Oct 16, 2020 - Sports

How departing Rockets GM Daryl Morey changed the NBA forever

Daryl Morey (L) and Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta. Photo: Tim Warner/Getty Images
Daryl Morey (L) and Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta. Photo: Tim Warner/Getty Images

Daryl Morey, the Rockets GM since 2007, has decided to step down, according to a report from ESPN.

Why it matters: With head coach Mike D'Antoni stepping down last month, one of the NBA's most reliably competitive franchises is suddenly in disarray.

The backdrop: Morey's final season became engulfed in scrutiny after a tweet supporting Hong Kong protesters led to China taking the NBA off its airwaves for a year. It finally returned during last week's Finals.

What they're saying: "Morey is not the only analytics-savvy person to assume a position of enormous power within an NBA team. But he was the forerunner," ESPN writes.

  • "His influence on the game — on the rise of the 3-pointer, the advance of metrics to evaluate defense, hiring patterns within teams, much more — has been massive."
  • "It is reasonable to argue NBA basketball is both more mathematically efficient and (with some teams) less interesting to watch because of Morey."

By the numbers: Morey never led Houston to a title, and critics would say he overvalued style and efficiency at the expense of chemistry and culture. But his Rockets were always competitive. In fact, they never had a single losing season.

  • 77 trades: That's how many Morey made in Houston. Only Philadelphia (78 trades), whose former GM Sam Hinkie was Morey's protégé, made more.
  • .615 winning percentage: Only the Spurs had more wins than the Rockets during Morey's tenure.
  • 8 straight trips: Houston has the league's longest active playoff streak, dating back to the 2012-13 season.
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