The Oklahoma City Thunder have now won six-straight games and hold a (14-6) record, tied for fourth in the Western Conference with the Houston Rockets. The obvious primary reason for this run has been Russell Westbrook’s relentless hustle and six-straight triple-doubles. However, a player that doesn’t stick out to the average fan has been Anthony Morrow. He’s been that piece to the puzzle that OKC was looking for to string together some wins and consistency.
Morrow has been a team player through it all and a true professional. Suiting up every game (as expected) staying ready, warming up with the same intensity as a starter would, talking to fans, befriending media members and simply keeping an all-around positive attitude through whatever circumstance he faces.
Finally, after 15 games of limited minutes, Morrow played 15 minutes and hasn’t disappointed since. In a season where fans have constantly called for a shooter in the rotation, their wishes were answered, not by a trade or the signing of a free agent, but from a Thunder reserve. In his seven-game stretch, he’s averaged 10.8 points per game and 11.3 points during this winning streak in just a shade over 20 minutes per game. Also, during this time, the Thunder average 111.4 points per game which leads the NBA.
Morrow has answered the call since Donovan decided to finally play him. This team coincidentally looks much better with him getting PT.
— A. Suave Francisco (@SuaveFrancisco_) December 6, 2016
Morrow presents that three-point threat that seemingly every quality NBA team has, whether it’s in their starting lineup or off the bench. Shooting 50.8 percent from three during the win streak, Westbrook has another weapon to incorporate in his triple-double entourage we’ve all become accustomed to. With that being said, the cry for help from the Thunder faithful may just be fixed. The craving for a trade involving Sacramento’s Rudy Gay, or Indiana’s Paul George is slowly diminishing as Morrow’s productivity increases.
The Thunder fans couldn’t be happier with Morrow right now. The crowd favorite has been in many starting lineup discussions, proposing that he starts at shooting guard, so current starter, Victor Oladipo can move back into his former sixth-man role that he played during his three years in Orlando where he really excelled.
Honestly, this may not be a bad move. Moving Oladipo to the bench would put him in the second team’s lineup with Semaj Christon at point guard, Oladipo at shooting guard, Jerami Grant at the three, Joffrey Lauvergne at power forward, and Enes Kanter at center. You have a budding distributer in Christon, a defensive presence in Grant off the bench to relieve Andre Roberson with little drop-off, a stretch four with Lauvergne, and an offensive and agile post in Kanter. Morrow in the starting lineup would help get him into an early offensive rhythm while giving the Thunder an offense boost from beyond the arc to jumpstart the game.
Expect things to remain the same as far as the starting lineup, though. This is merely a speculation that I believe could work. Billy Donovan makes millions to do his job, and his track record shows that he knows what he’s doing. As for Morrow, the narrative won’t change as long as he gets minutes. Actually, he may even get better. He’s a player that feeds off the crowd and his team’s support. He’s also a born shooter so it would be wise for Billy Donovan to continue playing him to build his confidence.
Morrow’s number will surely be called on Friday against the Houston Rockets for two reasons: Houston can’t play a lick of defense, but the score a lot. Therefore, Morrow’s three-point shooting will be beneficial for the Thunder to win.
In Oklahoma City’s early season 105-103 win over the Rockets, Morrow played just over one minute and didn’t score a basket. The only reason they pulled out that win was because of James Harden’s sub-par night. Don’t expect that to happen again. Harden averages 28.3 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 11.8 assists per game in his first season as point guard.