Happy to be doing another IAmA before the NBA playoffs! We are very excited to be in the playoffs this year although we have a very tough task ahead in facing the Oklahoma City Thunder. While my job takes up most of my marginal time, I am happy to answer questions on anything, such as my other interests: theater, eSports, analytics, movies, etc...

More info on me: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daryl_Morey

My IAmA before the season: http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/10mrkx/iam_the_houston_rockets_gm_ama/

Verification: http://twitter.com/dmorey/status/325118364253052930

Comments: 1146 • Responses: 29  • Date: 

TheSuitedMonk833 karma

Daryl, will you promise to never break up this Lin-Chandler bromance?

I understand your hard-core use of data and analytics, but don't forget to listen to your heart. Don't underestimate the power of love.

Extraneous touching


Bromance Compilation

The Lin Parsons handshake

Soft handshake

They always sit on the bench together

Random butt touching

A quiet moment on the bench

This exists

dmorey1041 karma

How can we ever break that up?

ChristheGreek227 karma

Maybe this isn't your job per se, but do you think it's time for the Rockets to get a rebranding? I feel like we're in a new era since all the moves this summer and the Harden trade. Plus the current logo and uniforms are pretty atrocious imo.

dmorey327 karma

Apology, not my job, I have enough to worry about already!

WumboJumbo188 karma

Many Houston fans are worried by the prevalence of ISO plays late in the 4th quarter of close games. How are you reacting to the usage of Lin and Harden in these closeout games?

Followup: What's your opinion on how well the coaching staff is meshing two great ball dominant guards? What steps are the Rockets taking to further this melding into a cohesive unit?

dmorey281 karma

Pretty much every NBA team increases their use of isolation late&close. Some of this is supported by the data - e.g. to control the clock to minimize the time to score for the other team or to potentially exploit a certain match-up when the opposing team switches all perimeter screens as is often done late&close. Some of this is not supported by the data.

I think the coaches have done a fabulous job meshing our roster which had the most turnover in NBA history this season and is also the least experienced team in NBA history.

yellowstonedelicious159 karma

What was the most surprising thing you learned from the camera tracking technology?

dmorey446 karma

Cannot tell you this! AMAA

Sean88888147 karma

Hi Daryl, nice of you to be doing this.

  1. As a fan of advanced stats I'm sure you realise that Harden's PPP from ISO is lower than his PPP from PnR. Have you ever discussed this with coach McHale?

  2. With the emergence of Terrence Jones and Greg Smith as starting calibre power forwards, are you still looking to sign a star big man in the coming free agency, or will you sign the best player available regardless of position?

dmorey231 karma

  1. Pretty much every NBA player has a lower PPP from ISO than PnR so there would not be much to discuss.
  2. We are excited about Terrence Jones and Greg Smith emergence - both are clearly rotation caliber players. We have not developed our full free agency plans yet.

iamslm22142 karma

Before you traded for Harden, you admitted that Houston as constructed could not win the title because you did not have a "star." Do you view Harden as that Star? Do you feel Parsons, Asik, and Lin are good enough to be the 2, 3, 4 guys on a championship team, or do you think you need another All-Star caliber player to win the big one.

dmorey233 karma

Harden for sure is a player who can be the best player on a championship team. We are building around him. Parsons, Asik, and Lin also fit comfortably on a championship roster. That said, we do need to have one of them or someone else on the roster to take another big step forward in play to be a championship contender. If not, we will have to acquire another all-star caliber player through free agency (more likely) or trade.

ak2themax131 karma

  1. Before the season started (but after the Harden trade), where did the analytics have the Rockets finishing?

  2. Can we ever get the actual throwback uniforms for a game?

  3. I know you're a regular at r/NBA, but how often do you trek to other Rockets blogs like The Dream Shake, Clutchfans, and Red94?

dmorey247 karma

  1. Vegas over/under was 29 wins, that is about as objective a number as you can get.
  2. Not my area but I do love the classic uniforms.
  3. I consider it part of my job to stay up on all analysis of the Rockets. May learn something.

JSA1787 karma

29 wins was before the Harden trade, right?

dmorey212 karma

Yes, but after the Harden trade the over/under was still in the thirty win range. What the coaches and players have been able to do to get us to 45 wins is remarkable.

HoustonRocket121 karma

Hello Daryl. As my username shows, I'm a huge Rockets fan.

  1. I'd love to hear your opinion on Wednesday night's Rockets game. We got off to a good start, but once our lead hit 11, we stopped moving the ball, we stopped getting good shots, and we stopped pushing the tempo. What happened? Why were those offensive possessions the best we could get?

  2. Why were we playing small ball in the 4th and putting Delfino on Gasol when he was dominating us? Why didn't we put Greg Smith or Terrence Jones on him?

Very frustrating, we should be playing the Spurs right now. Regardless, I'm proud of this team and I'm humbled to finally be back in the playoffs after a 4 year drought. Thanks for all the hard work you've done thus far. #rednation

dmorey205 karma

  1. you are clearly a Rockets fan as all of the problems you listed from the game are correct. Coaches and players working to correct.
  2. with the benefit of hindsight, it probably was not the correct move. That said, if Delfino had made a few 3s during that stretch it may have worked out. Very hard to coach in this league as everyone else gets the benefit of seeing how things work out and then criticizing.

sfong002112 karma

How did you feel about McGrady signing with the Spurs? DId you ever have any interest to bring him back for veteran guidance?

dmorey202 karma

McGrady is still a quality player. Did not fit our direction to bring him back at this time. Makes sense for the Spurs. I wish him well.

omnicious108 karma

How would you fix the Suns?

dmorey570 karma

We have a binary star system

ba-dum ching

yellowstonedelicious102 karma

Harden took and made the most unassisted 3s in the NBA. Is this something you'd like to see more or less of going forward? Is this something you've discussed with Coach McHale?

dmorey158 karma

The best 3s are off the catch. That said, it is pretty hard to take a bad three, it is almost always better than most other options once you pass up the shot. Harden is one of the top players in the league in shooting% on 3s off the dribble.

theyhadnodunks98 karma

Besides the Rockets series, what first round playoff match up are you most excited to watch?

dmorey224 karma

Clippers vs Memphis is the most compelling. Chris Paul as the best PG on the planet vs a physical team with great players at multiple positions.

mardi_gras94 karma

What is your favorite beer?

dmorey444 karma

I am not a big beer guy. Will this or Mitt Romney be my most unpopular answer ever?

DavisAg84 karma

Thanks for doing another AMA, Daryl!

Lifelong Rockets fan here. I always hear about Hakeem working with other teams' big men. Is there not a permanent postion the Rockets would be willing to give him? He seems like too much of a wanted commodity to just let others have.

dmorey146 karma

Our big men have worked with Hakeem. That said, we have a richness of big men coaches here in Houston with Carroll Dawson (who worked with Hakeem/Ralph/Moses/Yao) and Kevin McHale (top 10 big man ever).

Gelatinous_Queef84 karma

Give me your thoughts on Royce White? Do you ever think he'll play for the Rockets?

How do you feel Lin is developing? Do you see him as your pg for the future? I feel like he needs the ball in his hands to be truly effective and with Harden commanding the ball most of the time, Lin becomes redundant.

Also you should play Terrence Jones more. The guy is a winner and a competitor.

dmorey101 karma

I was happy Royce played for the Vipers at the end of their regular season. We only want him to succeed.

For his first year as a starter, I thought Jeremy was fantastic and given his physical ability, competitiveness, and work ethic I only expect him to get better. His primary weakness is his shot which is a skill that generally improves as your career progresses. See also my Quora answer on what he has improved this season

Terrence Jones has worked hard to get his shot and is making the most of it. Love him.

josephcook082 karma

How difficult has it been drafting true NBA talent with the implementation of the one-and-done rule and the fact that we are usually in the 14-18 slot in the draft? Are this team's best years ahead?

dmorey243 karma

The good news is we don't have a 14ish pick this year. The bad news is that it happened because of my worst trade: Terrence Williams for this years 1st.

ChristheGreek69 karma

This season the Rockets have taken very few mid range shots (especially since PPat left). It's pretty widely known that you've stated the most efficient way to get points in the NBA is via 3s, layups, and free throws. Now that the Rockets have been playing in such a style this season, has it changed your analysis at all? Have any surprising trends or conclusions pertaining to this come up?

dmorey79 karma

One interesting thing is that folks think we are proscribing mid-range shots, which is not the case. Our transition based attack and open sets give us the best chance to win with our personnel and generally this type of offense leads to high quality shots.

bobo_hobo65 karma

How do you feel about what Coach McHale has done this year?

dmorey185 karma

Taking the 6th youngest and least experienced team ever to the playoffs in the tough western conference when we were picked by multiple publications to finish last? I would say Coach McHale has done a great job.

esaqr60 karma

i believe it would behoove the NBA if a few great minds throughout the business, persons with varied backgrounds in the game and outlooks on its future, met to discuss how to improve the game fundamentally through rule changes.

Is there any chance Sloan could serve as a vehicle for such meetings? And do you think soon-to-be commissioner would entertain such proposals?


dmorey64 karma

I am biased but we have done this in the past at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference

A panel with Bill James a few years back was on this exact topic.

IanicRR59 karma

Hey Daryl, huge NBA fan here. The team you have put together is incredibly fun to watch and likable.

My question, did you know from your analytical data when you drafted chandler parsons that he would be as good as he is this quickly?

dmorey95 karma

No, no one could predict how good Chandler would be. We obviously thought he was very good or we would not have picked him but his success should be attributed to him and his hard work.

yellowstonedelicious48 karma

What changes need to be made, if any, to maximize our chances of beating the Thunder?

dmorey155 karma

Increase the variance

Lorkovicious47 karma

Who's a young or unproven player on the Rockets that you're particularly excited to see develop in the upcoming years?

dmorey85 karma

Too many to choose from (in no particular order): Patrick Beverly, Terrence Jones, Furkan Aldemir, Donatas, Thomas Robinson, Greg Smith

Bearsh44 karma

What move/trade do you think was the biggest statistical gain for the Rockets? In other words, which move made the biggest overall impact for us as a team?

Thanks for bringing an exciting product back to Houston, I fully believe you will bring a championship to the city. RED NATION FOREVER

dmorey78 karma

Rafer Alston for Lowry for Toronto guaranteed lottery 1st were probably the most important trades as it set up the Harden trade more than any other moves

_Flippin_38 karma

I just watched the movie Linsanity at the PacArts (Asian Film Festival) Spring Showcase. Loved it. Anyways, when was the last time you had TacoBell, and what did you order?

dmorey190 karma

The Doritos-Locos tacos are the only inelastic food item I know. I would pay almost anything for them

yellowstonedelicious38 karma

What was the most interesting paper to come out of this year's SSAC?

dmorey60 karma

Value of Flexibility in Roster Construction

Research papers will be much bigger next year. Stay tuned!

monkeyman8038 karma

the smart teams are focusing on shots at the rim and corner threes because they're the most efficient.

what's the next step when defenses figure out a way to slow that down?

dmorey60 karma


threeseashells37 karma

SEA/OKC was dreadful for three years which allowed them to acquire Durant, Westbrook, and Harden in the Lottery.

Every other contender is in a major-market destination city where high-profile FAs flock to.

How will Houston compete with this by consistently being just ...OK

Signed, Fan Since '92

I posted this in your last AMA and you gave a very good response. You then went and acquired a legitimate superstar. Just wanted you to know that this fan has much more hope than before.

Now if only I could actually watch the games on television...

dmorey67 karma

thank you. team effort here. Lots of work went into us getting back into the playoffs. Unfortunately I have to run. Go Rockets! #BeatOKC

opasewq26 karma

With a lot of teams embracing the advanced metrics in basketball over the last decade would you say your team is still at the forefront of that in terms of the technology and money that spent on the new analysis?

dmorey30 karma

Trying to stay ahead but there are some very good teams now