2015-2016 Season Grades: Anthony Morrow

Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports /

Anthony Morrow might be the forgotten man of the Oklahoma City Thunder season. Cameron Payne certainly has a claim to the title, but as a rookie, his minutes would always be spotty. Morrow factored into the team’s plans heading into the season, but it hasn’t exactly worked out that way. Why exactly is that?

#FreeAnthonyMorrow has become a popular term amongst the Twittersphere, as their frustration has grown with Morrow’s minutes inconsistent and sometimes deteriorating to the point where he disappeared from the rotation altogether. Morrow played 68 games for the season, averaging only 13.6 minutes per game for the season.

At the beginning of the season, Morrow had the potential to be a key piece of the Thunder’s season, with his sharpshooting from outside offering serious spacing and issues for opposing defenses. However that was never truly realized, and he only spent 50 minutes on court with the starters (Steven AdamsSerge IbakaKevin DurantRussell Westbrook).

Taking further look into Morrow’s season, why haven’t things panned out for him? Let’s take a look as part of our season grades.


Scoring has never been a problem for Morrow. Right from his rookie season when he shot 47 percent from deep, the shooting guard has been able to make an impact from the perimeter. Although limited in other aspects, there’s always a place in the league for a man with Morrow’s talents.

All the major lineups Morrow appeared in dominated on the offensive end, with the Ibaka-Durant-Dion Waiters-Morrow-Westbrook lineup posting a +40.5 net rating and 141.6 offensive rating. It would not be a surprise to see this group feature more in small ball lineups during the playoffs.

The main problem for Morrow all season long was the very difficult exercise of maintaining shooting rhythm whilst playing spotty rotation minutes. Through the start of the season to the end of January, he shot between 40 and 44 percent from three, an excellent number. In that time his minutes varied between 13.5 and 17.9 per game, a solid number.

However from February that all changed and his minutes dropped as low as 8.6 per game in March. In February he shot 29 percent from the field and just 26 percent from deep, and March didn’t get much better. Whilst his field goal percentage was back up at 43, his shot from the perimeter still struggled at 32 percent. But playing only 8.6 minutes per game makes that difficult.

That’s really the tale of his season. Here are some of his key numbers:

  • In 13.6 minutes per game, Morrow averaged 5.6 points on 41-39-74 (fg%-3pt%-ft%) percent shooting splits.
  • Morrow was shooting 41 percent from deep before the All-Star break, but only 34 percent afterwards. As a result, his net rating was a +7.0 pre All-Star, but a -7.0 after the break.
  • The Thunder posted an offensive rating of 114.0 with Morrow on the floor, including a +4.0 net rating for the season.
  • He also shot 44 percent from the field and 38 percent from deep in situations where the margin was 5 points or less, showing his usefulness in close games.
  • Disappointingly, the offence was only +0.3 better per 100 possessions with Morrow on the floor. This deteriorated as the season went along, as detailed above.


This is the point of controversy with Morrow. The guard is exposed so easily defensively that Donovan has been hesitant to use him consistently when teams try to exploit his weaknesses on that end. His defensive rating is the fifth worst on the team, and is evidence of why Billy Donovan has had issue with playing Morrow so regularly.

Opposing offenses such as Golden State, for an elite example, can simply switch Morrow in the pick and roll into a bad mismatch. The problem with this is lots of teams can do this to him. He lacks the wingspan necessary to be a good defender, and he does not possess a heap of lateral quickness.

The Thunder’s opponents post an offensive rating of 108.5 when Morrow is on the floor, and that drops to 104.9 when he sits. That is a team representative number of course, but it is telling that the defense improves when he sits. That leaves Morrow with a negative on/off court rating of -3.2, which does not bode well for him.

Morrow is a popular teammate, but it hasn’t helped him crack the rotation consistently. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports
Morrow is a popular teammate, but it hasn’t helped him crack the rotation consistently. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports /

Morrow still has a year to run on his three-year, $10 million contract he signed in the summer of 2014. He got minutes in the blowout win over Dallas (proper minutes, not just garbage minutes) and he’s a great teammate who has not kicked up a fuss with the lack of minutes he has received at times.

Whether he can make an impact in the post season remains to be seen, but in the right lineup he might just be a difference maker.

Grade: B-

All statistics from Basketball-Reference.com unless otherwise stated.