The player management was carefully overseen.
The Houston Astros primarily developed their own players by selecting them at the top of the MLB draft after making the decision to tank. Jeff Lunhow also traded any and all potential Major League assets to try and acquire younger players that could develop into high-level contributors. This fostered a feeling that these could be the guys to bring the ‘Stros back to contending.
The Houston Rockets haven’t drafted and developed their guys in the same way. Daryl Morey didn’t undergo a tanking process like Lunhow, but he did seize his best opportunities like trading for a potential superstar in James Harden for spare parts. Trevor Ariza, Eric Gordon, and Ryan Anderson also feel like “our guys” after spending several seasons with the team.
Both general managers also took advantage of opportunities to add high-level pieces that could push their teams to new heights. Lunhow brought in guys like Josh Reddick and Brian McCann to add a veteran presence to a young squad. He also brought in Justin Verlander to anchor an already excellent starting staff. Verlander proved to be the workhorse that the ‘Stros thought they were getting.
In the same way, Morey pushed the right buttons to acquire Paul and P.J. Tucker. Both helped reinvigorate the Houston Rockets and brought a brand of toughness and energy, especially to the defensive side of the ball. Morey also added key contributors like Gerald Green and Joe Johnson to insulate their depth in case of injuries.