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Time to Stick a Fork in the Houston Rockets and Morey’s Analytics Dream -

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by by78, Apr 30, 2016.

  1. by78

    by78 Rookie

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    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/vince-vega/time-to-stick-a-fork-in_b_9796526.html


    Time to Stick a Fork in the Houston Rockets and Morey’s Analytics Dream

    Daryl Morey trumpets analytics. Frankly, so does every MBA and corporate suit when they look to sell the soul of an enterprise. Any decision can be made by multiplying or dividing two numbers by each other and then sprinkling in the word “analytics” to sound smart. It’s the words spoken in corporate strategy meetings to make mediocre decisions appear intelligent and pose blind luck as some sort of tactical victory. This is how the 2016 Houston Rockets were constructed.

    The best front office leadership leads behind-the-scenes. It would take most fans some googling to know who the GMs are of even some of the best sports franchises such as the Golden State Warriors and Carolina Panthers (Bob Myers and Dave Gettleman - respectively). Then there’s the GMs who desperately need the limelight. They tout their process as if they are selling moonshine during prohibition. Where they should normally play close to the vest, create a winning culture and counsel the team leadership from owner down to coach and team captain, Morey is none of those. He is too busy buried in numbers or Twittering about his brilliance. There is the legacy of this era’s Houston Rockets.

    When Morey spent much of 2012-13 gathering assets as if it were an episode of A&E’s Hoarders, he came out of the season with notables James Harden, Jeremy Lin and his coup de grace from the Lakers, Dwight Howard. It looked wonderful on paper, as paper often distorts reality.

    Never mind that James Harden was acquired by the sheer dumb luck of the Oklahoma City Thunder panicking in their contract negotiations - more an OKC screw up than a Morey play. Of course, to analytics guys, paper is all that matters. Everything can be explained with numbers. Bear in mind, Morey is a man with an Excel sheet full of numbers and no plan. For basketball minds, the true key was integrating the talent, a Sisyphean task that fell to Hall of Famer Kevin McHale.

    While there was a lot of false hope through the regular season, the cracks in the armor. Rumblings of discord between would-be stars, Howard, Harden and the entire team. Lin never meshed with the starting lineup and his defense was porous. Howard, who had showcased a refusal to run pick-and-roll throughout his entire career, was suddenly expected to abandon his Shaq post-up fantasies to no avail. A raw talent, who after a decade in the league, had developed little footwork while proving turnover-prone and inefficient in slowdown offense, needed his ego appeased for talents he had never bothered to develop.

    Meanwhile, Harden, who had emerged as a superstar from under the veil of the Thunder bench, had also become the internet’s favorite Instagram feature for his matador defense. The compilation videos on YouTube are priceless. Combine this with his ball-dominant style of play and the Rockets were constructed for failure.

    As is the case with most corporate suits, the Dilbert Rules apply. The team fluked to the Western Conference Finals in 2015, more off of a Clippers collapse than Rockets brilliance. In fact, it was Coach McHale’s tough decision to go to his bench and feature journeyman, Josh Smith, that led to the victory. In the following round, with no luck to guide them, the Rockets were mauled by the Golden State Warriors.

    While it would have seemed McHale would have made his case for his strategy and system with his playoff success, it took just 11 games for Morey to take his failures out on the head coach. The team was coming apart at the seams. For all it’s talent, the 2016 Rockets sauntered into the playoffs like a Brooklyn trust fund baby headed to the smoothie stand - no sense of urgency whatsoever. The Warriors, without MVP Steph Curry, devoured the Rockets this week.

    Now, with no one left to blame, it may be time for Morey to fire himself. The numbers don’t lie. Chalking up the amount of team discord, failures per dollar spent and lack of hustle should surely materialize in stats that would demonstrate this team’s status as a disaster. It’s time for the Rockets to tender an apology to McHale, part with Morey and build a real team.

    The fans have been punished enough. If anything, the Rockets eked into the playoffs on the final night, besting an upstart and fun to watch Utah Jazz team by a single game. The Rockets were unwatchable. The Jazz would have at least offered a glimpse at the future of the NBA.
     
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  2. snowconeman22

    snowconeman22 Member

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    Hot take !!

    It amazes me that people like this have a following and can post articles etc . What a poorly researched ,highly opinionated piece .

    His advice is " to build a real team " .....wow great insight .

    His plan to do so ... Be like the Warriors , be like the panthers .. Those guys have good GMs . What an asshat
     
  3. RV6

    RV6 Contributing Member

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    Sounds like they just copied someone's rant on CF :p
     
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  4. K-Low_4_Prez

    K-Low_4_Prez Member

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    The thing about "Morey ball" is that for a team that covets 3 point shots so much we had horrible personnel to fit that style... Like GS is doing "Moreyball" they just have guys that actually are good at shooting the damn ball!
     
  5. SF3isBack!!

    SF3isBack!! Member

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    This offseason sucks already everyone seems to know everything about the Rockets now and yet they also seem to know nothing at all.
     
  6. SF3isBack!!

    SF3isBack!! Member

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    I agree the Rockets major problem was due to personnel problems. We didn't get lucky last year Harden carried us and then Josh Smith and Brewer stepped up for one half of a game.
     
  7. Sweet Lou 4 2

    Sweet Lou 4 2 Contributing Member

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    The whole league engages in Moreyball - tops teams are shooting 3's like crazy. It's a validation of analytics - this article writer is a fool.
     
  8. by78

    by78 Rookie

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    Morey isn't the first one to realize that shooting 3s are 'more efficient'; he's simply the first one to advertise it to the press.

    So the question now is this: why can't we get a GM who has the ability to put together a roster that can execute 'Moreyball'.

    In other words, we need a GM who not only preaches 'Moreyball' but also can put it into practice.
     
  9. sabesque

    sabesque Member

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    the only time I feel like morey overly "trumpets" analytics is at/through the Sloan conference. other than that you don't really hear him beating the analytics drum.

    He has the association with analytics because he was maybe a pioneer of it in the NBA, but this guy doesn't have evidence that he "trumpets" it. That's totally a misperception
     
  10. oakdogg

    oakdogg Contributing Member

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    The article was terrible - truly awful - but that quote was sorta true. The actual deal was a no-brainer. I would have done it. You would have done it. Pretty much all of CF would have done it. Now, Morey had done the right thing by collecting the pieces we could trade. But it did not take a genius to pull the trigger on Houston's part.
     
  11. acsorelle4

    acsorelle4 Member

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    I believed this to be true in Orlando, and I believe it still. Why would someone resist the style of play that they excel at? He looks like a beast when he plays the pick and roll right. What, or who, warped his mind into hating what he does best? I'll never understand this.
     
  12. zcarenow

    zcarenow Member

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    writer doesnt know what he is talking about...problem with morey is that he didnt get shooters
     
  13. hakeemthagreat

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    No the difference is GS actually runs plays that utilize the other 4 players on the court. Moreyball is Harden playing hero 95% of the time. Being Morey isn't a coach, and has no basketball background, not sure why he'd implement a offense as GM, but that's just me.
     
  14. Mr. Clutch

    Mr. Clutch Contributing Member

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    Time to stick a fork in the Huffington post
     
  15. Blaster_333

    Blaster_333 Member

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    This is not necessarily telling the whole story and is oversimplifying it.

    Teams don't just "shoot three's like crazy", the Rockets do that. The Warriors have Steph and Klay to jack 3's but they also pass the ball around freely to get others in good rhythm, same with the Spurs. Rhythm is something that's never taken into account when explaining the bad shooting of the role players.

    And no one needs validate analytics, because stats have been around forever now. Because that's what it is, new stats we have developed to help us possibly understand parts of the game better. It's not the end all be all, every stat still has a story to be found below it. It's already been validated before it was re-branded, so let's stop arguing about that.

    What's really being argued is how much should analytics play a part in the various decisions of a team.

    In the Rockets case, analytics trumps chemistry as shown this with this year's team, whether or not they hated each other, they sure didn't play together a lot. Even team strategy is based on analytics, which I would argue just makes you more predictable, and is foolish when you have personnel that doesn't fit, namely Dwight.

    The Spurs and Warriors do not make their all of their decisions based on analytics, you only have to listen to Bob Myers, RC, and Pop to see the differences in how they decide to build their team, and Morey's way.

    Ask more questions, think more for yourself, unless of course you have some kind of agenda, which seems to be the case in clutchfans. You either like Harden or you're a hater. Sorry, but the world doesn't work like that.
     
  16. burnshroom

    burnshroom Member

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    Ummm, of course it is simplifying it. It was a short response.... deerrrrr. :grin:

    The analytics don't need to be "validated" so much as the on the court product and use of the methods behind the analytics simply back up the use of them.

    A team like GS that has smashed records from behind the three point line is not a validation so much as proof of the method.

    This GS team is pretty much the SAME team that the Rockets set or tied a three point record against, but now the roles are reversed. When we did it that game we were running up the score and GS tried to dirty up the game. Now they do it and it has revolutionized the NBA.

    Our problem is we don't have the personnel to properly emphasize the use of those methods. Ariza and Beverly and Dmo/TJones/JSmoove are not knock down shooters.

    I would point out that in the past chemistry came second to assets and bringing in big names. We sacrificed Parsons and Lin to make a run at Bosh. This past offseason we went the chemistry route and brought back a team that made it to the Western Conference Finals, but obviously that was fake chemistry in that success builds a false image of brotherhood... Everything is fine when you are winning. But adversity is where chemistry either really is built and shown or you show your cracks.

    You would blame this on Morey I suppose, because if anything this was outside his usual practice to stand pat. While Bob Myers and RC may not base their decisions on analytics, you would be daft to think they don't play a part.

    As I mentioned above we don't have the proper personnel for the method... Morey brought back guys this year that seemed to do well but regressed. You can't predict that however. And the transition from guys we used to have to spread the floor including Lin and Parsons then Covington (a stretch 4 at the time) and Daniels to guys like Ariza, Beverly, Dmo and company is a downgrade.

    And your point of Dwight not fitting... technically he doesn't have to fit if you are surrounding him with quality shooters. And the other part that seems to be missed on here is coaching.

    Morey can preach all he wants about analytics, but he still leaves it to his coach to implement it properly. So if movement is needed to get open 3's then that is on the coach to implement... sadly the last two guys we have had have not been great with X's and O's to say the least. THAT does fall on Morey.

    I would say the same of you, because as well said as this post is... it's repetitive of the same narrative of the article above.

    Because my only "agenda" being a Rockets fan is to want the Rockets to win, but also being a Rockets fan I am here no matter what. Good with the bad. From Pippen to Kelvin Cato and whatever is next. And yes the world can work for anyone who simply likes Harden or hates him, that's THEIR world, who am I to judge. I don't have to like it... but oh well.
     
  17. ParaSolid

    ParaSolid Member

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    Even people who hate Morey can't be happy with this click bait article. Probably written by some staffer at huffington post who knows nothing about the NBA
     
  18. Pizza_Da_Hut

    Pizza_Da_Hut I put on pants for this?

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    Take that Morey, analytics is dead. You need to be more like San Antonio and GS who... wait... they use analytics too.. Wait a minute here...
     
  19. glimmertwins

    glimmertwins Member

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    Both teams have the same end goal (to take uncontested 3s and layups), but the roster is a lot better for that style in GS, and SA which impacts the coaching game plan and player development. The rhythm theory I don't think is valid. What IS valid is knowing to distinguish between a good shot and a great shot and that's the difference between Houston's shooting versus more successful team's. Houston's roster are
    A.) not good shooters
    B.) don't seem to understand the difference in quality between a 3 pt set shot, and a rushed out of position 3 point shot(probably what makes them "A" in the first place.

    ...part of B is coaching, but it's also personnel. Morey was spot on in how he made teams understand the true value of layups and 3 pointers - he didn't acquire the right personnel though and that made it hard on the team to execute the strategy and forced us into a highly specific and predictable style of play making it even tougher on coaches. Steve Kerr himself couldn't come in and make this a Warriors like team even if he installed his own system because we don't have anyone outside of Harden who can create a shot, or make smart passes, or understand the difference between a good shot and a better one(or for some players on this roster, a good shot and a horrible one - Looking at you Brewer!).

    When I reflect on it, Morey seems to have done a really good job at understanding what measurable skills are valuable in the game of basketball on the whole and how to gain value in assets from clever contract negotiations(which was crucial in us landing Harden)....where he really failed though is in how he assembled this team to meet those goals - how he built a team around Harden. I think he was so caught up in the asset/acquisition/contract flexibility game, that he assembled a bunch of pieces that gave him maximum flexibility but don't seem to fit - even with the success of last year's team. He needs to be able to forsake flexibility in route to putting together a more complete roster.
     
  20. mac2yao

    mac2yao Member

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    The stuff about analytics was pretty horrendous writing, but the stuff about Dwight Howard was on-target.
     
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