morrison needs to shore up his defense and continue to improve his athletic ability to succeed in the NBA. Many see him as having a Dunleavey type game in the NBA, but Dunleavey never created his shot they way that Morrison does. A potential lottery pick within the next year or two...

Morrison was a Gonzaga ballboy growing up, and much has been made of the fact that the ‘Zags was the only team to offer him a scholarship. While this may be true, it should be mentioned that Morrison was a late bloomer, and committed to the ‘Zags in the spring of his junior year. By the time Morrison had finished his high school career he was nearly cracking national Top 100 lists, and certainly would have garnered other offers had he not made the early verbal. Keep in mind that Morrison was only 6’5 at the time.

Morrison is currently averaging 29.3 ppg. If he ends up topping the 30 ppg barrier, he would be the first player to accomplish the feat since 1997. The last time a nationally known player averaged 30 ppg was in 1994, when Glenn Robinson did it for Gene Keady and Purdue.

Draft prospects in the Albuquerque bracket

Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
Mar 14, 2005, 04:09 am
There aren't many prospects rising more quickly than Adam Morrison of Gonzaga. After tearing up several of the nation's top teams early in the season, Morrison ended the season on an absolute tear. There isn't much not to like about Morrison, as he can get his shot whenever he wants it, from anywhere on the floor. The level of difficulty on many of his attempts is very high, but he still manages to shoot nearly 50%. He has great offensive instincts, and is very willing to find the open man if he draws a bit too much interest from the defense. Athletically, Morrison is much improved, perhaps even from the beginning of the season. He has relatively wide shoulders, giving hope that he can put on quite a bit of muscle. In short, he is the closest thing we have seen to an American playing a Euro-style game in quite a while. While he still needs work as a defender, a strong NCAA tourney could absolutely blow the top off of Adam Morrison's stock. While he is a surefire lotto pick in 2006, with the right moves in the tourney, he could find himself there a year early.