Longtime readers of this page will recall that through the early years, I maintained a running series entitled “Discerning Morey’s Philosophy.” I’ve updated it here and there, mainly to keep it alive, but I’m no longer guided by my initial mission. As I’ve learned with time, there isn’t some over-arching philosophy dictating all aspects of transactional management. And with time, Daryl’s opinions too have likely evolved. To that extent, I’ve been wondering recently, especially in light of the Boogie Cousins fiasco, to what extent are the lessons learned from the past applied to present dealings? Now if I asked Morey on the record, he no doubt would tell me that he weighs every situation differently on a case by case basis. But I don’t know if the reality is different.
In the early years, before James Harden, Morey took fliers on failed prospects such as Hasheem Thabeet, Jonny Flynn, and Terrence Williams. But the Terrence Williams situation soured so quickly that I don’t think you’ll ever see Morey spend anything of value on an unproven talent with attitude concerns. Then of course there was Royce White, who was mentally unstable. If they’re ever picking that high in the draft again, its a safe bet the Rockets will this time ensure the prospect is willing to get on the team plane.
And that brings us to the recent lessons learned from Dwight Howard. Unlike the formerly mentioned players, Howard was an established superstar. But its on the record that his presence wrecked the Rockets’ lockerroom. Is that why Morey held off on bidding for the even more talented Boogie Cousins? And if so, had the Dwight Howard saga not occurred, might Morey have acted differently?
The risk pendulum operates on a sliding scale, whereby the better you are, the more you have to lose. Before James Harden, the Rockets had nothing to lose. (That’s why they tried things like drafting Marcus Morris as a small forward, a decision I’ll defend to this day). I would argue that they still are not at the point where they could pass up on a talent like Cousins. I, however, am not inside that lockerroom. I may look at the standings and see a team that would get crushed in a series with Golden State; Morey may see a team who has only come so far because all of its players get along so well.