OAKLAND — One day later, the buzz was still flying around Warriors rookie guard Anthony Morrow.
A television interview on the Sunday evening local news. Sports magazines working on feature stories about him. Fans still talking about his first NBA career start: a 37-point, 11-rebound performance in Saturday's win over the Los Angeles Clippers.
Still, despite the Warriors having the day off, Morrow had to be strongly encouraged to not make his way to gym Sunday to take part in his daily routine of getting up shots and working on his game.
"Nothing like this will change me," Morrow said in the midst of the postgame hysteria he caused Saturday. "The grind never stops."
His record performance — most points by an undrafted player in his rookie season and most points by a rookie this season — may have changed the Warriors for the better. It certainly gave the team a much-needed shot of energy and hope, which came in a timely fashion after Thursday's heartbreaking loss to Detroit. It gave the Warriors another commodity to add to their portfolio of young talent to build on or barter.
Most notably, the Warriors have some help they desperately need. Having seized on the first real chance granted by Warriors coach Don Nelson, Morrow at the very least showed he can be a viable resource off the bench, a welcomed revelation for a team hampered by injuries.
"I'm so happy for him," swingman Stephen Jackson said. "He's one of those guys who come in and work every day. He didn't get the opportunity to play from the beginning, and he stayed with his game. I'm glad that he had a game like that because we definitely needed some help. For him to play like that, hopefully it can be contagious."
The presence of a deadly shooter worked wonders for the Warriors offense. It gave the proven scorers room to work because, eventually, Clippers defenders realized they couldn't leave Morrow's side.
This is the kind of weapon the Warriors had in mind for second-year guard Marco Belinelli, who the team drafted with the No. 18 pick of the 2007 draft. But Morrow is turning out to be a more-ready option for the role.
"Him and Belinelli are two different type of players," Jackson said. "Marco is a guy he has to come in the game and get a rhythm first. Morrow is a flat-out scorer. I think Coach sees something different from him, and he's a guy we're definitely going to put a lot of plays in the offense for."
Nelson said he likes how Morrow aggressively comes off screens and has a quick release, which helps him get his shot off. They already have plays installed to take advantage of that.
Assistant coaches have said that Morrow is more of a pure shooter than Belinelli, who is at his best off the dribble. But Morrow has shown that he can spot, catch-and-shoot on the move and create his own shot out of the post and off the dribble.
What's more, Morrow — at 6-foot-5, 210 pounds — has the size and athleticism to rebound, which he showed Saturday by grabbing 11 boards. Belinelli, at 6-5, 200 pounds, has yet to show other attributes in his limited minutes since being drafted before last season.
The potential displayed Saturday by Morrow — who is locked up under non-guaranteed contracts for this season and next — means the Warriors could use Belinelli as a deal-sweetener in a trade (say, involving disgruntled forward Al Harrington). Even Morrow may now be a name that perks up an opposing general manager.
Getting 37 points a night is perhaps out of the question, but some dead-on outside shooting, instant offense and rebounding is certainly something Nelson can use.
"He's got that in him," Nelson said after Saturday's game. "He's just a marvelous young player. He's improved so much really in the two months since training camp, and we finally decided to make the move and start playing the kid and bring him along. I don't know about starting lineup, but it definitely puts him in the mix."
Contact Marcus Thompson II at firstname.lastname@example.org.