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NBA AM: Morrow Confident in Nets’ Future
Posted By Alex Kennedy On September 28, 2011 @ 4:59 am In All,Main Page,NBA | No Comments
Anthony Morrow isn’t letting the lockout slow down his development. The 26-year-old is working hard to expand his game and being productive with his time off. Morrow’s 2010-11 campaign ended prematurely due to a knee injury, but now he’s healthy and ready for the season to get underway.
“I’ve been working out with Dion Glover down in Atlanta,” Morrow told HOOPSWORLD in a phone interview. “We’ve been working on a lot of different things, from shooting to one-on-one moves to conditioning to shots off the dribble to shots off of screens. I’m just trying to do anything I can to improve and build off of what I can already do. After that, we’ve been playing pick-up. There are a lot of pros down here and we’ve been having some really good runs. It’s been really good. I’m preparing for the season, doing my workouts and getting to spend some time with my family during the lockout.”
Last summer, Morrow inked a three-year, $12 million deal with the New Jersey Nets and spent this past season adjusting to his new surroundings. After getting comfortable, Morrow solidified himself as the team’s third-leading scorer by averaging 13.2 points and flourished as the starting shooting guard.
“It was good. At first, it was kind of tough to adjust because it was a new team, new system and new coach. I had to get used to the new situation, but overall, it was a lot of fun. Once I got adjusted in New Jersey – got used to the weather and everything like that – it was cool,” Morrow said.
Just when he was starting to get comfortable, the Nets decided to shake things up with their blockbuster trade for Deron Williams. While it forced the team to make midseason adjustments and learn on the fly, Morrow wouldn’t have had it any other way. Few players benefited from Williams’ arrival as much as Morrow did, and he can’t wait to play a full year alongside the star point guard.
“That was another experience that was tough at first, but getting Deron was one of the best things that could have happened to me,” Morrow said. “From that point on, I did well. I think the very next game after the trade, I scored 25 points with him running the offense. He’s just made things so much easier for me and for everybody else too. He’s a dynamic point guard and he’s able to make the game easier for everybody around him. We improved with him in a short period of time. Now, we’re going to have him from the start of the season until the end of the season and I can’t wait. It worked out really well and we were just glad to get a guy that’s so down to earth and knows how to play the game. He can help us get better and we can help him as well.”
Morrow and Williams instantly developed chemistry and became friends. They clicked on the court and have remained in contact with one another this offseason. Now, there’s the possibility that they could reunite overseas. Williams signed with the Turkish club Besiktas earlier this summer, but the team has made it clear that they’re still looking for another NBA-caliber guard. Morrow is open to the idea of playing overseas and would love to join Williams in Turkey if the opportunity presents itself.
“I would definitely consider it,” Morrow said. “I wouldn’t rule that out. I think I speak for a lot of guys when I say we just want to play basketball. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s about. I love this game so much. If the right offer came from a team overseas, and it happened to be Deron’s team, I would love to go over there and play.”
Whenever the lockout does come to an end, Morrow will be completely focused on the Nets. After winning just 24 games last season, he has high expectations for the team entering this year. Morrow has been in the league for three years, but he’s never been on a playoff team. He believes that will change this season.
“That’s definitely the goal, to make the playoffs, and I feel like we can do it,” Morrow said. “I feel like we will do it. That’s easier said than done, but I think we have the right pieces to move forward and make that happen. We’ll have Deron for a full year. We drafted Marshon [Brooks] and Jordan [Williams], who can help us. All of the guys who have been here are continuing to develop and gaining experience with each other and the system. I think we’re going to be fine and we definitely have a chance to make the playoffs. We realize what we have to do. Coach [Avery] Johnson is a great coach, probably a future Hall of Fame coach. He’s a great motivator. Billy King is doing a great job. We have everyone we need. We’re going to be good.”
While that’s easy to say in September, Morrow is looking forward to backing up the talk when the season starts. The adjustment period is over, now it’s time to start winning.
Introducing Team Atlanta: One of the only upsides to this NBA lockout has been the star-studded exhibition games that players have organized in recent months. Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and many other players have been touring the country and playing in these regional battles every few weeks. Baltimore, Philadelphia, Indiana and many other cities have been represented, and even more teams continue to emerge.
The newest challenger is Team Atlanta, which is still in the process of being assembled, but could be stacked if all of the pieces come together.
“Right now, we’re trying to get a little ‘Team Atlanta’ together so that we can go play against some of these other teams,” Morrow said. “Everyone is kind of out of town right now, but hopefully we can do that.”
Morrow has been working out with Josh Smith, Jarrett Jack and Louis Williams in Atlanta, and they’ll try to recruit the area’s top players such as Dwight Howard, J.J. Hickson, Al Thornton, Jordan Hill, Derrick Favors, Al-Farouq Aminu, Kwame Brown, Josh Powell, Jodie Meeks, Toney Douglas and Jarvis Hayes among others.
“We’ll have everyone that’s training with us right now and whoever else we can get,” Morrow said. “That’s been the fun thing about these games. It’s cool that we have the big name guys still here, keeping basketball in America and doing it for the love of the game. We’re going to keep playing for our fans. Not that there’s anything wrong with going overseas, I completely understand that line of thinking. But its cool having guys like Chris Paul, LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony staying around here and doing things like that.”
Atlanta’s NBA players are a tight-knit group so it shouldn’t be difficult to assemble the team. If Howard plays, this would be the first exhibition game he has participated in since the lockout commenced. While many of these travel teams have been dominated by guards, Team Atlanta would have plenty of talent down low, with Howard and Smith playing side-by-side for the first time since AAU ball in high school.
The group is still ironing out the kinks, but if they are able to put together a roster, Team Atlanta would be worth watching.
News and Notes: Here are some overseas news and notes…
• Sebastian Telfair has received plenty of interest from teams overseas, but he’s not considering signing abroad at the moment. Telfair turned down several offers from European teams last week and he’s also passed on offers from Chinese teams. Rather than play overseas, he’ll continue to work out at Impact Basketball in Las Vegas for the duration of the lockout. Telfair has been working out twice a day, seven days a week as he prepares for free agency.
• Deron Williams suited up for Besiktas yesterday as they faced off against Belgium’s Dexia Mons-Hainaut in a EuroCup qualifier. In Williams’ first meaningful game with the Turkish club, Besiktas got the eight-point win and their new superstar chipped in 15 points and 9 assists. However, Williams was described as looking “very out of shape” by Jonathon Givony of DraftExpress.com.
• DeJuan Blair also made his international debut on Tuesday, playing his first game with BC Krasnye Krylya Samara in Russia. His debut was much better, as his team won by 20 points. Blair contributed 23 points and 11 rebounds in 26 minutes.
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