Daryl Morey: The Great Hope of Red Nation
As a Rockets fan, your hopes and dreams of a third championship title in Houston lie on the shoulders of Rockets General Manager, Daryl Morey. From the draft picks to the blockbuster deals, most Rockets fans trust that the MIT graduate will make the right moves.
It could be his radical new style of evaluating talent using numbers and statistics or it could be the fact that we believe he is ten times smarter than we are. Either way Rockets fans are forced to put their confidence in Daryl Morey and hope that he will make the right moves in order to bring a Championship trophy back to the city of Houston.
Daryl Morey became the Rockets general manager on May 10, 2007. Within two weeks of taking over GM from Carol Dawson, he would shake up the Rockets foundation for years to come. Nine days after Morey began his term, he fired defensive-minded head coach Jeff Van Gundy and replaced him with Rick Adelman and the "Princeton offense."
The Rockets went 182-146 under Van Gundy, including 52-30 the season that he was fired. However, during that time Houston went 7-12 in three postseason appearances and three first round exits. That decision to fire Van Gundy would prove to the city of Houston that Daryl Morey was not going to settle for mediocrity and that he would do whatever he could to bring us a Championship.
When Daryl Morey took over the Rockets, he was taking over a team that already had two superstars. The only problem was that neither of the superstars could stay healthy long enough to last a full season together.
That meant that Morey was taking over a financial situation in which two injury-prone superstars took up 70 percent of the cap space, but could not be counted on to play all 82 games. This situation could be what got him his credit for being a masterful GM. If you don't have a lot of cap space then you better be able to find talent that is undervalued; which was exactly what Daryl Morey was able to do.
In the 2007 NBA Draft with the 26th pick in the first round, Daryl Morey selected a tiny, barely six foot guard out of Oregon named Aaron Brooks. With the first pick of the second round, the guy Morey had wanted was taken by the Seattle Supersonics.
That didn't stop Morey from acquiring that coveted 31st overall pick, Carl Landry, from the Sonics. He simply traded a future second round pick for Carl Landry and the carvings of Executive of the Year began.
Many people didn't actually carve out executive of the year in 2007 when Aaron and Carl were taken but rather in 2009 when people realized how great those picks turned out to be. Actually, Marty Burns from Sports Illustrated.com gave the Rockets a grade of "C" for the 2007 NBA draft .
Chad Ford from ESPN.com gave the Rockets a grade of "D+ " and also said, "Morey is smart, and he might make me look very stupid in a few years for saying this, but I think the Rockets' draft was one of the worst of the night."
I think Chad Ford's statement basically sums up everything about Daryl Morey. He is usually two steps ahead of us regular basketball thinkers. He sees things in basketball players that leave us befuddled. When people rag on Shane Battier (I'm one of them), Morey comes up with the "no stats all star."
He describes Shane Battier as a vital piece of a team because he does all the little things that you have to do in order to win a championship. I hear people talking all the time about how Battier is worthless (I have said it before) but Morey has chosen to keep him around and we made it out of the first round of the playoffs.
Morey has made many moves that make Rockets fans feel weird or uneasy but eventually we smile and say we knew it was a good move all along.
That is in essence why most people have to put their hope in Daryl Morey's hands and trust that he will be able to bring us a championship.
On the day of the 2010 trade deadline, Daryl Morey pulled off a move that sent Tracy McGrady and Sergio Rodriguez to the New York Knicks, Carl Landry, Joey Dorsey, and Larry Hughes to the Sacramento Kings, and Kevin Martin, Jared Jefferies, Jordan Hill, Hilton Armstrong, and two future first round picks to the Houston Rockets. Carl Landry was a fan favorite and many Rockets fans were speechless and felt weird about the trade.
It is still unclear who the winners of the trade were, and we probably won't be able to know for at least a few more years, but Rockets fans have hope for the future. That hope lies in the hands of general manager Daryl Morey and the next moves he makes either in the free agency of 2010 or in the near future.
We will have to bear nights when the people we acquired turn in subpar performances and the people we gave up put on spectacular performances. But in the end when we look back on this trade and all of the other moves that came from this trade, hopefully our slogan of "In Morey we Trust" will make us smile and more confident in our stud GM.
February 18, 2010 will either prove that we were right in trusting Daryl Morey or it could turn out that this guy was lucky a couple of times (or a lot times) but made a bad move on that day.
It could turn out that we gave away an injury-prone superstar and a backup power forward for championship assets, or it could turn out that we gave away a misunderstood superstar and a hard working, teeth loosing, shot-in-the-leg-taking superstar power forward for irrelevant assets. I trust and hope that Morey did not give away the latter.
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