The Houston Rockets had a great night on the whole in the inaugural NBA Awards show. Sure, James Harden didn’t win the MVP award but at least there is an easy argument to give Russell Westbrook the award.
The Rockets got three awards: Sixth Man of the Year, Coach of the Year, and the inaugural NBA Hustle Award.
But the biggest miss on Monday night for Houston was the NBA Executive of the Year award. Golden State Warriors GM Bob Myers received the honor. Myers was rewarded for the Warriors completing their revenge on the Cleveland Cavaliers and nearly completing a perfect run through the playoffs with a 16-1 record.
The voting for the award ended before the season and the only sample size that was taken for the award was the regular season. The biggest change that Myers made was adding Kevin Durant.
Of course, you can’t downplay the addition of basically the best player in the NBA to an already championship level roster.
But how much credit should Myers really get for adding Durant? Draymond Green has taken the credit for recruiting Durant from the moment that the Warriors lost to the Cavs in last season.
On top of that, Myers has already gotten an NBA Executive of the Year award for constructing the current version of the Warriors sans Durant in 2015. And rightfully so. Myers did a masterful job of creating a juggernaut of a roster.
The 2017 award should have gone to Daryl Morey and the 2017 NBA Awards prove that fact for the long term and short term arguments for Morey’s tenure.
Look at each award, MVP award. James Harden finished in second place in MVP voting. And how did Morey get Harden? Morey sent guards Kevin Martin and Jeremy Lamb, two first-round picks and a second-round pick to OKC.
Would OKC say Martin, Lamb, and draft picks Steven Adams and Mitch McGary worth giving up five years of Harden’s rookie extension?
One of the greatest deals in NBA history did not result in NBA Executive of the Year for Morey.
Fast forward to the 2016-17, Morey was dealing with a Rockets roster that was a mess before the season. The only thing that worked was the Harden deal.
Morey swung and missed on a few key free agents and went to plan B. He adds Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson. But they proved to be the right buttons to push without getting a star.
Gordon was the Sixth Man of the Year in his first season off the bench. He set a record for the most three-pointers made from a bench player with 206, shattering the previous record by 27.
Then he traded for another Sixth Man of the Year finalist from the Lakers, Lou Williams. Williams averaged 14.9 points and 2.4 assists for the Rockets in 23 games.
Morey found another award-winner in Russia of all places. Morey found the 2017 NBA Hustle Award winner Patrick Beverley in 2012, playing for Spartak St. Petersburg.
Beverley proved to be the perfect complement to the offensive-first guard James Harden. On top of that, he signed Beverley to a friendly contract that may now be one of the biggest trade chips for Morey.
Morey and the Rockets pushed the right buttons in the offseason by adding Mike D’Antoni. D’Antoni didn’t seem like the right choice with the issues on defense. But instead, the addition D’Antoni expanded Harden’s game and help set the new record for most threes made by a team in the season (1,181).
In the end...
In the end, the moves that Morey made directly affected the Rockets standing in the Western Conference. Houston improved their win total by 14 games and a third place finish in the Western Conference.
Was it impressive to add Durant to the Warriors? Yes. But did Myers impact Durant coming? No, and Myers’ work created the title window in 2015 when he won the award.
Morey helped added three award-winners to this roster and nearly had a fourth with the MVP award. It was time to credit Daryl Morey for his work and the voters missed their window.