Daryl Morey

Why Rockets GM Daryl Morey believes he has let James Harden down

Why Rockets GM Daryl Morey believes he has let James Harden down

Over a five-season span from 2015 to 2019, the Warriors eliminated the Houston Rockets in the playoffs four times.

James Harden and his squads just haven't been able to get over the hump, and a big reason for that is because they happened to have a dynasty standing in their way.

Speaking of Harden -- Rockets general manager Daryl Morey came to his defense during a recent appearance on the "Pomp Podcast" with Anthony Pompliano.

“I don't think the media is super fair with him," Morey said. "Part of it is he has a tight circle of people that he trusts. With those people who he knows have his best interest at heart, he's very gregarious, very open, very smart -- just this great guy. And with everyone else, he's not the opposite -- he's just reserved. 

"He’s not someone who is going to be a big media guy or things like that. So, I think that hurts him a little bit. But I can I can tell you privately he’s like a basketball genius. He’s a great quality human being.

"We’ve worked together for eight or nine years now and I couldn’t have a better partner to try and win a title with. And in fact, most days I wake up saying, 'I’ve let him down because I haven’t gotten him the right players to win a title.' "

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

That's the admirable thing to say, and it's some great GM'ing from Morey to take responsibility for the Rockets not winning a championship yet with "The Beard" running the show.

You also can't put all the blame on Harden for Houston coming up short. However, he has had a couple really bad performances in playoff elimination games -- which helps explain why Morey believes the media is not "super fair" towards him:

In Game 5 of the 2015 Western Conference finals against the Warriors, Harden had 14 points (2-for-11 FG) with five assists and 12 turnovers.

In Game 6 of the 2017 Western Conference semifinals against the San Antonio Spurs, Harden scored 10 points (2-for-11 FG), notched seven assists and committed six turnovers.

Additionally, the 2017-18 NBA MVP went 2-for-13 from deep vs. Golden State in Game 7 of the 2018 Western Conference finals, and he turned the ball over four times in the fourth quarter of Game 6 vs. the Kevin Durant-less Warriors in the 2019 Western Conference semifinals.

[RELATED: Harden: Not knocking Steph, but 'I deserved the MVP']

In the end, there are several reasons the Rockets haven't captured the Larry O'Brien trophy since they acquired Harden from the Oklahoma City Thunder in October 2012.

And one thing we know for sure is that if Houston doesn't win it all in Orlando this year, it won't be because of the Warriors.

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Rockets' Daryl Morey laments Warriors, 'hamstring' for not having title

Rockets' Daryl Morey laments Warriors, 'hamstring' for not having title

The Warriors beat the Rockets in five games in the 2015 Western Conference finals.

The Warriors beat the Rockets in seven games in the 2018 Western Conference finals.

The Warriors beat the Rockets in six games in the 2019 Western Conference semifinals.

"Really just one of all the all-time great teams is keeping us from winning," Rockets general manager Daryl Morey told Fox Sports' Colin Cowherd on Wednesday.

And then Morey added this little nugget:

"And a hamstring probably kept us from a title."

Ah yes. Chris Paul injured his hamstring late in the Rockets' Game 5 victory in 2018, and was unable to suit up for Games 6 and 7.

Losing CP3 was a massive blow to Houston, who led the series three-games-to-two at the time of the injury. No doubt about it.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

But if we're going to play that game, then it has to be mentioned that the Warriors lost Andre Iguodala for the rest of the series after he sustained a "spider fracture" in his left leg during the fourth quarter of the Warriors' blowout win in Game 3.

As coach Steve Kerr later told Marc Spears of The Undefeated: We would have won the series in five if Iggy played.”

And as Iguodala told USA Today Sports' Mark Medina (who was with the Bay Area News Group at the time) in September 2018: "It would’ve been short. 4-1. They didn’t win. We won."

Don't forget that the Rockets also wrote a memo after auditing the officiating from that series, which claimed that "referees likely changed the NBA champion." Apparently, the "Super Team Warriors are getting a major officiating advantage in these heavy-hitter matchups."

Here are a couple other reminders:

[RELATED: This random formula says Rockets deserving to win title]

And lastly -- the Warriors were without Kevin Durant in Game 6 last season, and Steph Curry didn't score a single point in the first half. Yet the Dubs still found a way to win.

So yes, Morey definitely is correct when he says that one of the greatest teams ever has gotten in the Rockets' way.

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Formula determines Rockets most deserving to win NBA championship

Formula determines Rockets most deserving to win NBA championship

The Houston Rockets are the NBA team that deserves to win an NBA title the most.

And why is that?

Because a certain formula says so.

And no, the equation wasn't created by Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, as it instead comes from Neil Greenberg of The Washington Post:

All teams get zero points at the start of the 2004-05 season, the first year the league expanded to 30 teams with new divisional alignments separating the league into six divisions of five teams each. A team gets one point if it fails to win the NBA title in that year, another point if it made the playoffs, two more points if it finishes with 50 or more wins and three more points if it wins 60 or more.

The points accrue each year the team fails to win a championship. If a team wins the title, its point total resets to zero. Win two titles in any five-year span, and the point total is reduced to minus-10.

As you would expect, this system will send the Golden State Warriors to the bottom of the list. Their run of three titles in five years is not what we are looking for.

We are looking for teams that field a competitive, playoff-bound club every year but fall short.

When you crunch the numbers, the Rockets lead the way with 71 points.

Houston has averaged 48 wins over the past 16 seasons, topping the 50-win mark nine times, and posted a 65-win campaign in 2017-18. The Rockets have made the playoffs 11 times in that span.

Over the Warriors' run to five straight NBA Finals from 2015 to 2019, Golden State ended Houston's season four times -- including twice in the Western Conference finals (2015 and 2018).

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

And in 2019, the Warriors went into Houston and won Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals despite playing without Kevin Durant. It was such a special performance that Steve Kerr said it is his favorite game as coach of the Warriors.

[RELATED: Rockets GM reacts to tweet saying Kerr couldn't play today]

The Rockets just haven't been able to get over the hump. And that sound you hear is thousands of Warriors fans laughing out loud at the notion that Houston "deserves" to hoist the Larry O'Brien Trophy.

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