Tag: Anthony Morrow

Toronto Raptors v Atlanta Hawks

Lou Williams wins Sixth Man of the Year


Isaiah Thomas, Jamal Crawford and Lou Williams were the only eligible players to average at least 15 points per game.

Unsurprisingly, they filled the top three of Sixth Man of the Year voting.

But it was Williams, who ranked third with 15.5 points per game, who took the award.

Here’s the full voting with player, team (first-place votes, second-place votes, third-place votes, points):

1. Lou Williams, Toronto (78-34-10-502)

2. Isaiah Thomas, Boston (33-46-21-324)

3. Jamal Crawford, L.A. Clippers (8-18-37-131)

4. Andre Iguodala, Golden State (7-16-17-100)

5. Tristan Thompson, Cleveland (0-6-15-33)

6. Nikola Mirotic, Chicago (1-4-7-24)

7. Marreese Speights, Golden State (1-2-9-20)

9. Corey Brewer, Houston (1-1-4-12)

9. Manu Ginobili, San Antonio (0-3-3-12)

10. Taj Gibson, Chicago (1-0-3-8)

11. Aaron Brooks, Chicago (0-0-1-1)

11. Chris Kaman, Portland (0-0-1-1)

11. Anthony Morrow, Oklahoma City (0-0-1-1)

11. Dennis Schröder, Atlanta (0-0-1-1)

Williams was a strong candidate, and three of the four of us put him on our hypothetical ballots, including Kurt Helin slotting him at the top. Williams often took over the Raptors’ offense, especially late in games and quarters, and made plays. He wasn’t the most efficient, but Toronto often didn’t put him in position to be.

From top to bottom of this list, there are no egregious choices. I’d have a tough time ranking some of these players a top-three reserve this season, but at least they’re all pretty good and in a reasonable order.

That said, am I the only one who would have voted for Rudy Gobert, even if it’s just on a technicality?

Serge Ibaka and Russell Westbrook go wild after Anthony Morrow 3-pointer (video)

Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka, Draymond Green
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Anthony Morrow made a 3-pointer in the Thunder’s win over the Pacers, and Serge Ibaka loved it:

Russell Westbrook might have loved it even more:

(hat tips: @gifdsports and @ThunderObsessed)

Three Things We Learned in NBA Tuesday Night: The West old guard of Spurs, Thunder looking good

Oklahoma City Thunder v Sacramento Kings

If you watch closely every night in the NBA you can learn a little something. We know you are busy and can’t keep up with every game, so we’re here to help with those lessons from another night in the Association. Here’s what you missed after buying a bacon scented lottery scratcher

1) Oklahoma City is starting to get it together. I talked about this on PBT Extra — the Thunder need to get hot now, not later, if they want to make the playoffs because the Suns are not coming back to the pack. (Yes, Phoenix has a tough schedule the next few weeks, but the team’s schedule also is home heavy the rest of the season and Phoenix is already on a 47-win pace.) Oklahoma City is doing just that — the Thunder have won 4-of-5 and while the Miami Heat did not make it easy Tuesday night the Thunder got 19 each out of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook and that was enough. However, the real key was the bench — on a night Dion Waiters couldn’t throw a pea in the ocean (1-of-9), Reggie Jackson (remember him?) stepped up with 16 points including 7 in the fourth quarter to help seal the win, while Anthony Morrow pitched in a dozen. The Thunder still have three games to make up on the Suns but they are starting to hit their stride and that should scare the rest of the West. So should the dunk fest Durant and Russell Westbrook put on:

2) Ernie Johnson is the best. After the Thunder beat the Miami Heat, Russell Westbrook did an interview with NBA TV, Ernie Johnson was in the studio and asked the brilliant questions (based on this).

3) Kawhi Leonard is back and the Spurs are starting to look like the Spurs. As Jeff McDonald of the Express-News noted, the Spurs are suddenly 3-0 since Kawhi Leonard got back. It’s not a coincidence. Leonard had 17 points and 15 rebounds in a vintage Spurs win over the Nuggets — Denver hung around for three quarters, then the Spurs took their execution to another level and Denver couldn’t hang. Leonard brings another shooter, an increased level of athleticism, and quality perimeter defense to the table. The Spurs are better than any other team in the league of just saying “the next guy has to step up” after an injury, but some guys are just harder to replace than others and Leonard is not a guy they can easily replace.

Dion Waiters says he was held back with Cavaliers

Dion Waiters, Jeremy Lamb, Kendrick Perkins

After being traded from the Cavaliers to the Thunder, Dion Waiters selected jersey No. 23 – which some saw as a possible message to LeBron James.

Waiters in a Q&A with the media, as transcribed by Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman:

Why you wearing 23?

They didn’t have any numbers. I wanted 3, I wanted 1. They didn’t have that. So I said, OK, I’m gonna take 13 because I wanted 1, they didn’t have 1. Then 13, they didn’t want me to wear 13. 23, I didn’t want to wear 23. My favorite number is 3. They just gave me 23.

You remember who wore 13?

Yeah, James (Harden). So they didn’t want me to wear 13. Guess they wanted me to have my own identity. We gonna make 23 look good though.

In Cleveland and at Syracuse, Waiters wore No. 3, which Perry Jones has in Oklahoma City. The franchise also retired No. 1 for former Seattle SuperSonic Gus Williams.

Harden’s No. 13 obviously isn’t retired, but you can see why the Thunder wouldn’t want Waiters to wear it. You can see why they wouldn’t want any reminders of Harden.

Trading Harden to the Rockets rather than offering him a max contract extension is Sam Presti’s biggest mistake. Harden has turned into an MVP candidate in Houston, and “What if?” questions plague Oklahoma City.

Waiters stylistically follows Harden as the Thunder’s bench scorer, but Waiters won’t come close to matching Harden’s production.

Along those lines, Waiters also spoke about more substantive issues. Via Slater:

Have they seen you, really get to see you do what you could do?

Nah, I’ve always been like held back a little bit from really reaching and showing what I can do. I think last year I got a chance to do that when guys went down and I was able to show what I can do in that time.

Here’s the problem with Waiters: His natural style works best as the centerpiece of an offense, but he’s nowhere near good enough to be a centerpiece of an offense.

Yes, Waiters averaged 21.2 points, shooting 45.7 percent from the field and 35.2 percent on 3-pointers, and 4.2 assists per game while starting Cleveland’s final 15 games last season. And yes, the Cavaliers went a pretty-good-for-them 7-8 while outscoring opponents by 30 points.

But the more you watch Waiters, those numbers seem unsustainable over a larger sample. He obviously plays better when his team’s strategy is geared toward him, but that’s true of everyone in the league. Few players justify that treatment, though, and Waiters isn’t one of them.

It’s hard to see Waiters fitting well with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in the starting lineup. For it to happen, the Thunder would absolutely need to hold back Waiters.

He works better off the bench, where he’ll have more control of the offense. Andre Roberson – a low-usage, defense-first wing – fits better as a starter.

Still, even if playing mostly with a reserve unit, Waiters will be playing with other capable scorers like Reggie Jackson and Anthony Morrow. The sooner Waiters realizes he should hold back some of his natural game, the better off he and the Thunder will be.

Dion Waiters would be happy to win Sixth Man of the Year

Dion Waiters, Luol Deng

Dion Waiters wants to start. He’s never hidden that.

But pulled from the Cavaliers starting lineup for Shawn Marion (or maybe, soon enough, Joe Harris), Waiters seems to be embracing his new role.

He’s even discussing Sixth Man of the Year.

Waiters, via Chris Haynes of Northeast Ohio Media Group:

“I would be very grateful, thankful for the opportunity [to win the award],” Waiters told Northeast Ohio Media Group. “I’ve just got to keep doing what I’m doing. Hopefully we can keep winning and I’m able to walk away with it.”

“I’m a leading scorer on the bench, I’m a leading scorer in the starting five,” he said with a dead-serious expression on his face. “It doesn’t matter. You know what I’m saying.”

In context, it seems Waiters was asked about the award rather than bringing it up. So, let’s not blindly criticize him for arrogantly putting himself in the race.

I don’t expect him to win Sixth Man of the Year – or deserve to. Beyond not fitting in a starting lineup with LeBron James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving, Waiters is not the caliber of the league’s top reserves.

Waiters’ strength is scoring, and he’s averaging 12.2 points per game since becoming a backup. That’s tied for ninth in the league among players who’ve come off the bench a majority of their games:

Player Team PPG
Jamal Crawford LAC 19.0
Michael Carter-Williams PHI 16.0
Ryan Anderson NOP 15.8
Isaiah Thomas PHO 15.6
Gerald Green PHO 13.9
A.J. Price IND 13.0
Anthony Morrow OKC 13.0
Manu Ginobili SAS 12.2
Gary Neal CHA 12.2
Dion Waiters CLE 12.2
John Jenkins ATL 12.0
Mario Chalmers MIA 12.0
Giannis Antetokounmpo MIL 11.8
Amar’e Stoudemire NYK 11.1
O.J. Mayo MIL 11.1

Waiters doesn’t have the secondary skills of a few players above him on that list, either.

But, as the second part of his quote showed, Waiters still has plenty of confidence. As long as he understands how to balance that confidence with embracing his place on the team, he’ll do just fine as a reserve – Sixth Man of the Year or not.