Editor's note: A year ago, they were college basketball's biggest stars. Now, NBA rookies Adam Morrison and J.J. Redick are coming off the bench for losing teams. We asked David Thorpe of Scouts Inc. to answer a few questions after Morrison's Charlotte Bobcats defeated Redick's Orlando Magic on Monday, 119-108.
What's your quick take on Morrison's strengths and weaknesses?
Morrison takes too many tough shots. It is the rare rookie who can make the kind of shots he's shooting at a decent percentage; LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade all could, but he's simply not in their class.
I love his confidence, but I'd like to see him use his size more and get to the basket or look for midrange shots rather than the long-range 2-pointers and the 3-pointers that he takes most often.
He has an excellent scorer's touch around the basket and is very crafty -- as he drives more he'll develop a better feel for scoring inside against the size he's seeing each night.
As for Redick?
Redick has allowed his spot minutes to convert him into a straight jump shooter. At Duke he was more than a shooter -- he was also a scorer.
I believe he can be one in the NBA, as well, given the minutes and consistent opportunities.
His trigger is quick so he can get shots off in tight spots, but he settles for those tough jumpers too often.
Redick isn't known for his defense. How can he improve there?
He needs to learn the pro game, for one thing -- just get a feel for what players like to do and start to anticipate what actions each team will look for against him.
Being disciplined is a key. He shouldn't be trying to create chaos and get deflections just yet. Rather, he should play the angles and deny important spots on the floor whenever he can.
Morrison is playing about 32 minutes a game, while Redick has played only 400 minutes all season. Would Redick score at Morrison's level (13 ppg) with similar minutes?
Probably not, because the Bobcats have Morrison as more of a featured scorer. But we'll never know unless they make a strong effort to find out.
Could Redick benefit from the D League?
I don't think so. When you dominate college at an ACC school the way he did, I find it hard to believe the D League would provide much help to him.
If he were to score a bunch of points, he would not make believers out of anyone anyway.
Any issues preventing him from becoming a reliable rotation player?
None that I can see. He could become one of the best shooters off screens in the league -- with deep range, too.
His effort and intensity are not in question in games -- I can't speak to what is happening at practice.
And he's far more capable of driving and finishing than he is given credit for.
He'll never be the No. 1 option for a playoff team over the course of a season, but in certain matchups, he could be a hard guy to shut down with his ability to move and score without dribbling.
What should Morrison focus on this summer?
He needs to learn how to use his size in this league, via post-ups or simple attack moves into a pull-up jumper.
He should clean up his footwork from the triple-threat position -- right now it slows him down.
But most of all he should focus on the other aspects of the game, because as he grows as a defender and rebounder, his offensive feel will improve, too -- the game is interconnected.
What should Redick focus on this summer?
He should tighten his handle and gain supreme confidence with the ball in his hands.
He needs to make his left hand a strong scoring weapon around the basket.
He needs to learn to find ways to be a factor on the boards despite his lack of size, specifically by studying bounces and where he needs to be to gather long rebounds.
Also, I've noticed that he kicks his legs out in front of him when he shoots -- he should clean that up and get more balanced on his start and finish.
Is Orlando the right place for Redick? Any teams that might be a better fit?
I think he'd be perfect in Denver, playing off Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony and having Marcus Camby as protection on defense.
Redick's currently at 39.7 percent on 3-point attempts, which would rank him No. 1 in Denver, and his toughness and intensity are a good match for coach George Karl (even if Karl is a former Tar Heel).
Does Morrison have the frame to add muscle?
For perimeter guys, I focus on strength, not muscle and weight.
Morrison could change his body without gaining more than 10 pounds of muscle. No question, that should be a priority this summer.
Only 12 minutes for Redick tonight. Why isn't he getting more minutes?
I haven't a clue. Assuming he's working hard at practice, arriving early and leaving late, which all rookies should be doing, I think a struggling team like Orlando should give him a chance to help.
In February, he had a stretch of seven games in which he got good minutes, and the Magic were 3-4 overall (3-1 at home). He averaged 10 points per game and shot 40.7 percent from 3-point land in that stretch.
He has barely played since then, and Orlando has won just two of 11 games.
So we don't know if he can be part of the solution, but it doesn't look like he's part of the problem.
Five years from now, I expect Morrison to be
A legit second or third option for a team as a starting small forward, averaging 16 to 18 points per game with a much better field-goal percentage. He'll be a better rebounder too.
Five years from now, I expect Redick to be
A solid shooting guard averaging 13 to 16 points and one of the top shooters in the league. He might have a 3-point shootout title or two, as well.
Sort of makes you question why Redick was selected 8 positions further down than Ammo.
Or why Ammo was selected 8 positions higher up than Redick!!