Anthony Morrow Shows Stephen Curry How To Shoot
The Golden State Warriors Vegas Summer League team wrapped up their season in style, with Anthony Randolph and Anthony Morrow setting Summer League scoring records on back-to-back nights.
But while many Warriors are focusing on Randolph's all-around dominance and Morrow's 47-point outburst, some are at least somewhat concerned about Stephen Curry's struggles from the field.
Kevin Durant made exactly one-third of his shots in Vegas in 2007, including an abysmal 4-for-19 from three-point range. However, free throw shooting elevated Durant's scoring average to 24 points per game.
And yes, 2007 was also the year that Marcus Banks shot over 68 percent and scored 42 points in one game. Greg Oden committed 19 fouls in two games and made 12.5 percent of his free throws, but he made nine of seventeen field goals.
But the lists of top scorers from the Vegas League in recent years contain many more decent NBA players than complete busts.
A list of 2006's top players featured a possible future All-Star (not counting Amare Stoudemire, who was on a rehab assignment) in Brandon Roy. But other top performers were no flukes either, including Randy Foye and Kevin Martin. Ryan Gomes is not a star, but he averaged over 14 points per game in the 2008-2009 regular season. John Lucas III is the only top scorer whose game hasn't materialized at all outside of Vegas.
And the top scorers from 2007 are a solid group:
Players who do well in Summer League possess either superior athleticism (Randolph) or a superior shooting ability (Morrow). It also exaggerates the talents of players such as Gerald Green and Sebastian Telfair, who can get to rim at will against inferior talent but struggle against superior competition.
On the other hand, LeBron James shot 7-of-30 in his last two summer league games in 2003, failing to make even second-team All-League despite playing on a team with Carlos Boozer and Jason Kapano.
And last year, Michael Beasley outplayed Derrick Rose in a head-to-head matchup.
So, a poor showing in summer league is nothing new, even to All-World players and No. 1 draft picks. Nevertheless, Curry has certainly looked like a dreaded "volume shooter" so far.
From his stats alone, Curry looks like a ball hog, putting up 22 shots in his highest-scoring game. The game after his 29-point effort, Curry attempted nineteen more shots, a team-high, despite more efficient shooting by Morrow, Randolph, and even Cartier Martin.
Martin, who might have played his way onto the 2009-2010 Warriors roster, took only about 12 shots per game despite the fact that he was playing for a contract.
But Martin's play highlighted the two most important facts about Curry's Summer League performance. First, Curry is shooter. Although he showed a developed touch passing the ball and had several great assists per game, Curry was drafted in the lottery due to his scoring ability.
In a real NBA game, Curry will need to use his skills in order to keep the bench players' shooting in rhythm and to stretch the floor. But Summer League, however important it might be to those for whom it's an audition, is a series of exhibition games.
Martin's ability to knock down jumpers, pass to teammates, or get to the free throw line may be important to him, the Warriors' front office, and hardcore Warriors fans.
But the majority of fans want to see Anthony Randolph dunk.
Curry's entertainment value lies in his lightning-quick release and his ability to take over a game with his shooting, as he did during Davidson's legendary 2008 NCAA Tournament run. Even though he shot poorly, Curry generated star power in Vegas, on and off the floor.
On a more practical, basketball-oriented level, Curry looked a bit rusty. He had participated in several pre-draft workouts, but he had not played in a full-length, competitive five-on-five game since Davidson's season ended.
Curry's Davidson faced down many of the top college players during his career, including Austin Daye, DaJuan Summers, Tyler Hansbrough, Mario Chalmers, and, during the past season, Blake Griffin.
Still, playing against fellow draft picks such as Tyreke Evans, even with Randolph and Morrow on his team, was probably Curry's toughest challenge since he played Duke at Cameron Indoor in January.
Regardless of the reasons for Curry's poor shooting percentage, he has shot well at the free throw line and has showcased his passing skills on several occasions. And Curry still hasn't played in an official game, and he has few NBA practices under his belt.
Many NBA scouts think highly of Curry, and he should become a good shooter in the near future. For now, Warriors fans can take solace in the fact that Morrow is the best three-point shooter in the league.
A few Summer League games don't mean much in Curry's quest to become the next Golden State Summer League alum to bring Oracle Arena fans to their feet.
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