Daryl Morey admits Rockets make most decisions with Warriors in mind


Daryl Morey admits Rockets make most decisions with Warriors in mind

Grass is green, the sky is blue, and Rockets general manager Daryl Morey is still obsessed with knocking off the Warriors.

Morey admitted as much in an interview with the Houston Chronicle, telling the paper that "a very high percentage" of the Rockets' decisions this offseason are made with one thing on their mind:

Same as last year, it's very likely to win the title we're going to have to beat the Warriors at some point. We're doing what we can to prepare for them. To me, that's what any rational person would do. I'm intrigued by some thinking it's odd that we say that. Maybe because it's not a norm. Ask any fan, 'Who do you have to beat to win the title?' They're going to say 'the Warriors.' It seems like [general manager] speak or coachspeak to not say that.

Morey told anybody who would ask last season that the Rockets were single-mindedly obsessed with beating the Warriors in the playoffs. Houston came close last season, jumping out to a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference finals, before Golden State stormed back to win the final two games in Rockets star Chris Paul's injury absence.

Morey responded with a substantial makeover of his roster. Defensive stoppers Luc Mbah a Moute and Trevor Ariza are gone, while Carmelo Anthony, Michael Carter-Williams, Marquese Chriss, James Ennis and Brandon Knight are in. The Rockets were one of the West's best defensive teams last season, and Morey expects the team to withstand the loss of Ariza and Mbah a Moute.

"We can be [as strong defensively]," Morey told the Chronicle. "They were both extremely good defenders. So it will be a challenge. That was a big part of our meeting. [Assistant coach Roy Rogers] was walking through what changes and how excited he was with what he was planning to do and the personnel we have to be better than last year."

Morey -- as well as the Warriors -- will get a first look at whether or not Houston's offseason was successful on Nov. 17, when the Rockets host the defending NBA champions.  

Steve Kerr gives update on Pat McCaw: 'He has to just make up his mind'


Steve Kerr gives update on Pat McCaw: 'He has to just make up his mind'

The regular season has begun and Pat McCaw is still nowhere to be found.

The two-time NBA champion was not at Oracle Arena on Tuesday night to collect his ring as he continues his "holdout."

On Thursday evening, Steve Kerr was asked about the soon-to-be 23-year old wing.

"He's a restricted free agent so we have his rights no matter whether he accepts the contract that we've offered or not," the head coach told Damon Bruce on 95.7 The Game. "We've been in touch with him occassionally, and he's going through his own thought process.

[RELATEDWarriors players confused by Pat McCaw, 'you can't do this after two years']

"He knows where we stand. We'd love to get him here. There's still a place for him here. He has to just make up his mind which direction he wants to go."

Golden State reportedly offered McCaw a two-year contract worth $5.2 million, with the second season being a $2.7 million team option. It remains unclear why McCaw is refusing to put pen to paper.

The Warriors have 14 players under contract right now and are not planning on filling out the final spot until later in the season.

It wouldn't surprise Kerr if McCaw ends up returning to the team that paid Milwaukee $2.4 million for his draft rights.

"We have faith that he'll be with the Warriors again," Kerr added. "And we'll just be patient as this goes."

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Ask Kerith Mailbag: Thoughts on Warriors' 3-point D, free agency talk and more

NBC Sports Bay Area

Ask Kerith Mailbag: Thoughts on Warriors' 3-point D, free agency talk and more

Editor’s note: Kerith Burke, NBC Sports Bay Area’s Warriors reporter, takes you inside the two-time defending NBA champions as only she can each Friday with the Ask Kerith Mailbag. Send her a question on Twitter using the hashtag #askkerith


Hi everyone! I read a great interview with Draymond Green, and I want to make sure you saw it. When the reporter, Sam Alipour, shared this story, he said he believes Draymond is the most misunderstood person in the NBA.

I asked Draymond if he feels misunderstood. He replied, “Yeah. That’s OK.”

I followed up, wondering what people get wrong about him. Draymond said: “I’ll never tell them. I’ll let them figure it out one day. One day, they may, or they may not. But they don’t know me.”

It doesn’t bother you?

“Not one bit.”

He paused, and continued.

“It’s actually pretty fun.”

Game on!

@chuckmcdaniels asks, “Hey there.. do you have any concerns about other teams making so many threes against the #Warriors in their pre-season games so far? Or, is it just pre-season and they'll do better when the games really count? #askKerith”

Speaking in general about the defense, Steve Kerr isn’t thrilled about what he saw in the preseason. Coaches always want good defense, whether the games count or not. Good defense is an indicator of good habits, which is a season-long commitment to foster success.

That said? I’m not concerned with the 3-point defense heading into the regular season. I know it’s eye-popping to see JaVale McGee swish a three over his old teammates, but I don’t think it’s time to sound an alarm. The regular-season sharpness should be better. The Warriors went 1-4 in the preseason. but these games were more about seeing player combinations, assessing conditioning, building confidence, etc.

Last season when Jarron Collins and I would talk at half time, 3-point defense was something that would sometimes come up. In 2017-2018, the Warriors ranked 10th in the NBA in opponent 3-point percentage, at 35.7 percent. The Warriors will keep an eye on how many threes opponents are sinking because occasionally it’s a trouble spot, but let’s see what happens the rest of this month as the Warriors settle in to the regular season.

Our first example was the season opener against the Thunder, who went 10 of 37 for 27 percent.

@ImShyLabz says, “Hi Kerith! I’m just wondering when is the ceremony for the championship ring for the warriors? I might missed it? Or it’s not yet done? Thanks #askkerith”

The championship ring ceremony happened on opening night! Did you see what the rings looked like? Check this out:

@lvpelt says, “I took my mom to her first game last year, and she was enamored by the height of zaza. who's the tallest on the team now? she's gunna want to know. #askKerith thanks !”

First of all, I’m thrilled Zaza found a new home, playing this season with the Detroit Pistons. I see Zaza’s name in the comments on Instagram when he’s joking with Klay Thompson or Jordan Bell. It’ll be a fun night when the Warriors play the Pistons on Dec. 1.

Damian Jones takes over as the tallest Warrior at 7 feet. DeMarcus Cousins comes in at 6-11, followed by Jonas Jerebko at 6-10. Kevin Durant is listed at 6-9, but ... c’mon.

From PaulBassoon on Instagram: What are the chances the team really is having distraction issues with the free agency talk around KD and Klay. Are there any concerns that Damian Jones just might not have what it takes at the center position? My two biggest concerns.

I don’t think free agency will be a distraction. Every season, things change. New pieces add and subtract. Each season has its own flavor, even if the big names on the roster remain the same.

The Warriors are focused on this moment in time. Winning a championship always is difficult, no matter what happened in previous seasons. The group goal this year is another trophy. Individual things are secondary.

KD’s situation is more unclear than Klay’s, because Klay repeatedly has said his preference is to remain a Warrior for life. KD’s comments are more nebulous, in the theme of “exploring all options.” It’s smart to explore all options! There’s an expiration date on being an NBA player, so guys will consider every situation that makes sense for their career goals and legacy.

KD might not know what he wants to do yet. I will say this: A healthy organization in a fun location with business interests that appeal to KD off the court will be hard to leave. It will take something special.

As for Damian Jones, the Warriors have invested so much in his growth. He’s ready. The word you’re going to hear the most when coaches or teammates talk about DJ is “opportunity.” This is his time, and the Warriors want him to rise to the occasion. Maybe it’s a good thing there’s a center-by-committee situation so not everything is on his shoulders. He gets to share duties with Kevon Looney and Bell, which can take off some of the pressure while he rides the NBA learning curve.

DJ played 26 minutes in the season opener, going 6 of 7 for 12 points, plus three blocks. The downside? Just three rebounds.

From chriskjn on instagram: If you were to identify yourself as one of the Warriors, who would it be?

I appreciate Shaun Livingston’s story. He went through a devastating knee injury in 2007, one that forced him to relearn how to walk. Shaun rehabbed his way back, then bounced around the NBA. He was waived four times before he landed with the Warriors and became a champion. His story of perseverance is powerful.

I love Shaun’s “seen it all” perspective. He has a wise world-view that goes far beyond basketball, too. Every conversation with Shaun is thoughtful. As I think about the high and lows I’ve experienced, I want to keep perspective like Shaun. Take no moment for granted.

From stephsink on Instagram: Hi Kerith, congrats on your marriage. What is your favorite spot/city in the Bay Area, and what’s your favorite road trip city?

My husband proposed on Mount Tam, so that has the No. 1 spot in my heart. We love to hike together.

My favorite road cities are Chicago, Miami and New York. I used to live in NYC, and I try to hit up Paulie Gee’s for pizza whenever I visit. Order the Hellboy.

From Charles_ykunyu on Instagram: Hello from Montreal Canada!!! I’ve been a Warriors fan for more than 6 years and I really like your style. You are my favourite reporter. Can I have a signature of both you and Steph or KD???

Thanks, Charles! Your question reminds me of requests I get from fans during the season. I’m sorry, but I cannot get fans autographs, tickets, shoes, basketballs or anything else. I have to keep a professional boundary. I do my best to write back to messages, though.

From vikas.sharma3008 on Instagram: Is Doris Burke your aunt?

Doris Burke is not my mom, aunt, sister or cousin. We are not related. It makes me smile that this is the most frequent question I’ve gotten in my years covering basketball.

I love Doris. She’s the GOAT and a Hall of Famer.

Follow Kerith on Twitter @KerithBurke and on Instagram @warriorskerith, and, of course, watch her on NBC Sports Bay Area’s Warriors coverage all season.