Daryl Morey has stepped down as GM of the Houston Rockets.
The Houston Rockets knew they needed to make major changes this offseason, as they came up short of even reaching the Western Conference Finals for the fourth time in the last five seasons. While most expected a trade or two, Tilman Fertitta instead cleaned house by firing the coach. In a surprising twist, GM Daryl Morey, the architect of one of the West’s best, has also given up his executive role.
Morey, who has been with the organization since 2006, stepped down as general manager of the Rockets. With Morey and Mike D’Antoni went, the Rockets might ditch their 3-ball heavy style of play after another disappointing playoff exit.
Reports are that Rafael Stone, previously the Executive Vice President for Basketball Operations will take over as GM.
Daryl Morey was extremely successful during his 13-season run in Houston
Morey became the team’s GM in 2007, and immediately instilled an analytical approach to roster construction that eschewed size and mid-range shots in favor of speed and three-point shooting. Morey’s Rockets never had a losing season, with a 41-41 finish in 2015-16 standing out as the worst season he had. Under his watch, Houston won six playoff series and helped James Harden win both an MVP and three consecutive scoring titles.
However, Houston’s run-n-gun has fizzled out against bigger, more physical teams in the postseason. They made the Western Conference Finals just twice, and their decision to play 6-foot-5 PJ Tucker at center doomed them against LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and the Los Angeles Lakers in this year’s playoffs. Trading for Russell Westbrook’s humungous contract when he didn’t fit their style of play might’ve been the nail in the coffin for Morey.
Morey should be credited for building a consistent winner and developing a roster that has helped Harden become the game’s foremost offensive threat. However, his equations struggle to account for the variables that spring up in the postseason, and his lack of deep playoff runs might’ve led to his exit.