Short answer: Maybe.
Let's get one thing straight: Kawhi Leonard, though impressively large-handed and very good on defense, was not going to lead the Rockets to a championship next season. Ditto for Chris Singleton. And Marcus Morris. Or even Kyrie Irving or Derrick Williams.
We all know Daryl Morey must have some kind of magic powers. He took a team that was receiving sizable contributions the year before from such cancers as Rafer Alston and Luther Head, as well as Bonzi Wells and Juwan Howard. He turned Vassilis Spanoulis into Luis Scola, etc. I could go on for a long time, but I refuse. We know what moves Morey has made to turn this team into a better group of players. He's got trade assets crawling out of the floor of the Toyota Center. It is known.
But maybe, just maybe, Daryl Morey is the LeBron James of NBA GMs.
Please follow me after the jump to read the rest of what might be my last post here if some of the higher-ups deem this banhammer-worthy. Just kidding, I hope.
Like most of the other commenters last night in the draft thread (which was awesome by the way; if you weren't there, you missed out), I was shocked by the Marcus Morris pick. Like Tom, my school is in the Big XII (is it Big X now?) and I've seen plenty of the Morris twins. And as much as I want to believe Marcus can play the three, I don't see it. The guy is a power forward from what I've seen. Though Tom knows him better than I do, so if he says it, I'm willing to withhold judgment for now.
I know Donatas "The Count of" Montiejunas reminds me of David Andersen, though Patrick made sure I watched some footage to see that the DA never played defense like Edmond Dantes can. And yes, the Count of Monte Cristo references are going to keep coming all year. It's one of my favorite books and movies. Get used to it.
Chandler Parsons hit a ton of game winners at Florida a couple of years ago. So, there's that.
But back to Morey. At least twice a year I'll be reading a mailbag by Ian Thomsen or some other writer and someone will ask, "Why does Daryl Morey get so much credit? The Rockets are (insert mediocre record here) and look like they're going nowhere. (Insert GM whose owner loves to spend money) is way better by comparison and has his team on the verge of a championship."
I want to punch those people. Did those green-lit GMs (Donnie Nelson, Mitch Kupchak, Danny Ferry with the Cavs) have two huge contracts for often-injured players when they came aboard? Did they have RAFER ALSTON RUNNING THEIR TEAM? Were you dropped on your head at birth? Have you even heard of a salary cap? Lots of questions come to mind. However, sooner rather than later it appears the naysayers are going to have a point, although indirectly. And then it hit me.
Daryl Morey is the GM equivalent of LeBron James.
He's considered by most experts to be one of the best GMs (if not the best) in the league. At least once a year he makes a move that shocks you. For the longest time he had to work with spare bits and parts to make his team relevant. He still has one glaring weakness (post game for LeBron, superstar for Morey). He teases you with his ability but always delivers the goods yet still leaves you wanting more. And, they both seemingly shrink in the proverbial fourth quarter. Don't make me mention the crazy nicknames, either. Chosen One? Resident Boy Genius?
Finally, it's put-up or shut-up time for both. I easily could have written this piece last year and it would have worked then, too. But it's just as relevant today as it was then. Morey has the pieces. Tons of them. He needs at least one more. Will he take it? We'll probably have to wait until a new CBA is signed to find out.
I have a hard time believing other GMs wouldn't be willing to pull the trigger to land a stud. Morey seems to be waiting for the perfect trade, but he needs to learn the same thing ClutchFans commenters have struggled with for years: there is no such thing as a perfect trade, especially for a team like the Rockets.
Carroll Dawson wasn't a great GM, but he took chances. Some worked and some backfired. Nevertheless, he kept the Rockets relevant and exciting. Rebuilding year? How does Morey expect to rebuild with 13 guys who deserve playing time? Heck, the Rockets could pull off some kind of 6-players-for-1 trade and still have good depth.
The time is now, because as it stands right now next year's team won't be a rebuilding team. They'll be the exact same team we've seen for the past two years. Morey seems lost, and he's literally one more power forward from asking, "What should I do?"
And to prove that I still like Morey and want him to succeed, I'll link to this Kelly Dwyer piece from 2009 that I must have read ten times in total, because it not only gives me hope for the future but reminds us all how great Morey is at evaluating talent. The time for evaluation is done now. It's time to go all-in.