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Rick Mahorn bashes Rockets’ Daryl Morey’s analytical approach

Coach Rick Mahorn of Trilogy (Photo by Michael Hickey/BIG3/Getty Images)
Coach Rick Mahorn of Trilogy (Photo by Michael Hickey/BIG3/Getty Images)
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Former NBA champion and 18-year veteran Rick Mahorn bashed Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey’s analytical methodology.

The Houston Rockets have revolutionized the game of basketball, as they’ve replaced the traditional manner in which the game has been played historically with “Morey ball”, which was founded by Rockets general manager Daryl Morey. The Rockets have buy-and-large ditched the mid-range shot over the years and have replaced it with a barrage of 3-point shots, as they’ve consistently been at/near the top of the league in 3-point attempts year after year.

Since acquiring James Harden prior to the 2012-13 season, the Rockets have finished no lower than second in 3-point attempts and they’ve led the league in attempted threes in each of the past four seasons. Morey’s ideology behind the heavy amount of threes is that the Rockets can score more points than their opponent on less possessions, as threes obviously count for more points than two-point shots.

In addition, Morey and the Rockets have placed an added emphasis on the corner 3-point shot, as the corner three is 22 feet from the basket, whereas a normal three is 23.75 feet from the basket. This has made players like P.J. Tucker extremely valuable on offense, as he’s consistently led the league in corner threes and made 38.4 percent of his threes from the corner during the 2019-20 season.

Mahorn bashes Houston Rockets’ analytical approach

But the Rockets haven’t won a championship utilizing this strategy, and have drawn criticism from many former players and media members for relying on mathematics and advanced analytics to win games. Case in point, former NBA champion Rick Mahorn, who didn’t hold back while discussing the Rockets’ strategy on Sirius XM’s No Look Pass.

“That analytics stuff can stay in Houston because it da- sure didn’t work.”

Mahorn also added that too many people analyze the game from an analytical perspective in today’s era, like Morey. Mahorn isn’t the only former player to criticize the Rockets approach, as former Rockets coach and Hall of Famer Kevin McHale made similar comments earlier in the year.

Morey and the Rockets added an additional wrinkle to their approach during the 2019-20 season, as the Rockets abandoned conventional basketball wisdom by removing a seven-foot big man from their lineup. The Rockets are reportedly going to operate with the same playing style in the 2020-21 season, which isn’t surprising, considering the make up of their roster.

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The Rockets will surely continue to be criticized for Morey ball until they win a championship, so we shouldn’t expect the criticism to end anytime soon. But we also shouldn’t expect them to deviate away from that style of play, regardless of the criticism.

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