Daryl Morey had a legitimate claim to being the best executive in the NBA this year, and over the last five years. In recognition of the great work he's done turning the Rockets into the NBA's third-best team, his fellow executives gave him enough votes to finish seventh place.
Bob Myers is the official NBA Executive of the Year. He hired Steve Kerr, signed Shaun Livingston, and didn't trade Klay Thompson. Those are the moves that Myers made this year. Yes, he re-signed Stephen Curry two years ago when his ankles were a real concern. And he orchestrated a master stroke in trading Monta Ellis for Andrew Bogut, who was hurt that the Warriors ended up tanking, barely keeping their No. 7 pick and drafted Harrison Barnes.
But this is not, as I understand it, an Executive of the Past Few Years award. If it is, Daryl Morey should also win. The Rockets never finished worse than 10th in the Western Conference in the past few years, and are in their third straight playoffs. They never had a top 10 pick, nor have they been in a position where they almost lost a top 10 pick.
Over the past three years, the Rockets have turned over the entire roster. THE ENTIRE ROSTER. In terms of consecutive years of service, James Harden, Terrence Jones, Patrick Beverley and Donatas Motiejunas are tied for the Rockets' longest-tenured player.
Yes, the Warriors are a superior team than the Rockets. But if you're going to say the Warriors are a vastly better-coached team -- as people did when Kerr finished second and Kevin McHale finished sixth in Coach of the Year voting -- shouldn't SOMEONE get credit for making the Rockets as good as they are?
Harden, Dwight Howard, Trevor Ariza, not-Chandler Parsons, Corey Brewer and Josh Smith were all brilliant roster moves that, other than Howard's signing, were never considered no-brainers. People slammed Morey for bringing in Smith, and he might have been the MVP of the first round. People thought the Rockets would take a step back after losing Parsons and bringing in Ariza and, whether Morey wanted it to happen or not, the decision made the Rockets better.
Myers has, admittedly, done a terrific job. He should get plenty of votes. But, via Pro Basketball Talk, here is the voting breakdown (votes go first-place, second-place, third-place, total points):
- Bob Myers, Golden State (13-5-2-82)
- David Griffin, Cleveland (8-7-8-69)
- Mike Budenholzer, Atlanta (4-5-1-36)
- Danny Ainge, Boston (1-3-2-16)
- Gar Forman, Chicago (1-2-3-14)
- Neil Olshey, Portland (2-1-1-14)
- Daryl Morey, Houston (0-2-2-8)
- Stan Van Gundy, Detroit (1-0-0-5)
- Sam Presti, Oklahoma City (0-1-1-4)
- Dell Demps, New Orleans (0-0-3-3)
- Flip Saunders, Minnesota (0-1-0-3)
- John Hammond, Milwaukee (0-1-0-3)
- Mitch Kupchak, L.A. Lakers (0-1-0-3)
- Sam Hinkie, Philadelphia (0-1-0-3)
- Chris Wallace, Memphis (0-0-2-2)
- Dennis Lindsey, Utah (0-0-2-2)
- R.C. Buford, San Antonio (0-0-2-2)
Stan Van Gundy received a first-place vote! He's paying Josh Smith tens of millions of dollars to kill it for the Rockets in the playoffs! How did that guy vote for SVG over Morey? How?
Mike Budenholzer made exactly one move as Hawks general manager, trading Adreian Payne for a lottery-protected first-rounder. These votes, I guess, were for Danny Ferry for actually putting together the team, but if it weren't for COTY Budenholzer, would the team even be any good?
Meanwhile, Danny Ainge is recognized for compiling a bunch of first-round picks and no players of significant long-term value. Did Daryl Morey finish in fourth-place in the voting three years ago when he had done the exact same thing, but the Rockets finished with a better record in the tougher conference? Of course not.
I can go on and on about the voting breakdown here (Neil Olshey's big move this year was to sign Chris Kaman, and trade all depth for Arron Afflalo, ensuring the Blazers would lose without Wes Mathews. Other than that, he decided to hold all his cards, a classic Executive of the Year move). But it's all pointless.
Yes, it's stupid to get this upset about who gets what votes. Morey was never going to win this award, and he likely never will. It's the one award that's voted on by the winner's peers, until we get the Players' Choice Awards this summer, which will be awesomely terrible.
Morey is not liked by his peers. He's duped many of them in trades, and his public persona is full of arrogance and smarminess. We love him for it, because a very powerful argument can be made that he's the best executive in the league.
Morey's peers will never make this argument, nor will the acknowledge it with their votes. It's a reality we live in, but that doesn't mean we should be okay with it.