Houston Rockets: Why Daryl Morey will win Executive of the Year

Sep 23, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey during media day at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 23, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey during media day at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /

The Houston Rockets had one of the most notable seasons in their elongated history, which is definitely something that they should be lauded for.

Winning 55 games in one season is not the easiest of feats, considering that there’s such a crowded field of formidable competition in the Western Conference and throughout the Southwest Division.  With the exception of Houston Rockets faithful, there many who didn’t even expect this team to have the type of season it had.

But what happened was real, the accomplishments this team had were real and the man who set this peculiar formula into motion is definitely as real as they come.  Who am I talking about?  Yep, you guessed it, Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey.  Literally the architect of the team’s success since 2007, he has been able field a competitive team every season he has been at the helm.

We may not have qualified for the playoffs for that matter but each team we saw with each year he managed incrementally got better and became more reflective of his vision.  We’re realizing that vision now with a system heavily-based on analytics and the usage of three-pointer, a valuable, necessitated tool once an adage of the old ABA.

It’s crazy to admit to compare what we have to know to what we had back in yesteryear.  Things kicked into high gear when the team acquired James Harden in 2012.  Morey fleeced the Oklahoma City Thunder by trading away Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb, two first-round picks and second-rounder for the budding star off the bench.  This trade has paid huge dividends not only for the team success but for the team’s balance sheet as well.  The Thunder eventually turned one of those first-rounders into Steven Adams but the Houston Rockets clearly won that deal many times over.

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Harden was the first piece and after a solid season, Dwight Howard was brought in to pair up with the Beard.  I had hoped those two would be together for a long time, hopefully winning multiple championships but when personalities clash, the concept of winning goes out the window and hence we have the entire script of the 2015-16 season, one I’d like to forget.  So now that we realized that Harden is the superstar that we coveted, Morey moved to build around him and surrounding him with players that complement immensely.

Patrick Beverley has and will continue to be a mainstay on this team as he’s a perfect fit for the Rockets want to do with his defensive prowess, his bull dog mentality and his insistence to continue to get better at shooting the three-ball.  Nobody knew who this guy was before 2013 and he had multitude of offers this past trade deadline from teams pining for his services.

And as we rewind back to this past off season where the key pieces were added in Mike D’Antoni — the presumptive winner of the NBA Coach of the Year award — Ryan Anderson, Eric Gordon and Nene Hilario they all fused together to put this team into an upward motion we had only dreamed to conquest.

Not to mention with our past few draft picks in Clint Capela, Sam Dekker and Montrezl Harrell being valuable pieces to the roster and making remarkable contributions.

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Now I know that many of you may criticize Morey for firing Kevin McHale 11 games into the season — after winning Coach of the Year the season previous — but this team was going in a downward spiral and something had to be done.  J.B. Bickerstaff, his top assistant who finished out the season, wasn’t the answer but that’s why pencil have erasers and why computers are allowed to be rebooted.

Although D’Antoni has his faults with coaching defense, the design of him hiring Jeff Bzdelik and Roy Rogers to coach it was ingenious.  We rose from one of the worst defensive teams to the middle of the pack and stayed there all season.  This team isn’t designed to be the elite defensive type and I’m okay with that but as long they pour it on in critical moments, I’m okay with that.

The nominees for the NBA’s Executive of the Year have not been announced just yet but you better believe Morey will be named among the finalists.  After the team being largely a laughingstock the season prior, the Houston Rockets were consistently winning games this season, cementing themselves as the No. 3 three-seed in the West. This is his first competitive team that he built from the ground up — as he inherited Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady — which certainly makes his case even stronger.

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Now we’re all still smarting from the Rockets abrupt exit from the semis against the San Antonio Spurs this year but we can’t discount what this team did through this season and that’s a fact.  They’ll pick themselves up by the bootstraps and land back on their feet as they always do.

Sure, you can give the award to the Bob Myers, Danny Ainge, David Griffin or R.C. Buford but the award is attributed to the element of surprise and the Rockets certainly raised many brows with their high level of play this season.

With that being said, with no reservation or purpose of evasion, I unequivocally support Morey for Executive of the Year, an award he’s never won.

Good luck — we’ve got your back DM.

Go Rockets.