The 2016-17 Class of Adam Morrison

The Adam Morrison Rule is a harsh, unforgiving bitch that is yet to be broken.

It effectively says that top 5 picks who post rookie PERs of less than 10 won’t make much of themselves (to the point of justifying a top 5 pick), let alone an All-star game.

The Adam Morrison alumni

In years gone by, the following players have qualified for the Adam Morrison Rule:

  • Antonio Daniels
  • Jonathan Bender
  • Nikoloz Tskitishvili
  • Darko Milicic
  • Adam Morrison
  • Jeff Green
  • Wesley Johnson
  • Anthony Bennett
  • Otto Porter
  • Alex Len
  • Dante Exum
  • Mario Hezonja

As you can see, that’s a whole pile of mediocrity – and not a single All-star game among it all.

It seems incredible that you could pre-ordain a player’s entire career in this manner based on one season alone – but, so far, it’s been painfully true.

All that being said, the rule’s undefeated record is coming under pressure these days with more players than ever qualifying. Eventually, someone will break the rule – but who? Any hopes one might have had for Len, Exum and Hezonja on this front are fast fading, while the jury is still out over Otto Porter (who posted a very impressive 17.3 PER this season and has made steady improvements over his four seasons to date).

Could someone from this year’s class be the one?

Class of 2016-17

At the half way mark of this season, The Dunkyard expressed some grave concerns about this year’s rookie class. It’s time to check back in on the top 5 picks, see how they fared over the second half of the season and confirm who has added their name to the ignominy that is the Adam Morrison Rule.

1 – Joel Embiid (PHI)

Mid season stat line: 19.4ppg, 7.5rpg, 2.3bpg, 25.1mpg, TS 57.2%, PER 23.4

End of season stat line: 20.2ppg, 7.8rpg, 2.5bpg, 25.4mpg, TS 58.5%, PER 24.2

There’s nothing to see here. Embiid’s PER was through the roof and, if he stays healthy, will likely be responsible for making big-men relevant again in the age of small ball. Seriously, could you really see Draymond Green ever defending peak Embiid?

1a – Ben Simmons (PHI)

Was injured all season and will have to be assessed next season.

2 – Brandon Ingram (LAL)

Mid season stat line: 8.0ppg, 2.0apg, 4.0rpg, 27.6mpg, TS 46.2%, 7.5 PER

End of season stat line: 9.4ppg, 2.1apg, 4.0rpg, 28.8mpg, TS 47.4%, 8.6 PER

This is what I wrote at mid-season about Ingram – and very little has changed:

When you see him running up and down the court, you can see the length and athleticism that had scouts so excited – reminding them of a young Kevin Durant. The problem is that, unlike rookie Durant, rookie Ingram can’t create shots anywhere near as well (usage 15.1%16.4% vs 28.1%) or put the ball in the basket (TS 46.2%47.4% vs TS 51.9%).

In fact, the only similarities I can see so far are height and order drafted. Unless Ingram improves significantly from here, he’ll easily qualify for the Adam Morrison Rule.

The only positive for Ingram is the perception that he improved over the second half of the season from morbid to putrid. But did he?

Ingram

It’s really hard to say. Some things definitely got better, while other things went backwards.

The only thing we know for sure is that Ingram has comfortably qualified for the Adam Morrison Rule. If he doesn’t get his act together quickly, he’ll be the next Wesley Johnson.

3 – Jaylen Brown (BOS)

Mid season stat line: 4.7ppg, 0.6apg, 1.9rpg, 13.1mpg, TS 50.5%, 9.7 PER

End of season stat line: 6.6ppg, 0.8apg, 2.8rpg, 17.2mpg, TS 53.9%, 10.3 PER

There’s a lot to like about this kid and I think he’s done as well as anyone could expect on a deep, relevant team.

He showed steady improvement over the second half of the season, earned himself more minutes in the rotation and has avoided qualification for the Adam Morrison Rule.

Whether he has star potential is the next question to be answered.

4 – Dragan Bender (PHX)

Mid season stat line: 3.2ppg, 2.0rpg, 0.5bpg, 12.2mpg, TS 48.8%, 6.3 PER

End of season stat line: 3.4ppg, 2.4rpg, 0.5bpg, 13.3mpg, TS 44.0%, 5.3 PER

Phoenix had three rookies in the top-16 for PER. Dragan Bender was not one of them – coming in dead last in 40th place.

It’s always a concern when a top 5 pick can’t crack a horrible team’s rotation – and goes backwards over the second half of their rookie season. I’m not liking where this is headed one bit.

To be fair to Bender, he was the youngest player in the league and didn’t see much court time as the Suns brought him along slowly. Then again, Porzingis faced pretty much the same set of circumstances last season and managed just fine. I hear that Antetokounmpo did alright too. If you’re good enough then you’re good enough. So far, Bender ain’t anywhere near good enough and will be the Euro-bust second coming of Darko Milicic if he doesn’t start asserting himself and improving.

He’s the 2016-17 dux of the class of Adam Morrison.

5 – Kris Dunn (MIN)

Mid-season stat line: 4.0ppg, 2.4apg, 2.2rpg, 16.8mpg, TS 44.5%, 8.8 PER

End of season stat line: 3.8ppg, 2.4apg, 2.1rpg, 17.1mpg, TS 43.2%, 8.1 PER

To put it lightly, Dunn’s lack of improvement over the second half of the season is a major fucking concern. If he doesn’t realise that a team wins a basketball game by putting the ball in the hole more than the other team, then he’ll be little more than the next Jonny Flynn.

So there you have it, a record THREE qualifiers for the Adam Morrison Rule. Let’s see how they go over the next few seasons…

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