"We're going to Disney World!" NBA to resume season July 31 at WDW

Kliq

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 31, 2013
12,813
Morey's biggest mistake was not necessarily the Westbrook trade, but trading for Paul and then signing him to a giant extension. The conventional wisdom was that Paul and Harden were a clunky fit together and it would be awkward for them to play together, and it ended up being the case and Paul demanded a trade. Some point during his tenure, Houston decided to give him a huge extension that was kind of shocking at the time, given Paul's injury history and the general aging curve for small guards. So when the Paul/Harden situation predictably went south, the trade market for him was really limited due to the extension. Houston was going to have to take on an equally questionable massive contract, so they pretty much had to trade with OKC and get Westbrook.

What annoyed me about Houston/Morey was that he basically had a crazy-guy scheme for basketball that could generate regular season results, but kept coming up short in the playoffs. Instead of thinking about adjusting his team, he just doubled down and kept on pushing the game further and further away from traditional basketball, ending up with an ugly facsimile of the game that basically turned the game into a random lottery based on shooting exclusively three pointers. I say that as someone that on this board frequently defended Harden's offensive style and found his genius appealing, but it reached a point where it was too much. Once Capela was traded and they went to ultra-small ball I was out.

The frustrating part was that if you on paper said that there was this GM who came up with this crazy strategy to win a championship that many people doubted, and his team consistently flamed out in the playoffs, and he put the team in salary cap hell, you would assume he would not only be fired, but he would be one of the worst GMs of the decade. Morey got an enormous amount of slack because the analytics community liked him and his logic was statistically friendly. Progressive minds thought it was great to cut out inefficient mid-range jumpers, to get rid of offensively limited big men, and to play fast with as much spacing as possible. The logic is sound, but Morey pushed it way too far and refused to make any real adjustments to his philosophy that may have unlocked a more sustainable version of the Rockets, digging himself deeper in the process and now painting a bleak future for the Rockets, despite still having a durable Top 5 NBA player in his prime.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 24, 2002
33,953
Your point about the Paul extension is entirely fair. I will once again say that when you don't have a LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Steph Curry or Kevin Durant and the road to a championship runs through them, you have to be creative. I don't fault Morey at all for what he was trying to do. Its amazing that he even took the risk on some level.
 

HowBoutDemSox

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 12, 2009
5,699
I’m convinced that extension was agreed to as a condition for Chris Paul to pick up his player option and facilitate that trade to Houston in the first place, even if they couldn’t legally put it writing for another year. No way Chris Paul turns down the max he would have otherwise gotten as a free agent that offseason (with the Clippers or otherwise) unless Morey made clear to his agent a comparable deal was coming as soon as allowed under the rules, and Houston wouldn’t have been able to generate try the cap space to sign him to that deal until they had his Bird rights, so the opt-in and trade was the only choice at the time. This article from the time discussed the cap gymnastics required to pull the trade off in the first place and suggested the handshake deal was a strong possibility:
Technically, Paul is only making a one-year commitment to the Rockets. He can become a free agent again next summer and command the same maximum contract on the open market that he bypassed this year to facilitate this trade.

But there are ways the Rockets can work around that to keep Paul around for the long haul.

The most obvious is to agree to a wink-wink arrangement and agree to pay Paul a full five-year maximum deal next summer. Because Paul is being traded rather than signed, the Rockets would have his full Bird Rights.
 

Kliq

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 31, 2013
12,813
Your point about the Paul extension is entirely fair. I will once again say that when you don't have a LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Steph Curry or Kevin Durant and the road to a championship runs through them, you have to be creative. I don't fault Morey at all for what he was trying to do. Its amazing that he even took the risk on some level.
Houston DOES have one of those players; but Houston never was able to maximize their team even while having a Top 5 player, MVP winner and durable superstar. This wasn't a team like Indiana trying to scrape together a competitive roster with nothing; this was a team with a super-duper star.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 24, 2002
33,953
Houston DOES have one of those players; but Houston never was able to maximize their team even while having a Top 5 player, MVP winner and durable superstar. This wasn't a team like Indiana trying to scrape together a competitive roster with nothing; this was a team with a super-duper star.
Harden is not one of those guys. That much is clear. Again, the last eight championships have involved one of James, Leonard, Curry and/or Durant. While many metrics and traditional stats show Harden as being in their class, its clear to anyone who watches the sport that he just isn't as good as them.

My point, which I am apparently not clear on is this - you have this unique generational offensive talent with Harden but he is also a misfit toy in terms of size, style of play etc. Morey could have kept going with what Houston was doing with Capela or even gone more traditional but that wasn't likely to yield different results. So Morey decided to go all-in and I am glad he did if only because we got to see something different. I suspect we won't see a move like that - where a GM essentially experiments with a nominally contending team - for a long time.
 

Kliq

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 31, 2013
12,813
Harden is not one of those guys. That much is clear. Again, the last eight championships have involved one of James, Leonard, Curry and/or Durant. While many metrics and traditional stats show Harden as being in their class, its clear to anyone who watches the sport that he just isn't as good as them.

My point, which I am apparently not clear on is this - you have this unique generational offensive talent with Harden but he is also a misfit toy in terms of size, style of play etc. Morey could have kept going with what Houston was doing with Capela or even gone more traditional but that wasn't likely to yield different results. So Morey decided to go all-in and I am glad he did if only because we got to see something different. I suspect we won't see a move like that - where a GM essentially experiments with a nominally contending team - for a long time.
It seems like we are going to just disagree on this, but I don't buy this at all. Harden isn't just some super strange player that can only play one particular way and Morey did his best with those limitations. Harden is one of the most skilled basketball players in the history of the sport; Houston chose to play a particular way and my belief is that it ended up handicapping the team overall which is why people view Harden as not being on the same level as the people you mentioned, because that style did not win in the playoffs and at the end of the day, was fairly easy to defend by a well-orchestrated playoff defense.
 

Jimbodandy

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 31, 2006
3,940
around the way
Harden's obviously good enough to win with a better team around him, and clearly this experiment failed. But it's no accident that his game doesn't play as well in the playoffs as it does in the regular season. He's not on Lebron or Kawhi's level. I'm surprised that this is even in question.
 

Rook05

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
2,702
Boulder, CO
The only chance the Nuggets have is going down double digits to start the third. But it would be delicious if they knocked off the Clips....
 

Sam Ray Not

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
6,847
NYC
Clips playing with fire here, allowing a boatload of wide open threes and letting Jamal Murray get all he can eat. Could go south quickly for them if they don’t ramp up the defensive intensity.
 

Tony C

Dope
Dope
Apr 13, 2000
12,378
Denver down 2 at the half but looked like the superior team....couldn't put down some very make-able shots. This is probably the Nuggets' death knell, but I think they beat the Clippers. Never thought I'd say that.
 

ElUno20

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
4,095
Feels like Nuggets are about to steamroll in the 2nd half.

Nice job showing up Paul George
 

DeadlySplitter

Member
SoSH Member
Oct 20, 2015
21,639
Nuggets are just outshooting them tonight.

I'm annoyed how well the whole bracket has set up the Lakers after they were thoroughly beaten in the offseason. Well, that's why it's only the offseason...
 

luckiestman

Son of the Harpy
Silver Supporter
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
16,864
if Nugs hold on, winning 6 elimination games over 2 rounds is very impressive.