Atlanta Hawks: Morrow and Muhammad reunited

Vivlamore reporting before Hawks practice this morning.

Here is the story I wrote on Anthony Morrow and Isama’il Muhammad that will appear in the Sunday print edition of the AJC:

Two of the newest Hawks return to Atlanta with their alma mater literally serving as the backdrop for next phase of their basketball careers.

Only now, student has become teacher.

Anthony Morrow stepped on the campus of Georgia Tech as a freshman for the 2004-05 collegiate season. He was taken under the wing of senior Isma’il Muhammad. All these years later, the two have been reunited in Hawks training camp. Here it’s Morrow, the veteran of four NBA seasons, guiding Muhammad, still trying to make a roster after crossing the globe in pursuit of his dream.

“It’s funny but it’s easy because we are friends off the court,” Muhammad said of the juxtaposition. “It doesn’t make it too weird but it is funny that I showed him the ropes and now he’s the veteran and I’m the rookie.”

Morrow first earned a spot with the Warriors after being undrafted out of Tech. The sharp-shooter led the NBA in 3-point percentage as a rookie, the first in league history. He is ninth on the all-time 3-point percentage list. Morrow was traded to the Nets and returned to Atlanta this offseason as part of the Joe Johnson trade.

Muhammad’s path back to Atlanta has been strewn with twists and turns. He has played professionally in Iceland, France, Saudi Arabia, Colombia, New Zealand and Venezuela. He is one of 19 players in camp and one of six competing for perhaps two roster spots.

Morrow is one of the 13 players with a guaranteed contract.

“Every day,” Morrow said when asked if he reflects on just how far he has come. “First of all I thank God for it every day. Being undrafted and going through so much at Tech, having a solid career and some of the best times of my life at Tech, just having an opportunity to go play in the NBA after that was a huge blessing for me and my family.”

Morrow credits former coaches, including Paul Hewitt and assistant Charlton Young at Tech, and his family for his success and working to him an NBA player. There is a big nod to Muhammad.

“[Muhammad] has been like a big brother to me since my freshman year,” Morrow said. “Him being here, it’s funny how things turn out. It’s great to have him on the team and around. He has always been somebody to push me and he’s still pushing me now in training camp. It’s a good situation to be in. I’m really proud of him and I know he’s proud of me.”

Morrow said he was at first troubled by the notion of being traded for a third time. He thought he’d found a home with the Nets and was ready to make an impact. However, when Morrow found out his destination was Atlanta, he said a weight was lifted off his shoulders. He was coming home.

Morrow appeared in 62 games last season for the Nets, including 18 starts. He averaged 12 points, two rebounds and one assist in 26.4 minutes. He scored 20 or more points 10 times, including a career-high 42 points, against the Timberwolves on Feb. 3. In that game, he went 8-for-11 from 3-point range.

With a career 3-point average of .426 (442-for-1,037), he trails only Steve Kerr, Hubert Davis, Stephen Curry, Drazen Petrovic, Steve Novak, Jason Kapono, Tim Legler and Steve Nash on the NBA’s all-time list. Not bad company for a player who went undrafted.

“I think I was,” Morrow said when asked if he always thought of himself as a proficient long-range shooter. “I shot a pretty high percentage all throughout college. It’s always different at this level. I just had to prove it. … I was ready to get my opportunity and I took advantage of it.”

- Chris Vivlamore

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46 comments Add your comment

Hawks Blog Legend Worldwide Clyde

October 5th, 2012
9:05 am

BIG IVAN FOR PRESIDENT

MsDee

October 5th, 2012
9:05 am

JOE JOHNSON: I DIDNT BURN ATLANTA

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Joe Johnson wanted to set the record straight on Thursday, telling reporters that he never asked out of Atlanta.

“Everybody thinks I made this trade,” the Nets’ shooting guard said. “I had nothing to do with it.

“Every time I run into somebody when I’m in Atlanta, they ask me, ‘Why did you leave?’
I didn’t have nothing to do with it. I’m just glad that I came to a great organization and a team who wants to win.”

Johnson, who was acquired by the Nets in a blockbuster trade, was originally asked if he thought he’d be booed when he returned to Atlanta. The Hawks host the Nets on Jan. 16.

“It’ll probably be some boos, it’ll probably be some cheers,” he replied. “I have no idea, man. What do you think?”

doc

October 5th, 2012
9:11 am

ms dee, i will cheer jj if i am there, solid guy and contributor. asg made the mistakes not jj.

go bees!

MsDee

October 5th, 2012
9:18 am

doc,

I agree..he is a solid guy and pretty good ball player. My hangup with him is how he is handling us as Atlanta Hawks in itself. No positive feedback or anything with us. Now I understand ASG traded him but its still good professionalism to say something positive about your last team.

CSP

October 5th, 2012
9:21 am

doc

October 5th, 2012
9:35 am

melo never said anything positive. dwight trashed the city though now putting out ads, the list goes on as they say little more than the banal, “i enjoyed it”. dont make a big deal over it, they got to move on emotionally, just like we do. only look at their falcon bleeding hearts when their guy let them down and no one else to see how that works, or doesnt. he certainly has to his benefit and i am pleased for him as i am the falcons to rise from 3 wins to success in such a short time on the efforts of their coaching and team.

Chris Vivlamore

October 5th, 2012
9:35 am

CSP: Thanks! I don’t even know how that happened.

Ra'mon

October 5th, 2012
9:44 am

There’s no reason anyone shouldn’t cheer for Joe when he returns to Atlanta. This guy signed here when Ray Allen, Kenyon Martin, Eric Dampier (how the mighty have fallen) and many other players wouldn’t dare sign here. He didn’t give himself the 2nd max contract. There’s no one on this blog who wouldn’t have accepted a $100 million contract. Joe did lead this team to the first 3-4 playoff appearances. And would’ve lead them to the playoffs the season before, if he didn’t get hurt and miss the last 30 games, at which time the Hawks were in the 9th slot only 2 games out. Joe was the 3rd best SG in the league majority of his time here in Atlanta, especially when you factor in defense. And majority of the time, Woody had JJ exerting energy by guarding PGs instead of SGs. No other all star SG had to do that. And I think this is part of the reason JJ would flame out in the playoffs (besides defense keys in on your number one option), because he was fatigued from guarding and chasing another position for 82 games.

Ra'mon

October 5th, 2012
9:47 am

Also, another thing about Joe is to think that he lead the team into the playoffs when the Hawks CLEARLY had the WORST STARTING PG and SF in the league at the time! If the Hawks had an above average PG and SF playing at the time, imagine what Joe could have done. I believe the Hawks could’ve gone to the ECF.

Ra'mon

October 5th, 2012
9:48 am

I would take Joe over Melo ANY DAY.

doc

October 5th, 2012
9:50 am

jj is missed we think and how much is yet to be proven on the court, not his salary.

doc

October 5th, 2012
9:52 am

on jj effect? a bit of carry over from last blog:

aj, i saw a pictogram of josh’s shots, all of them for last year. i guess one could jump on the bad but there was good there in that from certain areas he can make it at a pretty reasonable rate and improve from there as his confidence grows. ray, you and vava have spoken of this and i think there is some hope going forward.

it will take a discipline from josh as well as a disciplined offense to get him the ball where he needs it. the latter is probably more important and one neither ld has been able to put across and good lord woody’d never approached. there have been undertones of how jj’s game has hurt them as he was the one getting the ball where he needed it but maybe he didnt get them the ball where they needed it.

shaq said it most directly and loudly in wrapping up things on the jj story and what it means going forward, jj was a good and significant player for the hawks but was a BALL STOPPER. so maybe josh and al will get the ball more to their liking this year. if so, it will be up to them to deliver and make up for the loss of jj. i think they can. we will also need to see how the compensations occur on defense. this is most important as well. will it be, whether jj and marvin were really forces there that folks seem to be concerned that they were and will be missed or whether they werent that important and with effort will it be a non-entity?

I MUS WRITE

October 5th, 2012
10:03 am

Joe over Melo……. Kush is a Hell of a drug….

Joe doesnt play here anymore so he’s dead to me.He didnt help his position with the fan base while here. He took shots at the fans and seemed to be sleep walking most nights. This guy is what he is a good not great 2 guard that doesnt make others better. Its the Joe show all the time dribble drible dribble….. This team will better in the long run because of his departure..Danny Ferry is the man -best GM we’ve had even wih 2 weeks on the job.

I wont boo Joe on Nov 2 but I wount be cherring either -guess ill show no emotion like Joe Cool did for 7 years ” We just werent focused tonight” ” Guys need to play there roles” ” I dont care what the fans say -if they dont support us so be it”

soullrenaissance

October 5th, 2012
10:04 am

Welcome back to the A to both Muhammad and Morrow. Isma’il, inshalah you make the team and make a huge impact on the defensive side of things…JJ seems sour grapes but the onus is mostly on the ASG for not bringing a top notch pg to play along with JJ and Woody for the heavily ISO offense, and as Ra’mon put it, forcing him to over extend himself defensive because our wack pg play…with that being said all that MONEY he got from ASG, he could have atleast bought some CLASS.

Ra'mon

October 5th, 2012
10:08 am

I MUS, how many times have Melo lead his teams to the 2nd round of playoffs with a much more talented roster and coach. Melo hasn’t played defense consistently. For majority of his time here, you could count on Joe to get you over 23 points with 5 assists and 5 steals. You also were going to get a high caliber defensive player who was DURABLE. If you think about it, what SG has been more durable than Joe over the last 7 seasons. As I said, I’d take Joe over Melo because Joe has more intangibles than Melo.

Ra'mon

October 5th, 2012
10:12 am

The Hawks will be a better team because Joe’s contract is gone. However, if Joe had a contract where he was making $16 mil a season, it would be a great loss. Joe on this team at $16 mil a season, with Devin Harris (because Marvin was still traded), a signed Lou Williams, drafted Jenkins, and Korver, this would be a top 3 team in the ECF hands down. Last season, a healthy Josh, Horford and Zaza beats Boston and Chicago (even with Rose) IMO.

O'Brien

October 5th, 2012
10:15 am

Also, there was never any major issues with JJ off the court. And he always gave 100%, never complaining about being hurt. So he should be cheered when introduced.

O'Brien

October 5th, 2012
10:16 am

Vava,

I was the one who proposed Horford for Dalembert and fillers. My reason being Dalembert at $8 mil and Zaza at $4.5 mil would do a good enough job holding down the center position. That would free up some cash for us to address other needs (depending on the fillers).

Dalembert has averaged 8 pts, 8 rebs, and 2 blocks in 26 mpg for his career (although I will agree that mentally he has not given 100% consistently). Zaza was praised last season when he filled in for the injured Horford and averaged 8 pts, 8 rebs, and 0.5 blocks per game in 28 mpg.

And I know you can’t combine stats, but I see no reason why Dalembert and Zaza couldn’t combine for 16 pts, 15 rebs in 48 minutes. Obviously, with both being free agents, their salary will change next year. But I think Zaza’s price will go up, and Dalembert’s price might come down.

hawksfancents95

October 5th, 2012
10:27 am

1st off Congratulations to Chris Vivlamore! You have done an astounding job, you are making Atlanta professional basketball, professional again.

I have been busy and havent had time to post here as often as I usually do. I am truly excited for the start of this season, more than I have been ever! I like our flexibility and ability to always have shooters on the floor to give us spacing that we are going to need. I think after some of C-Viv’s detailed blogs I have gathered some insightful intel to what lineup we may use and I am going to guess we go ____
Teague Devin Kyle Josh AL. I would like Lou to start but I think he is very comfortable coming in and scoring in a hurry. We rotate jeff,devin and lou at point and let deshawn, john, anthony play the 2 while ivan,josh,al and zaza control the paint. We will be extremley fast and active on both ends of the court so I know this year is going to be special.

Keep it up Mr. V, we all appreciate it!

HoosierHawk

October 5th, 2012
10:39 am

Anyone know if preseason games will be on radio? I read that NBATV is only channel broadcasting preseason and Hawks are not on any of televised games.

I MUS WRITE

October 5th, 2012
10:41 am

Ramon getting out of the 2nd round vs the 1st round is like being the tallest midget -you still come up short. Intangibles??? HUH???? Joe Johnson? were we watching the same Guy. I guess its personal preference- I would take Melo over joe Johnson and any SF in the league not named Lebron or Durant.
I predict that Lou will make up for joes scoring which has declined every year since 08. We will miss his defense but im not so sure stevenson cant give us equal or better D on the perimeter.

Last year and the year before I remember Joe disappearing for months during the season ..jus say’n

MsDee

October 5th, 2012
10:54 am

Ra’mon

“The Hawks will be a better team because Joe’s contract is gone. However, if Joe had a contract where he was making $16 mil a season, it would be a great loss. Joe on this team at $16 mil a season, with Devin Harris (because Marvin was still traded), a signed Lou Williams, drafted Jenkins, and Korver, this would be a top 3 team in the ECF hands down. Last season, a healthy Josh, Horford and Zaza beats Boston and Chicago (even with Rose) IMO.”

U are absolutely right with a line-up like that..but unfortunately NO WAY we could have signed Lou and Korver AND keep Josh plus Horford with his contract. Now IF Joe would have re-negotiated his contract where it would have worked for both parties, THEN maybe all would have been good but since Joe wasnt gonna have none of that, he had to be shipped.

Astro Joe

October 5th, 2012
11:38 am

doc, he’s “Mid Range Shawty” now… so it is all a moot point, right?

MsDee, NBA players are NOT allowed to renegotiate their contracts. It is forbidden… can’t happen… violation of the agreement between Union and Management. Joe would have to retire from the NBA, become an NFL or MLB player, renegotiate his contract in a diffwerent sport, then return to the NBA. The whole idea that Joe should have figured out a way to break the rules in the NBA is a fairy tale.

cdog

October 5th, 2012
11:42 am

the hawks will play defense.they have a more talented team as oppose to a couple of individuals.as a team, the hawks should be totally better than last.at least they won”t have players when playoff time come, say, they”re tired.

doc

October 5th, 2012
11:43 am

well, since we occasionally go there, this about sums up all the qb controversy to the max. very funny indeed and r rated for language.

that means it is only for men and tough baller loving women i mean sports loving women to break any confusion there:

http://imgur.com/a/9H0Hv

doc

October 5th, 2012
11:44 am

aj, “mid-range” (which i now prefer over smoove though smash is best) needs to get it in his spot just like anyone else kg included.

I MUS WRITE

October 5th, 2012
11:49 am

Pancakes are delicious………………..

doc

October 5th, 2012
11:49 am

ra’mon, i knew you started something there and almost said it. tons of melo worshippers here bro. for some reason. good scorer i guess is the reason because it does not go further than that. only have to look at what karl said about one played leaving to nyknicks and another going to washington to see the intangibles in his total game. heh heh

i think melo leads the league in rogue maneuvers coming out of strategic coach time outs. ;-)

Grandad

October 5th, 2012
12:00 pm

Joe`s contract was different … having disposed of that:

A team does not trade a dollar for four quarters.

Al does not have a bad contract / as did Joe.

What do I mean when I say you do not break a bill for change ?

Al is a talent.
A team does not unload talent;
then attempt to “combine stats” so to speak,
by replacing a “basketball player” with a committee of role players.
A dollar bill is worth more than 4 quarters.
*[unless you are dumping salary]

Talent is hard to come by.
One does not give it away for pennies on the $.

I realize a certain segment on this board do not value [Al];
but, regardless one does not trade him for a journeyman.

Whether it be Josh or Al;
any trade would require an all-star caliber wing [3],
or a starting Center (preferrably a 7 ftr) in return.
* hmmmmm … not many of those around.

When a team has valuable players [Josh & Al];
you do not give them away.

The objective is;
acquire more players ‘like’ Josh and Al in addition.
-or-
value for value
____________________________________________

One last thought;
ridding oneself of a contract in order to have $ to spend,
requires that someone “worthy” is willing to take your $
during free agency.

Grandad

October 5th, 2012
12:11 pm

On the Joe -v- Melo debate:

From a coaching standpoint;
Joe is the better complimentary player.

Neither will win -you- a Championship.
By that last statement, I mean; neither is a SuperDuperStar.

Melo can score points in bunches … but …;
he doesn`t make his teammates better !

Joe really doesn`t make his teammates better either … but …;
he blends in well.

Melo is gonna upset the apple cart.

If Joe gets his check, he`s happy.

Joe would make a nice 3rd banana.

Melo plays little defense, while Joe is vastly overrated on defense.

CONCLUSION::
Joe is the better Team Player.

ag

October 5th, 2012
12:13 pm

So far, good info V. I know they are not letting you watch the practices, but wondering how they are shaping out? I never been to a preseason basketball game, so is it closer to football (giving the reserves a lot of time) or baseball (giving the starters a lot of work to get ready for the season)? Since we are not on TV, looks like I will invest in some tickets wot watch a game or too.

Danny Ferry

October 5th, 2012
12:22 pm

Ramon, Joe Johnson helped us to the playoffs, that’s it. If you exclude his unbelievable play against the then newly-formed Celtics back when we were an 8 seed in 2008, Johnson’s playoff performances since have been very abysmal from a player of his caliber. We shouldn’t boo him because he was a big part of our team, but to say he “lead us to the 2nd round” is anything but true.

Big Ray

October 5th, 2012
12:39 pm

Ramon ,

I’ll say this – if you want a team built off of an ISO game, I’ll take Melo over Joe. Problem is, nobody is winning that way, which is why George Karl (whom I respect) and the Nuggets never could make it all the way with Melo. You’re right about his lack of defense, too. He’s a ball stopper…but he’s also one of the best.

In a more perfect world, I take Joe over Melo because Joe can and will pass, doesn’t rebound or score as well as Melo, but is good enough. That was never the problem…problem is that Joe can’t be your #1 guy, he needs to be the #2 guy.

I see no argument here. Nets will do better with Joe than NY will ever do with Melo, and the Nuggets probably did the best that could be done with Melo. He just doesn’t make other guys better. He’s a singular talent at the SF position, second only to Lebron in pure individual talent.

But Lebron makes other guys better…

Big Ray

October 5th, 2012
12:42 pm

Danny Ferry ,

Exactly. Joe can’t be a team’s #1 option, and that’s all there is to it. He’s just not THAT good. Now he’ll do fine next to a bombshell of a PG in Deron Williams…scariest backcourt anywhere if you ask me. Size, handles, shoot, drive, you name it. Both can defend two positions as well. Don’t know how we’re gonna score on them except with pure speed.

I won’t boo Joe. But I’m not gonna cheer him, either. I don’t cheer for the other team, is all.

Astro Joe

October 5th, 2012
12:59 pm

One more thing about Joe’s most recent contract, it takes a fairly simple spreadsheet to calculate the salaries of the roster and project those salaries forward. Heck, there are websites that already have most of that info… it wouldn’t take much effort to simply update the numbers to reflect the new salary. All of that is to say that the ASG knew EXACTLY what offering Joe that massive contract would do to their salary structure and future flexibility. It was their decision and I can’t ever recall an article that suggested Joe demanded the max offer from the incumbent team. Would he have received offers from other squads? Of course. But the ASG, with full knowledge of the long-term implications, put that lucrative deal on the table. Joe should have NEVER, EVER apologized for someone handing him over a bag of loot. Heaven knows, I wouldn’t.

doc

October 5th, 2012
1:05 pm

gdad, i agree with the vastly over rated comment on jj. if he were a great defender thenhe would have been first team all nba and he would have been earning two golds in the olympics. on the other hand he did his job and kept at it which some big time payers only pretend to do on defense as they know fake fans or idolatry fans can only see. it does help pay the bills in some markets.

i will note the brooklyn administration is putting jj in a position to achieve star status both on the court and off it. i give five stars to their pr department. i also give DF at least three for getting someone into a position to make a play here in the atl market in case anyone missed the note that a pr man had been hired. now let us see how he does his job. my guess either the asg didnt have one or he was incompetent as h3ll.

scariest back court of all time should have been in the atl for the past five years. yup, i know, old wounds eh big ray? we can watch and wonder if at this age they perform as a duo what they would have done ion their rising youth. yuck! if they do well it will only be one more nail in the very flawed coffin of thinking of asg, bk and woody with fools to suffer, us.

doc

October 5th, 2012
1:07 pm

yeah, and along with heaven, i too know it aj.

Ra'mon

October 5th, 2012
1:18 pm

Guys, if it was a game in the school yard, I’d take Melo of course. But if I’m asked who is the most coachable and seems like they would lay it all on the line when the spotlight ISN’T on (Melo only play hard in games that nationally televised), than I’d say Joe.

This is what the greatest coach in my generation (Coach K) had to say about Joe in the Olympic practices “I didn’t know Joe Johnson, and I don’t know if there can be a more solid player. I mean he can play four positions, he shoots, he defends and he doesn’t say peep. There’s high maintenance, low maintenance and no maintenance. He’s no maintenance.”

Melo has the ability to lead any team to a title. But he doesn’t have the fight. He reminds me more of Penny Hardaway and to a sense Vince Carter.

FeudFinder

October 5th, 2012
1:25 pm

Joe Johnson is a classy player though he might lived under expectation. Remember, truth be told, he was just one player on the team. Fingers can be pointed at every angle. Hey, this is business, and it is what it is, And just like I cheered for Dominique Wilkins, I will cheer for him. He has no blood on him.

Ra'mon

October 5th, 2012
1:26 pm

Doc, if Joe was guarding SG and SF majority of his career in Atlanta and not PG, maybe he would’ve been on more defensive teams. That was Woody’s doing. Think of this, if it was CP3 at the PG spot (which it should’ve been) would CP3 and Joe not have been the BEST defensive back court the league has seen since I. Thomas and Dumars? Woody didn’t take advantage of this.

FeudFinder

October 5th, 2012
1:27 pm

Joe Johnson is a classy player though he might have lived under expectation. Remember, truth be told, he was just one player on the team. Fingers can be pointed at every angle. Hey, this is business, and it is what it is, And just like I cheered for Dominique Wilkins, I will cheer for him. He has no blood on him.

doc

October 5th, 2012
1:29 pm

ra’mon there are tryouts for the olympics. it had nothing to do with what he di on the court during nba time, nothing.

Najeh Davenpoop

October 5th, 2012
1:39 pm

If Muhammad is anything like he was at GT, he doesn’t belong on an NBA roster. A lot of other players who can’t do anything but dunk haven’t stuck in the NBA, and I don’t see why he’s going to be any different.

Joe deserves cheers when he comes to ATL. He did everything that could have reasonably been expected of him.

Najeh Davenpoop

October 5th, 2012
1:40 pm

“Melo can score points in bunches … but …;
he doesn`t make his teammates better !”

Melo led his team to the conference finals, a place the Hawks have never been before. If Joe is better than Melo, he’s better than Dominique Wilkins, too.

Big Ray

October 5th, 2012
2:00 pm

Ramon ,

No arguments here, really. Joe is who he is. We didn’t build correctly with him, but then…if building around JJ was something that was supposed to work, then Phoenix would have done it instead of letting him go. That’s nothing against JJ…just gotta know what I guy can do or not do.

MsDee

October 5th, 2012
2:07 pm

Chris Vivlamore ‏@ajchawks
According to #Hawks coach Larry Drew, all 19 players on training camp roster will not dress for Sunday’s exhibition vs. Heat.