LAS VEGAS -- The NBA Summer League is mostly meant to allow undrafted rookies and draft picks from the past few seasons to get acclimated to the NBA style of play, but occasionally some veterans make their way through Las Vegas. And occasionally those veterans just happen to be Adam Morrison, a vagabond basketball player best known for being the third overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft after a standout college career with the Gonzaga Bulldogs.
Morrison has had a pretty rough career ever since, though, spending a couple of seasons with both the Bobcats and Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA before embarking on an overseas career that's seen his talents taken to the basketball hotbeds of Serbia and Turkey before returning stateside this summer.
Morrison first resurfaced at a New Jersey Nets training camp where he looked a bit foolish. He's resurfaced looking a bit more clean cut with the Los Angeles Clippers' Summer League squad down in Vegas, but the flowing locks are still in abundance. Yours truly probably isn't qualified to give any fashion advice, however, so it's a good thing this feature is going to be about basketball.
And basketball, fortunately, is something Morrison still has a pretty good handle on -- at least when it comes to certain aspects of it, anyway.
"He can definitely help an NBA team," one NBA scout told SB Nation while watching Morrison's performance on Thursday night, "But there are a lot of teams he probably couldn't help, too. He can be an NBA player, but it's all about opportunity ... and he'd need to get that opportunity on a team that can use his skillset."
That skillset is pretty unique, too, but one Morrison showed to perfection for a second consecutive game Thursday night at the Thomas & Mack Center on the campus of UNLV. Morrison had 22 points and hit three of his four attempts from beyond the arc. Though his point total only tied Christian Eyenga of the Los Angeles Lakers for game-high honors, Morrison certainly deserved more style points for his effort.
The 6'8 wing did all of his scoring off of the dribble, hitting an array of off-balanced shots all around the perimeter as he'd weave off of screens and find just enough room to get his circus shots off all over the court. It wasn't the most efficient game -- he hit eight of his 13 attempts, but the majority of them probably would have been ill-advised for most players to attempt, as one-legged 20-foot jumpers aren't the easy buckets most coaches want their players to take -- but it sure was fun to watch.
It's not on the level of Pistol Pete Maravich or anyone else that brought flamboyancy to the game of basketball, but it's just not every day that a gangly wing player with long black hair takes -- and then makes -- ridiculous shots. It's almost enough to make one question why everyone doesn't doesn't add such shots to their arsenal considering the ease with which Morrison makes them.
Unfortunately, however, he's still a non-factor in all other facets of the game: below average on defense (though he at least seemed to care on that end (and gave ESPN's Andrew McNeill a nice quote about it), not much of a passer when he had the ball and just generally lackluster whenever he wasn't scoring the ball.
And that, I've been told, is the reason it's been hard for Morrison to find a permanent spot on an NBA roster.
"There just aren't a lot of teams interested in a player that only scores, doesn't play defense, has a bad wheel and is already 28," the scout told SB Nation. "Some teams can use what he does, but there are just too many things he doesn't do to guarantee him a spot on a team this fall."
It's true that he's probably never going to be assured an NBA roster spot due to the limitations, but it's been fun watching him try to prove he deserves that opportunity. And for the right team, maybe he does.