Ziggin' and Zaggin': What Happened to Adam Morrison?
Three years ago Adam Morrison was one of the most sought-after players in basketball. If ever you needed an example of the all-too-rapid passage of time, let that be it.
Morrison, one of the greatest Zags in team history, was the third overall selection in the 2006 NBA Draft. Taken by the Charlotte Bobcats, the expectations for Morrison were increased even more by the fact that he was Michael Jordan's first draft choice in his front office role for the Bobcats.
With the seal of approval from MJ, there was no way that Morrison could fail, right?
Well, between then and now, Morrison has gone from one of the most hyped college players in recent memory to one of the greatest busts in NBA draft history.
People compared him to Larry Bird. Now he looks more like Big Bird (that is when the Lakers let him dress, which hasn't been often).
Morrison was supposed to become one of the most prolific scorers in the league. He's averaging just under nine points per game for his career, and that number is inflated by the high number of minutes and shots he got during his rookie season in Charlotte.
Now, the Adam Morrison/JJ Reddick matchup that fans so desperately wanted to see during their senior seasons at Gonzaga and Duke has come to fruition in the NBA Finals. A finals where neither player is likely to see any meaningful playing time, barring the rest of the team getting in a pileup on the 405.
So what happened to Adam?
The short answer would be that he simply isn't good enough to hack it in the NBA, but there are certainly a few other factors that have led the promising Adam Morrison of 2006 to become the Adam Morrison of 2009, who has been relegated off the bench and into the first row with a suit on.
The first explanation for Morrison's fall is that he was simply over-hyped in college.
Morrison and Reddick were a great story for college basketball. Two players from two of the top basketball programs in the country, competing back and forth to win the nation's scoring title, an honor usually reserved for a player you've never heard of, from a school you couldn't identify if you were placed in the student union.
It's easy to see why all the major sports networks and magazines would jump at the story. But looking back, all that did was inflate the publicity and press behind Morrison. Then, once people started comparing him to Larry Legend, Morrison was all but done.
Another reason for Morrison's professional failures is the GU system itself. Gonzaga runs a very high tempo offense and Morrison hasn't been able to adapt himself to the pro offense of the NBA.
I mean, if he couldn't handle what Charlotte was running, what are the chances that he catches on to Phil Jackson's offense?
Morrison also seems to lack the intensity and physicality that it takes to be successful in the NBA. (Perhaps that should be a warning to current Zag Austin Daye, who seems all but a sure thing to stay in this month's draft.)
Morrison has not as of yet been able to consistently get himself open and find decent shots. But he doesn't afford himself the opportunity to improve on the offensive end of the court because his liability as a defender makes him practically unplayable.
Still, Morrison is a young player and now that the expectations for his career have gone from impossibly high to reasonably low, maybe there's something there that can still be salvaged.
Given the right opportunity in the right system, maybe Morrison can find the form that once made him one of the most exciting players in college basketball.
But I'm not holding my breath.
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