Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Morris Peterson is Diligently Working on his Trick Shots

Posted By on Wed, Oct 1, 2008 at 1:51 PM

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So you think it's easy to make a half-court shot? Or one over your back? Or off a 30-foot wall? Ladies and gentleman, it takes hard work and dedication. The ability and commitment to stay after practice and take a dozen or so aimless shots from half-court pre-empted by "You're going to put this on ESPN."

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Just take Morris Peterson for example. I've analyzed everything about his trick shot capabilities, but the simple mater of the fact is that he's been the last man on the court every day since Hornets' training camp opened and it's all thanks to his burning desire to hit half court shots with shocking consistency.

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OK, that statement was just half true. The funny thing is, though, the part that is 100% true is how Mo Pete has been the last person on the court since Sunday. Don't expect that trend to change since, as John Reid from the Times-Picayune points out, Peterson might have been the team's least productive starter last year:

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"I don't want to be the weak link, " Peterson said. "Nobody wants to be the weak link."

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In some games last season, Peterson could not avoid that status. Against Utah on Nov. 23, he shot 0-of-6 from the field and scored one point. On March 19 against Houston, he went 0-of-6 again and was scoreless in 16 minutes.

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In 50 of the 76 games Peterson started, he scored fewer than 10 points. His 8.0 scoring average was the lowest among the team's starters.

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But what's better than a player who, sensing that the challenge brought on by free agent acquisitions and the pressure that came from last season's success, stays in the gym longer than any of his teammates? One who does that and still has time to ham it up for the media, of course.

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Make no mistake, Peterson's commitment to becoming a key element to this team as opposed to a starter-turned-benchwarmer is real. The pressure he's under to perform at higher level just to keep the same job he had last year is clear to anyone who looks at this season's roster. But that Mo Pete can combine new-found dedication with his same old playful attitude is exactly why he's one of my favorite athletes to cover.

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Plus, how many guys are willing to let you record them called shot after called shot?

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