2. Success in spite of cost constraints
Much has been made about Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta’s unwillingness to pay the luxury tax, but what hasn’t been discussed is how this has indirectly affected Morey. Morey’s hands have been tied and it’s significantly hindered his ability to add integral pieces to the Rockets roster.
In spite of that, Morey has successfully built the Rockets into one of the best teams in the West every year. This year has been no different and has been even more impressive.
After adding Russell Westbrook it became even more important to surround The Brodie with the necessary pieces for him to be able to thrive. The Rockets obviously employ a offensive system which heavily emphasizes the 3-point shot, which isn’t something Russ has proven to be able to do throughout his career.
Opposing defenses were initially double-teaming Harden because of this, so it became important to surround the pair with stellar shooters, which isn’t easy to do while trying to remain under the luxury tax. Nonetheless, Morey has been able to do just that, as the Rockets are currently five million below the luxury tax threshold after being active at the trade deadline and the buyout market.
Morey has been the best in the league at adding valuable players on the margins, which is highly beneficial for a number of reasons. If a player doesn’t work out the Rockets can part ways and they’d have significantly low financial repercussions.
But it’s also been beneficial considering Fertitta’s aforementioned stance on the luxury tax. It hasn’t seemed to affect the Rockets as Morey has gotten significant contributions from Ben McLemore and Jeff Green, who were both signed for the veteran’s minimum.
McLemore has made 39.6 percent of his 3-pointers and is averaging 10.3 points per game, which are both the second-best of his career. McLemore is a perfect fit for the Houston Rockets style of play and he was signed to a non-guaranteed deal prior to the start of the season, which is quite a bargain considering how he’s made the 17th-most treys this season.
Jeff Green is yet another example of Morey’s remarkable ability to make marginal signings, as he was initially signed for only $91,000, which is classic robbery. Green has immensely impressed, as he’s averaged 9.8 points per game on 61.5 percent from downtown, which is the best he’s ever fared from 3-point range.
Green has proven to be a perfect fit for the Rockets’ small-ball strategy, as he’s capable of being a big man, which is a matchup nightmare for opposing bigs. Morey also was able to land DeMarre Carroll for only $512,000, which is a much lower cost than the $14.2 million Carroll is getting paid by the San Antonio Spurs.
Next: No. 1