Notes From The NBA D-League Showcase: Day 2 - A Chat With Rockets GM Daryl Morey

-- I read this while at the D-League Showcase, so it counts as a bullet point: Looking At The NBA's Best Performers In Crunch Time. It's a great look at clutch play from At The Hive's Rohan Cruyff. Why might this interest you? Because it finally clarifies my suspicion that Kevin Martin is a great clutch shooter, so long as others free him for shots. He won't get them on his own.

-- Antoine Walker took the court Tuesday night for the Idaho Stampede. I had front row seats to see the big man make his return to basketball, so naturally, he went 2-13 from the field and recorded ten turnovers. Think about that: for every five turnovers, he made one shot. Yikes, Toine. Heard multiple scouts say that not a single NBA player personnel director had any interest in Walker whatsoever, especially after last night.

-- Scottie Reynolds doesn't do anything for me. He's not very athletic, not very quick and doesn't possess a rare amount of any particular skill in order to make up for those shortcomings.

-- If you like shot blockers, you might like Vernon Goodridge. He's 28 years old and isn't much to write home about on offense, but he's an athletic big body who looks like he could help an NBA team should they lose a big to injury. That said, compared to Solomon Alabi (who I was once fairly high on...), Goodridge has the offensive polish of a brand new Mercedes. 

-- Former five-star recruit and Oklahoma center Tiny Gallon put up nineteen points and thirteen rebounds for the Maine Redhawks, but it was Shane Edwards of the New Mexico Thunderbirds that stole the show. He went 11-18 from the field with 28 points and ten rebounds. Gallon only shot 3-10 from the free throw line and turned the ball over seven times, so he has plenty to work on. But I do think he would be of more interest to the Rockets should he become available simply because he's the bigger body inside. Edwards, on the other hand, is a thinner, stretch-four type.

-- I introduced myself to Daryl Morey in between games on Tuesday night. I might have interrupted a conversation of his with NBA D-League president Dan Reed, but I hope that wasn't the case. Anyhow, Morey was very complimentary of the blog, said that it was well-written and actually thanked me for the coverage (I wonder if this is a sign that we need even MORE negativity?). After exchanging a few quibs for a bit, I asked him the following questions:

TM: Patrick Patterson went 10-4-4 in the big win last night. What have you liked about his showing thus far?

DM: Yeah, he's had a great start to his pro career. He obviously came down to the Vipers and improved every single game, and with the injuries to Yao Ming, to Brad Miller and now to Chuck Hayes, it's really opened the door to give him some minutes. He's really made the most of it.

TM: You just saw Tiny Gallon play with the Maine Redhawks, and while we're talking about bigs, do guys like him and RGV's Jeff Adrien have interest to you down the road?

DM: They have interest to me now, actually. That's why I'm here. We're always looking to upgrade if we can and we have a lot of guys on our Vipers team that might get a call-up. You mentioned that we've got Adrien. We've also got guys like [Jerel] McNeal, [Mustafa] Shakur, Richard Roby, Antonio Anderson... certainly I'll forget some guys, but we have a lot of players with good pro potential. And then with a guy like Tiny Gallon who looked impressive today... there is certainly a lot of talent in the D-League.

TM: Nobody can seem to explain where Ish Smith came from. How in the world did you guys discover him?

DM: (Laughs) I don't know -- we ended up liking him early, he obviously played his whole career at Wake Forest, came out as a senior. He's very aggressive, had NBA skill with his speed and his passing ability. Honestly, nobody knows, but he's really improved his shooting -- that's why he fell in the draft -- and now that his shooting has improved, there's no question he is an NBA player.

TM: With Yao having the recent ankle surgery, what happens from here? Is he still associated with the team? What's his involvement like?

DM: He's out for the year. Still involved with the team, still doing rehab. He'll be a special player for the franchise forever, no matter what happens. It looks like he's going to try to make it back, though nothing has been finalized. He's still talking to the doctors, but we'll know more as time goes on.

TM: Lastly, with all of these Carmelo Anthony talks starting to lengthen, it's been reported that, for example, Denver is threatening New Jersey in saying they'll trade him to New York and all of that... I suppose my question is if it ever gets this weird, behind the scenes?

DM: (Laughs) It's a big decision for Denver and for all the clubs involved. Naturally, it just takes time. It's not good how public things have gotten. We're not involved, you know, so we'll see how it plays out from there.

TM: Not involved, as in with those talks specifically?

DM: No, we are not involved with those talks specifically. There has been definite speculation but I can definitely say that we're not involved.

* * *

I'm still no master of the perfect interview, as you can clearly see, but it was nice to have a chance to finally meet Daryl in person and get to talk with him for a few minutes. For the record, I do believe the Rockets are still involved in some sort of discussion, just perhaps not in a possible three-way trade with New Jersey and Denver.

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