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Woj podcast with Murray

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by Amel, Jun 8, 2016.

  1. Amel

    Amel Contributing Member

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    <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">New <a href="https://twitter.com/TheVertical">@TheVertical</a> Pod with Woj: Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey (<a href="https://twitter.com/dmorey">@dmorey</a>). <a href="https://t.co/dCh3UnhUvX">https://t.co/dCh3UnhUvX</a></p>&mdash; Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) <a href="https://twitter.com/WojVerticalNBA/status/740667204148953089">June 8, 2016</a></blockquote>
    <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
     
    1 person likes this.
  2. clos4life

    clos4life Member

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    J.R. to the rescue? (If he has managed to overcome being pissed at the Rockets organization?)
     
  3. Amel

    Amel Contributing Member

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    Basically tells Les was the guy who picked the coach, Murray was looking for someone up and coming.
     
  4. Plowman

    Plowman Contributing Member
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  5. alethios

    alethios Member

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    How does Morey sound? Bitter, complacent or genuinely enthused?
     
  6. Amel

    Amel Contributing Member

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    He's defending Les, the usual bla bla, great owner etc
     
  7. houstonhoya

    houstonhoya Contributing Member

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    Ay phony Rockets fans, take a listen.
     
  8. rocketpower2

    rocketpower2 Member

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    He did make an interesting point about players wanting to play for MDA and agents wanting their players to play for MDA. Typically, the players will have better offensive numbers and output which will lead to higher contracts down the road.
     
  9. Verbal Christ

    Verbal Christ Member

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    Maury is pretty,pretty goood.
     
  10. treyk3

    treyk3 Member

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    Nothing mind blowing about this conversation. Something to watch though is any future articles regarding Durant that are written by Woj, I'd expect Houston to gain some traction as a suitor.
     
  11. sabesque

    sabesque Member

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    He did also say that James also had a preference towards a coach with experience versus someone up and coming.

    He didn't sound bitter at all. Said that he thinks it's better for the owner to be involved in the process, that most owners are.
     
  12. sabesque

    sabesque Member

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    "Obviously, the reality is we have a top five player going forward."
     
  13. Os Trigonum

    Os Trigonum Contributing Member
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    just listening right now, sounds like he's a lot more relaxed at least. sounds cautiously optimistic.
     
  14. rocketseagles07

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    Add harden to that and I agree
     
  15. dmoneybangbang

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    Is that truly surprising? Who publically blasts their boss?
     
  16. chenjy9

    chenjy9 Numbers Don't Lie
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    Idiots and fools with a naive view on how reality works.
     
  17. J.R.

    J.R. Member

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    (You grew up in Cleveland. Huge Cavs fan as a kid. This is your livelihood and you're competing with 29 teams. Not much fan left in any of us but any Cavaliers kid still in you?) Those were my teams. ... My brother went to SVSM, LeBron's high school. The movie theater where I cleaned the popcorn off the floor is where the Cavs watched movies on their off days. I do have a spot for them. I obviously have to worry about the Rockets more. If Cleveland won, that'd be alright.

    (You hire Mike D'Antoni; getting ready for the draft without a first round pick & free agency; Getting the coaching hire done, you ran an exhaustive search, talked to a lot of people and hired Mike. How much do you learn about the league sitting with coaches & talking, getting their ideas & thoughts on how they do things?) We had a tough year, so lot to learn. We pick up a lot. It's a process we like to do to be more thorough, more expansive. When we hired Coach McHale, who did such a great job for us, we had a long process so decided we would do it again. Not only do you learn from the candidates but helps you clarify what you're looking for in a head coach. ...

    (When the process started, you talked about getting back to a defensive focus and becoming better defensively. How did it go from there to Mike D'Antoni?) The season ended and I was asked about the head coach search. I said whatever coach we get, we have to improve our defense. That's still true. I think people read into it to say "OK, they'll hire someone who leans heavily on that side of the ball." That's not what I meant. Bottom line, we wanted to get the best coach. Franchises often make a mistake. They'll hire the exact opposite of what they thought the last guy was. We've had success making a smooth transition from Adelman to McHale to now hopefully D'Antoni. They lean a little offensive but that said, Adelman & McHale were strong defensive coaches and people have labeled Mike incorrectly as not strong defensively. They look at his Phoenix teams, look at raw points given up and not adjust for pace. Then we brought in Jeff Bzdelik, who had the 3rd best defense in Memphis two years ago. Studied under Pat Riley, been a head coach, been a top assistant, a lot of experience and someone that D'Antoni feels is strong on that side of the ball along with Roy Rogers. He felt like that was a good team. That's the team he put together. He's still filling out the rest of his staff. We'll see where it goes from here.

    (At the beginning of the process, there was a strong sense Jeff Van Gundy, who had been the coach right when you arrived, you were working under Carroll Dawson, Jeff had interest. I believe you had interest in speaking to him. Why did that sit down not happen? Why did that maybe formal interview never take place?) Van Gundy is a hell of a coach. He & I are friends. Play tennis together quite a bit. When he gets back to coaching, it'll be a situation where that team gets a great coach. Bottom line, early on in the process, I spoke to his agent & we felt like it made sense, if we did do a sit down, to do it later in the process. We wanted to talk to a lot of candidates. One profile we were looking at & got close to hiring was an up & coming profile where Stephen Silas & James Borrego stood out. As we went through, we ended up leaning towards a smooth transition, someone built for our roster now. With James Harden in his prime, we don't have time to take any step back. We have to use free agency & trade as our primary tool to upgrade our team. At that point, as we clarified what we were looking for, I basically shared with Jeff that I didn't think profile wise he was where we were at. I had too much respect to bring him in if his chances of getting the job weren't very high.

    (Getting to know Mike D'Antoni, when you think about going out to get players, has your criteria, the guys you were thinking about 6 weeks to 2 months ago before he was your coach, has it been altered or does he have specific ideas who out there fits his style & who on the roster fits going forward?) One good thing is the a lot of the guys on the roster fit how he wants to play. Obviously Harden is a top 5 player and elite talent and perfect for how he wants to play. There are two things that are an advantage: 1) D'Antoni is so well known among players & agents. He's highly regarded in terms of players wanting to play for him. Over the years, he makes them comfortable offensively. They often look their best. A lot of what we went through last year is guys weren't as engaged on defense but that's because we were struggling from A to Z and that impacted our defense overall. Players want to play for D'Antoni. He has a specific set of focus on guys who play well for him. That helps in free agency.

    (What input do you get from Harden in a coaching search & what feedback did you get in what he was looking for?) Number one, he was looking for experience. I was pushing him towards up & comers. He was open to that. He was open to any choice we made. The relationship with James Harden, Yao, Tracy, Clyde, Hakeem, Mr. Alexander sets the tone. We have strong relationships with our star players. It's a collaborative relationship. Star players drive your ability to win championships in this league. It's only natural they should have a strong relationship with the front office & the owner. That's worked well with us & an edge in free agency, in that players know those relationships are strong & you'll forever more be tight with our owner. That's why he's always sitting with them. With that in mind, the relationship is "Hey, we'll be thorough but give you a heads up. Hey, we're down to three. Hey, we'll hire D'Antoni. Hey, if we go younger, it'll be these kind of guys and you'll like them." It's a dialog. He wants to win. I don't fault him. He's in his prime. He wanted more experience, all else equal. Coach D'Antoni is someone he has worked with in the past successfully. There was a comfort level from both James & Mike.

    (Was Les more involved in this search than the Adelman/McHale search, the two you've been involved in?) He's extremely involved in everything. Always has, always will be. It's the right thing. If you have one smart owner & committed owner, you want them involved. The misnomer out there is people say "Hey, you don't want the owner involved." That's a mistake. The owner has the same incentive as the fans. We've seen GMs/coaches who mortgage the future so they can win during their tenutre where as the owner has the long term perspective. That's an important voice. With very few exceptions, maybe two or three in the league, any owner who says they're not involved is misleading the fans. They pay (b)(m)illions for their franchise. They'll be involved. The whole notion they aren't involved is crazy.

    (Dwight has the option to opt out or stay one more year. D'Antoni & Howard didn't fit with the Lakers. The combo of where he is with your group and how he fits with the head coach, do you have an indication or sense from him?) They're taking their time. They earned that right. Bottom line, we need great players to win in this league. Dwight is a great player. We have one with James Harden. If he comes back either opting in or making an offer we make, we'd welcome that. Knowing his plans? He has to make that decision & judge the market. We're giving him his space. D'Antoni has no issues working with him. Our coaches stay 4 years or more. Dwight's decision is unknown & we had to make the coach decision on the best data we had.

    (Your best players have to get along/work together. That was not always the case. How much of the year was getting them re-connected or connected? How much time & effort was spent on that? Did you feel like you made headway?) In general, that combo has worked well. We've won a ton of games over the years Dwight was here. Made the Western Conference Finals. That chemistry was there & successful. Last year, that wasn't a good year but it was from A to Z. Not just James & Dwight. We've been a team that has done a lot of winning. We have the 3rd best record in the league over the last 10 years. Only 3-4 teams have been to the WCF more than us. Advanced deep in the playoffs multiple times. 41 wins hit us hard. It hit me hard. Made me examine what I need to do better. Last year was a struggle. Every relationship was strained. Chemistry was not good on the court. ... That strained relationship between coach & players and different players on the teams, we worked tirelessly to try & improve it. We did get into the playoffs. We lost to the same team that's probably gonna win the championship here. It was a tough year for the franchise. We gotta figure out how to get back to Rockets basketball, which has been averaging more than 50 wins a season and getting in the playoffs & advancing.

    (When the chemistry doesn't work, you go back & examine the decisions you made & how it impacted the group. Lawson, Smith, any moves you made during the year that impacted the team. When it doesn't work, the perception, you & your program has been hit with this, that you don't value chemistry. Have you felt that's been a label that has been put unfairly on you guys?) It's ridiculous. You don't win the 3rd most games over the 10 years I've been here without good chemistry. We had great chemistry with a 56 win team that makes the Western Conference Finals. That team was pretty much brought back. From last year's offseason until the season ended this year, I made a lot of mistakes. Ty Lawson did not work out. I had hopes we could add Ty and make it work. I'm not blaming Ty but that didn't work and set us back. The guys we were hoping would step up didn't do that. ... I've spent time examining what I can do better, how we'll improve going forward. In general, in a long string of success, it was a disappointing year but disappointing where we won half our games. Not where we're in the lottery for 8 years like some franchises. We had one disappointing year. We'll get back on the winning track. You examine what you did and do it better going forward.

    (When you took over, your first full season was '07-'08, when Tracy & Yao were injured & not always on the floor. Yao started to break down. You had a decision to make to rebuild or reshape the franchise without bottoming out. Was there a difficult decision about which direction to go? I don't know Les has the stomach to rebuild. What was the thought process then?) We had built up a good team in '09. They made the 2nd round with Tracy & Yao going out. Only team that took the Lakers to 7 games. After that, Yao played 5 more games in his career. Tracy not that many more. We knew we had to retool. I remember meeting with Mr. Alexander and talked about the different approaches. Teams diving down have had more success in the league. Or retool on the fly, which hasn't had a lot of success and you could argue we're feeling the effects of that. The highest pick we've gotten is 14 over the years. We moved up to 12 or something one year. Generally, elite players come in the top ten. We had to do it in free agency & trade. That doesn't have a great track record. We built ourselves back up. We have the most important thing which is a top 5 player. Depending on Dwight, that'll tell us whether we have a 2nd best player going into July. If he leaves, we'll have to get a 2nd all-NBA player. Only 2 teams in the last 30 years have won the title without 2 all-NBA players. We'll need to get talent around James if Dwight leaves. We'll figure out how to get this back on track. Back to original question, teams who don't go in the top ten of the draft don't even make the WCF like we have. They generally get stuck. They get stuck because they don't have a franchise player. We have that. We're set up well with a great market & top player.

    (Do you sense sometimes you're judged more harshly and does it come from your background in analytics? You've been at the forefront of a movement that marks a change in the league that draws different kind of criticism.) This year was more of an expectations thing. There's been the whole analytics debate & that'll continue to rage. It's a tool that helps you win so we're gonna use it. That whole debate is boring. The thing that got us this year and made us judged harshly - I like being judged harshly, it's how you improve & get better but we had more talented group than a 41 win team. We should have been better. It was disappointing. When people think you'll be, not at Golden State's level but a tier below, you'll get judged harshly. It was an expectations thing.

    (When you say the debate has gotten boring, I understand...I think perhaps the way your franchise has been mischaracterized, that you're just sitting around looking at numbers and deciding on making personnel decisions or style of play purely based on formulas. I'm out at events & know how much you time you spend on scouting & gathering information on players. JVG once said of all the places he worked, when he'd walk into your office or your assistant GM's office, you're always watching tape. You'd have to hit the pause button. Is that the misperception that somehow your group doesn't go out & scout, evaluate players as intensely as everyone else does. That somehow, you're doing it contrary to that and they're saying this group didn't work out because you didn't try to put together a team in the context of a broader picture than numbers.) One thing that gives me comfort, no reputable journalist writes that. It's cut & paste and repeating what others are saying. The Rockets just work off a spreadsheet. It doesn't take anything but one phone call to anyone who actually knows. ... We have a whole scouting group. You wanted to record last night but we were here til midnight watching video on the draft. Bottom line, we do differentiate ourselves. We do think we have better information we hope than other clubs. Part of that is watching as much video, if not more than any other team. We've had a lot of success in the draft. It's because of that: that unification of hard work on videos, great staff & great info that yields Parsons, Landry, Brooks, Motiejunas, the list goes on in terms of our draft success. Free agency & trade we've done quite well as well. You don't win the 3rd most games over 10 years unless you have a great staff & great process.

    (Sam Hinkie was your assistant GM. He went to Philadelphia. He was overtaken in the last several months.) Effectively fired.

    (Do you think at times you took some shrapnel because Sam had become polarizing figure in the league. The way he tried to rebuild that team through a straight tank, ...because he came from Houston, you were somehow...he came from your program and you took hits. You were judged on what he was doing in Philadelphia.) I wanted to take hits for him. The reality is, when he took over Philly, he took the approach that was best for the franchise at that time in his judgement which was the best way for them to be a title contender, given the roster, was to take a dip into the top five, which as I said has more of a history of having success building a championship contender. Unfortunately because of that, that took them out of FA. They took themselves out of trades. ... He's very good at what he does. Because the path he took, he ended up upsetting folks. Unfortunately that's what got him. I wish him all the success. I'm sure he'll land on his feet.

    (Your relationship with him has stayed strong. Anything you look back on where you say "Sam, I wish you would have done more of this or that" and maybe he'd still be in there.) I'm not sure he would have changed. In terms of advice, maybe good, maybe bad, I think I'd have given the local media more time. Maybe that's overplayed. From everything I know, he did interact with the local media. I tend to be more out there. We're different stylistically. People think we're the same but we're really not. I'm more out there. I don't mind doing podcasts with folks like yourself. By being behind the scenes, that might have hurt him. He could have ended up in the same place. Maybe they shouldn't have taken themselves out of free agency. Maybe sign some players. I got the logic. They got the top pick. Philly fans will forever be happy. They have capable management with Colangelo and have one of the best starting points for any franchise I've ever seen. Philly will be benefiting for years to come.

    (Sam's regime, he had more support in Philadelphia than I thought he would 2 years in. Philadelphia had the stomach. I think he's popular there with fans but the league did not have the stomach for what was going on there.) There's a reason Silver wanted to pass draft reform. All they were taking part of was a structure that's not well designed by the league office by encouraging every loss you compile gives you a better chance for a franchise changing player. That's not a good structure. ... If they didn't have that incentive in place, Philly trying to sign free agents would have been fine.

    (This coming summer free agency beginning July 1, I think it'll be unlike anything any of us have ever seen. You'll go through every scenario and many scenarios and get a sense of what the rhythm will be & where the money will go initially. Free agency goes in waves. What has it been like trying to project July 1? How do you see this right now?) Tough to project for sure. It'll be unlike anything we've seen. Fans won't be ready. Front offices have been preparing since last year. There's more money than anyone's ever seen chasing much less, in terms of free agents anyone's seen. Last year, teams prepared by signing guys long term to avoid free agency this year. You have way more money chasing way less. First wave will be easy. Folks who should get max will get max quickly. Then 3-5 players that folks would never guess to get max will get maxed quickly. Then it'll freeze because neither teams nor agents know normal. It'll be a much higher dollar value than anyone's ever seen. No agent will want to move because their deal could look bad later. The teams will have a tough time wrapping their heads around paying what will be market rate then. It'll be quite a dynamic.

    (Smoothing concept the league wanted -- let's do a gradual increase over time so there isn't one dramatic jump. Potentially players who could be free agents over the next 3 years could share the money. It may turn out by some measure of luck, being a free agent in '16 for that middle class player or lower is going to be more lucrative than a guy in '17 or '18. What will the repercussions be over the next couple years when a player sees a guy in '17 who he might be better than and probably worth more but won't be paid like that guy. What impact could that have on teams, locker rooms? You'll see agents fired because their clients will say "You couldn't get for me what that player got a year ago." Will there be a ripple effect?) Roughly, I would estimate the same quality of player this year & next when it's projected to go up again are gonna get 2-3 times what they would have gotten in '15. That's a pretty huge multiple. It'll create tension. Hopefully some understanding & an accident of timing.

    (Your team/organization has been aggressive in free agency. Do you still feel the Rockets are a destination team & [great] players want to play with James?) I know that's the case. James is a top 5 player. We still have a great environment in Houston. It's us & maybe two other cities where most NBA players live in the offseason. Weather is extremely good in season. Long history of winning. Players are focused on their brand. Only us & 2 other teams are the top global brands. Still number one in China. Texas, no state income taxes that creates an advantage. Overall, we're always in the top lists of free agents & that'll continue & one reason we can use free agency to help build our team, where it's difficult for other teams.

    (Is there a fine line you have to walk between...no question it's a player friendly organization...for you, it's been a recruiting tool and certainly helped with Dwight but then there's the empowering of the player and you have to walk the line making sure he's not bigger than the organization/coach. How do you manage that?) There are quite a few teams that take a different approach. The "we know best approach". We've always had this approach. It starts with our owner. It's been successful & a good recruiting tool. The great players now in the league want to have an involvement with decisions of the franchise. They want to be aware of them. They want to help. The number one guiding light that keeps those downsides you mentioned from happening is winning. When there's a suggestion from wherever it comes from - myself, a top player, another executive - the first thing we think about is will this increase or lower our championship odds? If it doesn't improve our odds, we'll say no to anybody. If it's on the margin or some question if it'll help, we'll lean towards making a collaborative decision. We'll never make a decision that doesn't help increase our odds of winning a title.

    (Day to day job of GM, are there things you're spending more time on today than 2-3-5 years ago? What's changed or is changing about your job that feels new to you?) I would say the biggest thing is the amount of detail for free agency. In most years, teams were operating above the cap. You often only had MLE. If he was above MLE, we didn't have to do a deep dive into them because we didn't have the money. You could eliminate a huge group of free agents. Now, every team having money save two or three, every team can go after every free a gent and on top of that, in the past, if you were a MLE guy, you were getting all of the MLE. There wasn't a lot of detail work on how much we'll have to pay this guy. MLE became the number you gave. You didn't have to do a ton of work - do we give him $6M? $11M? $8M? Those decisions really matter to franchises now. Now that it's a complete open field on every free agent, the amount of detail work on the number of free agents and how much you'll pay them is at a much higher level.

    (We all have these conversations, what he's worth & what he's gonna get. ... I'm always $4M-$5M below the number. The numbers I'm hearing are staggering, given the player. They may not get that number but some of them might. That to me, the max guys will get it, guys a notch below? They'll get max deals too.) This offseason will be massive. In those conversations you're having Woj, an agent might say he's worth $12M. Next guy might say $8M. This guy worth $11M. If you average fairly intelligent folks who know basketball, ask them for what salary you should give them, and take the rough average, you'll get to about maybe what they're worth. That's the best way to get to the right number. What happens in free agency, it's not the average. They get what the one team likes them the most is willing to pay. That's usually always $2M-$5M above that average. ... It'll create a ton of negative dynamics for franchises, which is why the amount of diligence in free agency needs to be at a much higher level than the past.

    (Talking to a couple of GMs, this will move fast when the big guys come off the board but part of your prep has to be, you'll have to make quick decisions on money & players. This guy is off the board & now this guy is available. I guess a lot of your prep is looking at every scenario so when the moment of truth comes, you've already debated it and can move quickly vs. trying to do it on July 5th/6th when those conversations may cost you.) If you haven't done the conversations ahead, you're dead. You need to make snap decisions. Same for the draft. You need to prepare for all ranges. This year's draft is unique as well. I have about 2/3rds of the picks in the first round I think teams would rather trade the pick than keep the pick. That's like 20 of the 30 picks that teams don't want to pick. That'll create an interesting dynamic. There will be opportunities to move into the first round at all levels. You have to prepare. Before it was, "Okay, I'm picking 8th so I gotta look at these 5 guys who will be around 8." Now you have to be prepared 1-60 at a very detailed level.

    (Auction time, hypothetically, if you want to move into the first round on draft night, let's say 20 or 24. Those deals happen draft night because you've identified one or two or three guys you want. You have to wait until 19 is off the board(hypothetically 20). That's why you wait for draft night. You won't move in if your player is gone.) Most deals happen draft night. We try to push them earlier. We like doing them pre-draft. Teams are more comfortable on draft night. ... ... It makes for a terrible telecast. No one has any idea of which players are going to which team while the telecast is happening & the poor players end up with the wrong hats on which is not fun for them.

    (When preparing for the draft & no first round pick, it's hard for agents to send players in. With no pick and you're saying we may move into the first, it's hard to sell guys to come in.) We like to do our homework and bring a lot of guys in. Even though agents look at our history & see us moving into the draft, the problem is the signaling aspect. If they send a guy to us, even though they know it's for a move up, they don't like the signaling aspect. "Oh that guy went to Houston and they're picking 37th." I get that. We do the best we can. We can't force a player to show up. The forward thinking agents send those guys but some worried won't.

    (Agents have been more than ever don't want their players working out against other players there or they want players they'll look good against. Have you found that?) I get those dynamics. I've known players in the past, if the agent had sent them to Antarctica until the draft was over, they would have went 15 spots higher. The agents are getting more sophisticated just like teams. Bottom line, the way the rules are set up, it doesn't encourage agents to provide info to teams to help us make better decisions. It's better for them to live in the vague.
     
    #17 J.R., Jun 8, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2016
    12 people like this.
  18. sabesque

    sabesque Member

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    Jr is a god amongst men
     
  19. DreamShook

    DreamShook Member

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    Morey and the Rockets getting raked over the coals last couple months by media and fans. Morey had to refresh people's memories about who the Rockets are. Some of his comments sound like they were directly targeted toward the irrational fans.

    It must be nice having a reputable journalist as a friend. Good podcast.
     
  20. FTW Rockets FTW

    FTW Rockets FTW Contributing Member

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    (Your best players have to get along/work together. That was not always the case. How much of the year was getting them re-connected or connected? How much time & effort was spent on that? Did you feel like you made headway?) In general, that combo has worked well. We've won a ton of games over the years Dwight was here. Made the Western Conference Finals. That chemistry was there & successful. Last year, that wasn't a good year but it was from A to Z. Not just James & Dwight. We've been a team that has done a lot of winning. We have the 3rd best record in the league over the last 10 years. Only 3-4 teams have been to the WCF more than us. Advanced deep in the playoffs multiple times. 41 wins hit us hard. It hit me hard. Made me examine what I need to do better. Last year was a struggle. Every relationship was strained. Chemistry was not good on the court. ... That strained relationship between coach & players and different players on the teams, we worked tirelessly to try & improve it. We did get into the playoffs. We lost to the same team that's probably gonna win the championship here. It was a tough year for the franchise. We gotta figure out how to get back to Rockets basketball, which has been averaging more than 50 wins a season and getting in the playoffs & advancing.

    ===============================================

    What does Maury know? He doesn't know anything about the team despite being involved on a daily basis.

    Delusionals know better


     

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