nicknames

Play Like There’s No ToMORROW

By: Ross Geiger

Morrow's the best signing the Nets made all summer

Each NBA offseason, signings and minor trades happen that quite frankly go unacknowledged and rightfully so. This year was no different with many deals reached based solely on the decision to save money during tough times or to save up for future free agents. But one trade in particular that can be labeled as “minor” demands some note righty involves a team which struck out this summer.

The New Jersey Nets swapped a future second-round draft pick on July 13th and return received Anthony Morrow from the Golden State Warriors. Morrow, a former undrafted NBA prospect has quickly become one of the league’s bright young sharp shooters. A career 47% shooter from long range, Morrow has packed his bags taking his game to a Nets team that was begging for the services he offers nightly.

To top it all off, the departure of Courtney Lee is simple reflection Terrence Williams’s impressive summer improvements and of course the addition of Morrow into their rotation. While Williams is the front-runner for starting shooting guard spot on opening night, there very well could be a change of plans as early as within the first handful of games. As mentioned in a recent post, Williams is an ultimate sixth man off any bench in the league with his ability to play multiple positions. One important ability that Williams lacks is an outside spot-up shot.

Morrow is a volume, shot friendly shooter that stretches the opposing defenses as well as help star guard Devin Harris and even Williams tally up the assists. Nets fans will soon realize and strangely appreciate two things about Morrow brings to the table no matter the opponent. He’s never seen a shot he didn’t like and he plays at such a high level as if there virtually was no tomorrow.

The 24 year-old nicknamed “A-Mo” is a hungry player with a huge chip that continues to rest on his shoulder; even more so then ever after proving himself as a member of the Warriors and being flipped for something as small as future second rounder. The move to New Jersey can be seen as trade that benefits both worlds as both the Nets and Morrow have a land of opportunity to grow together.

Morrow must've majored in "Opportunity" at Georgia Tech

Attending Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), Morrow has mastered the gift of opportunities. His first start with the Warriors went from a Don Nelson experiment to memorable night in the NBA World on July 25, 2008. Morrow torched the Los Angeles Clippers that night with a video game type box score, dropping 37 points connecting on an unbelievable 15-20 attempts. It’s impressive enough that Morrow set an NBA record putting up the most points ever scored in a game by an undrafted player in his rookie, but as the cherry on top he also grabbed 11 rebounds to go along with the 37 points.

From that point forward, there was no looking back for Morrow going onto to finish the 2008-2009 season as the first rookie and first Warrior ever to lead the league in three-point field goal percentage, hitting 86 of just 184 attempts.

Heading into next season, the Nets hope and expect much of the same from their newest acquisition. The expectations and production have changed in the matter of just one quick year in the league for Morrow. But one thing has yet to change, he’ll continue to do what he does best. Prove the doubters wrong shot after shot, opportunity after opportunity, and do so playing like there’s no tomorrow.

Morrow lives on in New Jersey next season

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Stephen Strasburg’s Debut

Imagine your first day at your dream job. For as perfect as it might have seemed, it was not as good as Stephen Strasburg’s debut tonight. There is more to it than his numbers, but we should look at the numbers at the very least

7 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 14 K, 0 BB

There were no empty seats this time, except for the standing ovation he got.

Obviously the first thing that jumps off the page is 14 strikeouts. Now strikeouts are a very overrated statistic for non-strikeout pitchers, but as Strasburg is a guy who is a strikeout pitcher, it is a very good sign. The goose egg next to “walks” is also extremely impressive. A lot of guys who debut in the majors as strikeout artists have control issues. One guy who comes to mind who is recent is Clayton Kershaw (who is separated from Strasburg by only 4 months). He is really talented but has control issues, and it keeps his walk numbers up and his innings count down since he is throwing so many pitches. That is not Strasburg. He throws strikes consistently, with all 3 pitches, and with location on those strikes. You cannot ask for too much more out of a pitcher, but if he gives you 98 mph in the 7th inning, then you can take that as a bonus. As far as the number show, nothing but praise for Strasburg.

W

“W” as in win. He got the win for his team. I understand that there is some luck involved in getting wins as a pitcher since you cannot really control the offense’s production, but when it comes to an organization like the Nationals, it is important. A win means an energized fan base, a good sign for Strasburg personally and a signal to fans that he will not just be out there as a great talent, but a guy who can help them win. It is not entirely in his hands, but too often, statisticians overlook the influence a pitcher can have on the team as a whole. Roy Halladay in Toronto comes to mind as a good example. You can give him the ball and the pressure is off the team. They know they only have to get a few across and everything will be taken care of. Strasburg can take the pressure off a team that is not used to the pressures that comes with winning.

Intangibles

Stephen Strasburg got into a jam in the 4th inning. Men on 1st and 2nd with no outs, and Garrett Jones at the plate. The fact that he got the groundball he needed was impressive, but the really impressive part is coming up. He got the double play, and then faced Delwyn Young with Neil Walker on 3rd. Strasburg threw a changeup with pretty good location, but caught a little too much of the plate. Delwyn Young didn’t destroy it, but he got just enough oomph on it to launch it over the right field wall.

How will he respond? Is it a sign of things to come tonight? Is he tough enough to get back on track?

Very well, no, and yes to answer those questions.

After giving up his first runs as a major leaguer, and first home run, Stephen Strasburg looked about as rattled as the guards at Buckingham Palace. He toed the rubber, and went back to work, getting a weak popup from Andy LaRoche. The Pirates did not know it, and neither did I, but after that home run, Stephen Strasburg was going into Beast Mode. He struck out 8 of the next 10 batters he faced and did not allow a baserunner. He gave up that home run, and not only did he not crack, he got better. How many rookies in any sport can you say that about, let alone how hyped they are. I cannot think of many, and even fewer when you add the hype and the sport. Just phenomenal. It was genuinely a privilege to watch.

Keep an eye on him throughout his next few starts, including possibly a start against the lowly Indians in an interleague showdown. Look at the numbers, but if you can, watch him. There is more to this kid than his gaudy numbers. There is a pitcher out there, not just a thrower.

Get ready, DC, the Federal Fireballer/Flamethrower is here.

The Federal Flamethrower is born.

2010 NBA Finals Game 1 Preview

Boston Celtics at Los Angeles Lakers- 9 ET ABC

Being a man who possesses an ultimate passion for the NBA game, it’s always quite ironic that the NBA Finals begins a day or two before or after my birthday on June 4th. This year it falls just one day short of being the perfect present, but for good reason. While this NBA Finals should be an interesting one, it’s all but what I would’ve hoped for.

While I could be crazy, I truthfully believe the day my team makes the NBA Finals, the NBA will just so happen to start the series on my special day which will surely be a sign to what’s to come.

But nonetheless, this year’s NBA Finals is battle amongst two teams with a great history, the Celtics vs. the Lakers.

Can Kobe earn that first ring wearing #24?

The Lakers led behind arguably the best player in the game, Kobe Bryant. A championship season would bring Kobe his fourth ring and the all-so-important first ring without Shaquille O’Neal.

The Celtics led behind long-time team catalyst, Paul Pierce. Let “The Truth” be told, if Pierce can capture his second ring, he must go down as one of the greatest Celtics of all-time. Many might even argue that Pierce has already earned that honor, but a second ring definitely solidifies it.

Throughout this year’s playoffs, the Los Angeles Lakers have been nearly unstoppable at home. For them to really give themselves a shot at winning the series, they really need to protect their home court in the opening two games of the series. The Celtics have done a great job stealing road games, swinging home court advantage their way, and then never looking back. I believe it’s the Celtics year to win it all if they’re able to take one of two in Los Angeles, sending a split series back to Boston.

Paul Pierce will continue to be the Paul Pierce we’ve come to know. Kevin Garnett will need to do a heck of a job on Pau Gasol. Ray Allen will help lead the charge in delivering the daggers from outside the perimeter, and Rajon Rondo will have his official, “OMG, Coming Out Party”.

Go Ahead: Roll Out the Red Carpet, It's Time for Rondo's Coming Out Party, Finals MVP Here He Comes

I predict that Rondo will be the difference maker in the series, he’ll tally a couple triple-doubles, and be the deciding factor that helps his Boston Celtics team take the Lakers down in 6 games. If the Celtics win the NBA Championship, then Rajon Rondo will win the Finals MVP Award.

If I’m dead wrong and the Lakers come out on top, I see the Finals MVP going to the Kobe Bryant’s running mate, Pau Gasol. But let’s get one thing straight, the Celtics realize this is their final stand as a group on the brink of claiming yet another NBA title together. Next year, regardless to their NBA Finals success, this team will be broken up. Of all the Celtics that know what’s currently at stake is Kevin Garnett. Having already neared and arguably passed his prime, Garnett’s hungry for one more ring that he’ll earn with his significant contributions. One last time for “The Big Ticket” to seriously be a big ticket on the biggest stage, if he needs any motivation, my advice to him would to be look at Rasheed Wallace. Sheed was in a similar position a few years back with the Pistons. With a much more experienced Celtics bench, I think they’ll get the job done, even if it’s on the road in Game 1.

Celtics- 101 Lakers- 95

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