Q&A: Rockets GM Daryl Morey

Posted by Unknown on Monday, May 05, 2014 with No comments
Courtesy of Jonathan Feigen 

Q: As you look back at the series and everything packed into those six games, how do you view it, and what have you learned about the team?
A: “Very disappointing we weren’t able to advance. We continued growing as a team, getting more experience. I felt the West this year, really anybody could win it. That makes it sting a little more. That said, we took a big leap forward. I think we can take a big step forward again next year and put ourselves in even better position and with a better team. Obviously, there is a lot of work for myself, for the players, for everybody, to win the West.”
Q: Did you learn anything about your team that you didn’t know?
A: “We’re not there. Yet. We were competitive in this series. Very evenly matched teams. But if we’re going to win the title, we’re going to have to win four tough series. To win four tough series, you have to be able to have leads going to the final minutes. You have to be up more. You can’t have it come down to a shot this way or that way. Or a loose ball. We just have to get better if we’re going to make it all the way like we want to.”
Q: Can this team get better just by adding rotation players, as opposed to a major overhaul or another summer with a major addition?
A:”We’re always aggressive. We’ll always explore aggressive scenarios. But I feel confident if those don’t emerge, we’re not far off. We need to get (the win total) into the high 50s if we’re going to be as good as we want to be. We need to improve our defense primarily. We were the youngest team in the league (in the postseason, fourth youngest and second least experienced in the regular season) and improving, so an addition or two are key. I feel confident we can make that step forward that we need to make.
“We made a big leap forward with the addition of Dwight (Howard) and the growth of our young players to get to the mid-50 range. I think we’ve got to take one more step forward. But I think the average NBA title team won 57 games, so we’re not far off.”
Q: To be a true championship contender, do you have to get a third All-Star-caliber guy, or do you just need to add a group of strong rotation players?
A: “I would always take a third All-Star guy, either from one of our guys improving or addition. There’s no negative to adding an All-Star-level player. That said, I don’t feel it’s necessary. I do feel it’s my job to explore those things. I think (we’ll be helped by) our group playing more together after only a season together, plus a lot of young players that can take a step forward and improve. Plus we’ve got financial flexibility this year. We’re not limited to minimum-player additions.
“We have all our draft picks going forward to execute trades if necessary. We’ve got a lot of flexibility to improve. It’s my job to get that done and the players’ job to work on their games over the summer. The coaches are taking another look at our strategies and deciding what we’re going to do different next year to improve.”
Q: Because of their contract situations, the next largest after Dwight Howard and James Harden, do any moves need to involve Jeremy Lin and/or Omer Asik?
A:”I don’t expect something bigger like that to happen. I could see where you would look to that if something bigger were to happen, but I don’t anticipate that.”
Q: If you were to go for a third max or near-max guy, could you make it happen financially?
A: “Yeah, we could make it happen. I think it’s unlikely.”
Q: James Harden has had three difficult playoff series in a row by his standards. Are you still confident he can be the top scorer on a championship team?
A: “Yeah, very confident. I believe in James and Dwight. We absolutely feel we have the right guys, the right top two guys.”
Q: How do you make a decision on picking up the option on Chandler Parsons’ contract when you don’t know what will happen in free agency two weeks after your deadline to make a decision?
A:”We won’t know everything we need to know when we have to make a decision on Chandler’s (contract) option. We have to make the best decision at the time we have to make it (June 29).”
Q: That sounds as if you haven’t made that decision yet.
A:”No, that’s something we still have to talk through.”
Q: With Kevin McHale in the last year of his contract next season, do you have any concern about the “lame duck” issue?
A: “No. He’s a great coach. It’s not an issue for him or for us. I don’t see it as an issue. I’ve never bought into (the lame duck factor) for any coach. Some coaches disagree, and some GMs may disagree, but he’s a head coach, and he does a very good job. Just like I’m re-evaluating and taking a look at what I need to do differently and better, he’s doing the same, and our players are the same.”
Q: Are you looking to replace Kelvin Sampson on the staff either by adding another assistant or adding a lead assistant?
A: “I haven’t had a chance to talk to Kevin about that, but there will be some additions, I think. That’s up to Kevin.”
Q: Finally, considering the series and season ended in such a difficult way, do you need time to remove emotion to determine what you need to do next?
A:”Yes, I think so, but none of these decisions are now. We’ll have the time. Next week is the combine in Chicago. This week is the meetings, the exit process.”