Daryl Morey has been personally victimized by the bloodbath of the Western Conference playoffs, so he is all for the NBA’s potential new format.
The Houston Rockets general manager took to Twitter this week to express his support for doing away with conferences during this year’s postseason in favor of reseeding all 16 playoff teams into one big bracket. Morey said that such a bracket would be a “huge” advantage for his team.
I am in favor of a “Conference-less” bracket for the #NBA postseason.
This would be a HUGE advantage for the @HoustonRockets
— Daryl Morey (@dmorey) May 27, 2020
The Rockets, who had the tenth-best record in the league when play was suspended, would face the Utah Jazz in the first round under the new format instead of having to play the Denver Nuggets in the traditional format. They would also avoid the LA Clippers’ side of the bracket but would likely have to face the Los Angeles Lakers if they were to advance to the second round.
Morey recently said that he believes circumstance cost the Rockets a title, so it is easy to see why he is in favor of such a proposal to help balance the scales.
- Filed Under:
- Daryl Morey
The Houston Rockets had the Golden State Warriors on the ropes in 2018, and their GM thinks a single twist of fate kept them from finishing the job.
Appearing this week on FS1’s “The Herd,” Daryl Morey referenced Houston’s near-toppling of the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals that year.
“Really just one of the all-time great teams and a hamstring probably kept us from a title,” said Morey.
Morey is referring to then-Rocket Chris Paul, who suffered a hamstring injury at the end of a Game 5 victory to put Houston up 3-2 in the series. Paul missed the remainder of the conference finals, as the Rockets were trounced in Game 6 and then blew a double-digit second-half lead to lose Game 7 at home as well (an affair that saw them infamously miss 27 straight three-point tries).
The shame is that Morey had built almost the perfect team to dethrone the Warriors — a small-ball steamroller with switchable, three-point shooting wings led by dynamic offensive creators like Paul and James Harden and complemented by the interior energy of Clint Capela. The Rockets may have been the better team that year, and Morey sure felt like they should have won.
While Golden State was also without a key piece in Andre Iguodala that series, Houston’s players feel the same way that Morey does. With the Rockets losing to the Warriors in the postseason again in 2019 and having since parted ways with key members of that team like Paul and Capela, that 2018 run might just have been their best crack at a championship.
Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey sent a perfect tweet on Monday explaining why his team is poised to win the championship this year.
Shaquille O’Neal argued in an interview posted Saturday by the New York Post that the NBA season should be canceled. Part of his reason is that beyond safety issues, any team that wins it all would have an asterisk anyway because the season is altered.
So why does Morey think his Rockets are set to win it all? Because Houston championships get an asterisk.
— Daryl Morey (@dmorey) May 12, 2020
That’s a reference to the Astros, who were exposed by MLB as cheating during the 2017 postseason when they won the World Series. It’s also a reference to the two championships the Rockets won in the mid-90s when Michael Jordan stepped away from the NBA to play baseball.
The Astros didn’t officially get an asterisk, but they have been heavily ridiculed for their actions. Morey would happily accept a championship even if it came with an asterisk. So would many others throughout the league.
- Filed Under:
The Houston Rockets made a big trade over the summer that brought them Russell Westbrook and sent Chris Paul to Oklahoma City. Many questioned whether the Westbrook acquisition would significantly improve the Rockets, and whether adding him and the contract he was on would actually hurt the team long term. The answer so far seems to be that Westbrook has helped Houston remain one of the better teams in the West (and NBA).
So why did the Rockets feel motivated to make that move? Rockets general manager Daryl Morey shared the reasoning during a visit with ESPN’s Zach Lowe on “The Lowe Post” podcast. Essentially, Morey felt the addition of Westbrook would increase Houston’s ceiling.
“We just felt like you can’t win unless you’ve got a peak level that’s very high,” Morey told Lowe. “And we thought with Chris (Paul) and James (Harden) we were an extremely good team, and in fact in 2018, you could argue the best team. I think Golden State, to be fair, was probably the best (in 2018), but we were right there with them.
“And we felt like the team we had with Chris and James was extremely good but was going to come up short of the title. And we thought that adding Russ, who unquestionably has this peak level of play that not many guys have reached, was the right move.”
Morey clearly isn’t worried about the risk of possibly having a bad fit that doesn’t work if it means increasing the chances of his team winning a championship. And the move has paid off, as Houston now focuses on spacing, and Westbrook isn’t taking as many three-pointers as he used to because he has many more options for passing. The team even traded away Clint Capela to go all-in on making this squad as competitive as possible based on their strengths.
Will the Rockets win the championship? Maybe not, but Morey is at least going to go down giving what he feels is the team’s best shot. And what’s funny is now he’s banking on a guy he used to dislike.
Russell Westbrook plays with the kind of style that makes you love him if he’s on your side and dislike him if he’s not. That’s even been the case for Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey.
During an appearance on FS1’s “First Things First” Tuesday, Morey talked about Westbrook’s game with the Rockets and jokingly admitted he hated Russ when the guard was with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“When [Westbrook] was in OKC, I hated him. I’ll be frank,” Morey said. “He played with such a passion, and he would win games with his energy alone. Here it’s the same thing.”
Daryl Morey on Westbrook shooting less 3s: "He's smart. He sees the floor open. We don't have a lot of conversations with Russ on how he should play because he's a guy who plays with passion and energy and you can't not love it. When he was in OKC, I hated him. I'll be frank." pic.twitter.com/yRnbwAxLFE
— Salman Ali (@SalmanAliNBA) March 3, 2020
The answer from Morey came in the context of a bigger question about Westbrook not shooting as many 3-pointers over the past two months as he did early in the season with Houston, and as he had been doing with the Thunder. Morey says there is no directive from the team telling Westbrook how to play. Instead, he believes Westbrook is just seeing lots of open players and therefore opting to pass more.
Another reason for the previous dislike from Morey towards Westbrook? It probably had to do with Rockets star James Harden competing with Westbrook for NBA MVP in 2017. Morey was backing Harden all the way and felt the voting was wrong.
Retired NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal backed Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey on Tuesday night amid an ongoing feud between China, the NBA and many American critics, such as Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James.
Morey drew heat from James and a handful of other NBA players after expressing support for Hong Kong citizens, who are fighting the Chinese government over various human rights injustices.
But Shaq wasn’t having it.
Shaq on Daryl Morey/China "One of our best values here in America is free speech we're allowed to say what we want to say and we are allowed to speak out on injustices and that's just how it goes. and if people don't understand that that's something they have to deal with. pic.twitter.com/vefcHSPlMD
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) October 22, 2019
“And, one of our best values here in America is free speech. We’re allowed to say what we want to say and we are allowed to speak out on injustices and that’s just how it goes,” O’Neal told the pre-game TNT panel. “If people don’t understand that, that’s something they have to deal with.
“I just thought it was unfortunate for both parties, and then you have people speaking when they don’t know what they’re talking about. But Daryl Morey was right. Whenever you see something wrong going on anywhere in the world, you should have the right to say ‘that’s not right,’ and that’s what he did.”
After suggesting they wouldn’t just “shut up and dribble” when it related to perceived American injustices, James & Co. were quick to button their lips and just dribble when their Chinese money was at stake.
That stance drew wide bi-partisan criticism, and Shaq wasn’t ready to sweep it all under the rug just yet.
Charles Barkley, on the other hand, was quick to push back against Shaq.
“We all have a responsibility to our employer,” Barkley said. “I can’t come on TV and say anything I want to politically. I can’t do that. His allegiance is to the Houston Rockets and the NBA, and he can quit if he’s not happy with it.”
Barkley may not get it, James certainly doesn’t get it, but Shaq seems to. The rights to life and freedom far outweigh any employment allegiances or income.
As Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “he who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”
Do you support Free Speech? Do you stand with Daryl Morey? Get the shirt that says so below!
The NBA was heavily criticized for its initial response to the tweet Daryl Morey sent supporting protestors in Hong Kong, but commissioner Adam Silver says anyone who believes the league has caved to the demands of Chinese officials is wrong. If they had, Morey would no longer be the general manager of the Houston Rockets.
While speaking at the TIME 100 Health Summit on Thursday, Silver said the media coverage of the NBA’s response to Morey’s tweet and the fallout it caused was “confusing” in that he thought the league had clearly taken a “principled position.” Silver felt it was clear from the jump that the NBA was supporting freedom of speech.
“Maybe I was trying too hard to be a diplomat,” Silver said. “I didn’t see it as my role as the commissioner of the NBA to weigh in on the substance of the protest, but to say here’s this platform (for free expression).”
Many believe the NBA is doing all it can to protect its bottom line, but Silver said the league is willing to accept millions in losses. He said the “losses have already been substantial” from a business standpoint, and he noted how Chinese officials immediately called for him to remove Morey from his position with Houston.
“We made clear that we were being asked to fire him, by the Chinese government, by the parties we dealt with, government and business,” Silver said. “We said there’s no chance that’s happening. There’s no chance we’ll even discipline him.
“These American values — we are an American business — travel with us wherever we go. And one of those values is free expression. We wanted to make sure that everyone understood we were supporting free expression.”
There’s little question the NBA has taken financial consequences into consideration on some level, and it seems like they are adapting as they realize how strongly fans in America feel about the issues in China. LeBron James has done a terrible job of living up to his self-proclaimed social justice warrior status, but others like Doc Rivers have publicly backed Morey this week. Expect things to keep trending in that direction, though some will view it as already too late.
Do you support Free Speech? Do you stand with Daryl Morey? Get the shirt that says so below!