Fallen star: Colllege success never translated to NBA for Morrison

05/14/15 by Matthew S. Vandriak

Naismith and Wooden Award finalist. Co-player of the year according to the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and Chevrolet Player of the Year. First round NBA draft pick. Sounds like a combination for professional basketball success. But for Adam Morrison, that combination didn't produce the expected results.
Playing at Gonzaga University, Morrison was considered one of the top players in the NCAA during the 2005/2006 season. That season, which was his junior year, Morrison led the nation in scoring average at 28.1 points per game. He scored 30 or more points 13 times that season. He scored 40 or more five times. He was the West Coast Conference's player of the year and a first team All American. He averaged 19.5 points per game for his career and after that monstrous junior season, Morrison decided to leave Gonzaga and turn pro.
Morrison was taken with the 3rd overall pick in the 2006 draft by the Charlotte Bobcats. But somewhere in the translation between the college and professional ranks, Morrison seemed to lose his game. He had the best season of his brief NBA career scoring wise, averaging 11.8 points per game. But he shot only 37% for the season and that, combined with defensive lapses, earned Morrison a spot on the bench half way through the 2006/2007 season.

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Morrison's second NBA season never materialized, as a torn ACL sustained in an exhibition game sidelined him for the entire 2007/2008 season. The injury may have been the beginning of the end for Morrison's NBA career. He played in only 44 games for the Bobcats in 2008/2009, averaging just 4.5 points per game while shooting 36%. He was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers in February of 2009.
While a part of 2 NBA Championship teams while in L.A., Morrison had very little role in the team's success, playing in only 2 playoff games during those 2 title seasons. He played in only 39 regular season games over two seasons with the Lakers, and didn't make a single start. He averaged 1.9 points per game during his tenure with the Lakers, and was released following the 2009/2010 season.
That would be Morrison's last season in the NBA. He was cut by the Washington Wizards prior to the 2010/2011 season and would play for parts of two seasons overseas before trying to make a comeback in 2012 with Portland. But he was waived again prior to the start of the regular season.
After a stellar college career, Morrison's time in the NBA amounted to 161 games over four seasons, averaging 7.5 points per game. With plenty of potential and expectations, Morrison never lived up the hype he was given. Was it the major knee injury that did him in? Was it the diabetes he battled since he was a teenager that finally caught up to him? Were his college stats inflated by playing against lesser competition at Gonzaga? Whatever the reason or reasons were, somehow Adam Morrison's game got lost in the translation.

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