NBA All-Star Weekend has come and gone and it was a fun three days. The dunk contest — possibly the worst ever — was the only thing that failed to live up to the hype. I’ll be posting some thoughts on the different events today and tomorrow. Here’s the first:
The Rookie Challenge: An entertaining game, though I always become bored after a bit with the no-defense, all-offense form of basketball played in these games (that goes for the All-Star game, too).
I thought that DeJuan Blair was spectacular. It’s not easy in games like these for a big man to shine because they’re usually fast-paced and guard-oriented. But Blair was a force that the sophomores couldn’t contain. That’s nothing to discount because the sophomore big men were an impressive lot (the Nets’ Brook Lopez, the Grizzlies’ Marc Gasol and the Timberwolves’ Kevin Love).
I thought Warriors guard Stephen Curry played well, but I expected more. He didn’t assert himself on offense and that’s what you need to do to excel in a game like this.
It did make me wonder if Curry is too passive at times. He defers to his more veteran and assertive teammate (Monta Ellis) with the Warriors, and he did the same in the rookie game, allowing the Kings’ Tyreke Evans to run the offense much of the time. Not surprisingly, Evans’ scored 26 points and got most of the publicity for the rookies’ win.
Curry’s 14 points was nice, but I wanted to see more from him. It will be interesting to see if Curry can break out of his shell a little more and assert himself on his own team in the second half of the season. I don’t blame him for deferring to his veteran teammates in the first half of the season, especially considering he’s a rookie, but at this point, Curry is the most important player on the Warriors. It would nice to see his confidence and leadership match his talent moving forward.
Anthony Morrow also played in the game, and played well off the bench for the sophomores. I didn’t expect as much from Morrow as from Curry, so his performance — taking advantage of what the defense and the parameters of the game allowed him — was good enough for me. He earned some decent minutes (26) and made the most of it with 15 points on 7-of-12 shooting.
I think this is what we need to see from Morrow going forward with the Warriors. He’s not starting material; his defense is too suspect and most of the time he doesn’t provide anything but shooting. But when he is confident, his shooting can be a major benefit to the Warriors. Coming off the bench, he can really spread the floor on offense.
Morrow needs to come out and play hard every minute he’s on the floor and he needs to shoot the ball without hesitation. Shooting is the reason he’s in the NBA and it’s the reason he’ll get minutes with the Warriors. He can’t be afraid to shoot it; that’s his job. He has played well since he came back from injury and he showed well in the rookie game, so hopefully he’ll keep it going in the second half of the season (and beyond).
Coming a little later: Curry’s impressive showing in the 3-point shootout and a snore of a dunk contest.