Daryl Morey, famous for trading all of the tall people off of his actual basketball team has quit his job after zero finals appearances following his ridiculous sabermetrics experiment in Houston.
First things first, Daryl Morey didn’t quit this job because of the Free Hong Kong tweet and the fallout between the NBA and China. Commissioner Adam Silver, first of his name and blessed be his house, had the NBA lose $400 million rather than take any disciplinary action against Morey. The Houston Rockets stood by Morey when they could have cut bait with the same exact roster in place. This is of Morey’s own doing and to suggest otherwise is wrong.
NOW BACK TO THE DRAGGING.
Daryl Morey built his basketball team around analytics and those analytics said that
James Harden Bearded Bonzi Wells should take a million threes (the hardest shot in basketball to make because it is much further away from the basket because they are worth 50% more than twos.) The game would also revolve around free throws because theoretically they are easy points and it stops the clock to ensure more possessions. It makes sense at the macro-level and it won a lot of meaningless regular season games! But my God, is it an unwatchable product.
Under the Morey regime the team had normally very fun coach Mike D’Antoni. Famous for playing fast and completely ignoring the defensive side of the ball. What a combination for
James Harden Stepback Boobie Gibson! The Rockets would end D’Antoni’s tenure by playing hardball with the only coach suited for Morey’s sabermetrics style of basketball, and refusing to extend D’Antoni who ended up walking after the season finished. The same way we saw the Chicago Bulls and Jerry Krause refuse to extend Phil Jackson. Except without all the success.
Morey does deserve some praise! While other GMs in the Western Conference shrunk away from the challenges of the Golden State Warriors superteam, Morey went out and tried to score with them. And for his troubles, we got the funniest video of NBA Twitter era. James Harden and the rest going completely ice cold from three and missing a resounding twenty-seven (27) consecutive threes. It’s the hardest shot for a reason, and it’s even harder when your star shrinks from the floor and looks to get bailed out at the free throw line.
Now with Morey gone, MDA gone, and saddled with a Westbrook and Harden backcourt which other coaches may not be as adept to handle, the Rockets are at a crossroads. Will a potential Jeff Van Gundy hire work with the talent Morey leaves behind?
The team seems set to move on from the one year Russell Westbrook experiment with the team rumored to be on the receiving end being the New York Knicks. No two ingredients go together the way the Knicks and an aging, ball-dominate point guard on an albatross contract. (And I say this as Russ defender #1 and a big Knicks fan.)
It seems unlikely that the pair will coexist in the future as Houston attempts to finally find a partner for the gunslinging Harden. Whomever they bring in from the front office to the head coach’s chair, to a tag team partner in Houston, it is unlikely to be as successful, at least in the regular season as the team was with Morey, D’Antoni, and Harden, A perfect mix of ideology and talent that ended up falling a little short in Spring.