Rockets GM Daryl Morey was on Reddit yesterday and man, you guys, was he a delight. You can read the highlights here. Morey is in the last season of his contract with the Rockets and Les Alexander should sign him to an extension sooner rather than later. There's no good reason to let this guy go. Like, none. Whatsoever.
When asked about a wide range of topics from the efficacy of small ball, his thoughts on McHale as coach and the Rockets current playoff chances we got the responses of a very self-aware man. A guy that not only knows the score, he's counting cards at the black jack table hedging his next bet.
"We were rolling the dice on getting Jeremy Lin," Morey says. "But taking smart risks is what we have to do up and down the roster on every move. As only 1 team out of 30 gets to win, you cannot play it safe. We have won more games than we lost the past few years despite losing Yao Ming and it has been appropriately considered disappointing despite the fact that most teams win around one-third of their games after losing their franchise player.
"We need to keep taking on more smart risk."
And that's what it's all about right there: smart risk. Despite living in an unprecedented information age the world is still rife with unknowns. The draft is still a crap shoot. You never know how a player will develop when he changes locale. Whether it be from college to pros, from the Eastern Conference or the West. Best you can do is try to calculate the odds as accurately as possible and move your chips to the center of the table.
Morey came on board in Houston surrounded by doubt and uncertainty. Sports, naturally, are dominated by jocks. Morey is the antithesis to the Jock GMs. The Jordan's, the Isaiah Thomas's and the Otis Smith's. The fact that Morey has been able to run this franchise so competently with nothing more than an iPad and an abacus is a huge middle finger to the dumb, unfounded conventional thinking that surprisingly still prevails among various sports leagues. You don't need to play the game to run it.
Quite simply, there isn't another guy out there that could've done what Morey has done with the resources at his disposal. We're reminded that this is a man who specializes in maximizing profits out of slim margins. Morey makes us believe that moving Courtney Lee for a 31-35 pick was not only a smart move, it would've been damn near irresponsible if we HADN'T done it. There's no way in hell that Dwight would've stayed but it would've been a hell of a year. And yeah, it's rather unlikely that Lin will not maintain that near-insane level of play he had last year but he and Omer still keep us fluid, viable, RELEVANT.
We here at TDS have long sung arias of Morey's wily transactions, which are almost always for the better. And yet some of us in the Rockets fandom have, understandably, gotten complacent over his long unfulfilled promise of bringing a franchise player, and a championship thereof, to Houston. Over the years he's tried, and failed, to land Joe Johnson, Marcin Gortat, Pao Gasol (of course he gets a pass for that one), and most notably Chris Bosh, Andrew Bynum and Dwight Howard. But he isn't discouraged.
His conversation with fans yesterday lets us know that, "Yes I know what we need. But it's a bitch out there." Despite all evidence to the contrary Morey still believes that, no, it's not the City of Houston that's cursed, it's not that The Guy doesn't want to come here. Fact of the matter is that top level franchise guys don't change addresses often (or at all). Still Morey's been able to put the Rockets in a very favorable position for this season. A playoff appearance is certainly not out of the question (well, depending on who you're asking) and hope springs eternal with the guaranteed lottery pick acquired from Toronto.
The New Age is just as much about accepting that what's done is done as it is about realizing that the guy that put us here is responsible for the whole thing in the first place. The groundswell of youth that fulls this new roster could very well be Morey's legacy. And that's fine.
New Age is certainly better than Old Age.