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Has Houston Rockets GM Morey put analytics ahead of character?

By Tamberlyn Richardson
Mar 12, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Miami Heat guard Goran Dragic (7) looks to play a ball as Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) tries to defend during the fourth quarter in a game at Air Canada Centre. The Toronto Raptors won 112-104. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 12, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Miami Heat guard Goran Dragic (7) looks to play a ball as Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) tries to defend during the fourth quarter in a game at Air Canada Centre. The Toronto Raptors won 112-104. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
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Though the Houston Rockets were eliminated swiftly and embarrassingly from the post season several former Rockets are still active. It begs a simple question: has Morey’s focus on analytics superseded keeping quality players who display that special intangible of character?

Given the Houston Rockets trouble specifically at the point guard position, it’s crazy to think at one time both the Raptors Kyle Lowry and the Heat’s Goran Dragic were the point guards in Houston. Another former point guard Jeremy Lin has become a critical component of the Hornets offense.

Toronto in fact has several previous Houston Rockets on their roster. Luis Scola though recently removed from the starting line-up played a huge role during the regular season. Early in a road heavy schedule Scola often led the Raptors in scoring in the early stages of games. Even his presence on the bench has been cited by Jonas Valalanciunas among others on the team as being a sound veteran voice.

Former Rockets power forward Patrick Patterson has been critical to the improving Raptors defense and providing stretch four duties.  Finally healthy, DeMarre Carroll is proving to be another veteran voice, a lock down defender and someone with leadership attributes in the locker room. Though Dragic is the only current Heat player with significant time spent in Houston,  Gerald Green also played one game in a Rockets uniform. That’s six former Rockets playing in the second round in one series! 

Other former Rockets who’ve seen action or are still active this post season are:

I’m sure I’ve missed some other players who were formerly on the Houston Rockets but that’s a pretty impressive list. Fully eight players listed above were on the 2010-11 Houston Rockets roster: Carroll, Hill, Lee, Lowry, Martin, Patterson, Dragic and Scola.

My point is, given the trouble the Rockets had this season specifically with regard to their point guard liabilities and their chemistry issues has Daryl Morey lost sight of the leadership and grit intangibles?

Moreover, has Morey put analytics ahead of all other assets to the point his teams suffer because they lack quality character?

Looking at Lowry’s shooting troubles for example, the Raptors remain steadfast in their support of him with Patterson specifically coming to his defense saying “he’s our leader, and we stand behind him.”

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Quotes like that seem foreign in Houston. Rather, the team would constantly refer to the need to play with more energy or recognizing the need to play more as a solidified unit. You see the difference right? One team (the Raptors) have built a chemistry via their trust in each other based on the leadership of Lowry and DeRozan. The other (the Rockets) were whispering to reporters as anonymous sources citing the issues on and off the court and more disturbingly calling their leader (James Harden) into question.

Perhaps owner Leslie Alexander might want to be sitting down Daryl Morey prior to the head coach search to ensure he’s on board with the strategy moving forward. Obviously Morey has an eye for talent, but the issue seems to be his inability to spot intangibles like character that allow a team to gel into a trusting group with chemistry. This past season there was more than ample talent in place, the problem was the character of the team and it’s leaders.

For the Rockets and their supportive Red Nation fan base let’s hope that is something that gets remedied prior to next season, because another dysfunctional year would be tough to bear.

Make sure you check out Space City Scoops end of season Rockets Round Table:

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