Warriors

Daryl Morey: Rockets beat Warriors in 2018 West finals seven of 10 times

Daryl Morey: Rockets beat Warriors in 2018 West finals seven of 10 times

The 2018 Western Conference finals was an epic battle between the Warriors and Rockets.

In the end, Golden State overcame a three-games-to-two series deficit and prevailed by winning Game 7 in Houston.

In the most recent episode of the "Book of Basketball 2.0" podcast, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey discussed that matchup with Bill Simmons.

When Simmons said, "If you played that series 10 times, I think you win six," Morey took it one step further.

"Six or seven," he declared. "I'd say seven but if you went to Vegas they'd say more like six."

To quote HBO's John Oliver:

"Cool."

Let's start by saying that Morey is incredible at his job and is one of the best GMs in the NBA.

But what is he talking about? He clearly is basing his statement on historical information and data relating to the fact that the Rockets had homecourt advantage and won 65 regular-season games compared to Golden State's 58 victories.

But those analytics ignore the fact that the Warriors backpedaled into the playoffs after dealing with a plethora of injuries over the final month of the season. Remember, Steph Curry sprained his knee and missed 16 of the last 17 games, plus the first-round series against the Spurs and Game 1 of the West semis against the Pelicans.

Losing Chris Paul at the end of Game 5 obviously was a massive variable, but Morey hurt his case when he said: "Steve Kerr took some heat for talking about (Andre) Iguodala being out. But he was right. Iguodala was so, so good for them that year. He actually was a very key player against us in particular, which I think is why Steve talked about it.

"Obviously, we were like, 'Well, boohoo. You have four All-Star level guys, five if you count Iguodala.' That's true, but Iguodala is a very important player in beating us at the time."

Correct.

The Warriors took a two-games-to-one series lead by crushing the Rockets by 41 points in Game 3, but they lost the 2015 NBA Finals MVP for the rest of the series after he sustained a "spider fracture" in his left leg.

So if Iguodala doesn't get hurt and both teams are completely healthy, would that change Morey's calculations? Or is his "six or seven" statement based on the Rockets being ahead in the series three games to two, and leading by 17 points at the end of the first quarter in Game 6? (And then leading by 13 points early in the third quarter of Game 7.)

[RELATEDRockets GM Morey trolls Kerr by tweeting article from 2016]

Also, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention the memo the Rockets created that claimed the referees cost them the championship.

Ultimately, you can't blame Morey for still being extremely frustrated that Houston fell short in 2018. Likewise, you can't blame him for being upset that the Rockets couldn't beat the Kevin Durant-less Warriors in last year's Western Conference semifinals.

Fortunately for Morey and his squad, the Warriors won't be in their way this year. 

No excuses.

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Was Don Nelson convinced not to sign Steve Kerr to Warriors in 1993?

Was Don Nelson convinced not to sign Steve Kerr to Warriors in 1993?

Warriors coach Steve Kerr nearly played for Golden State in the 1993-94 season?

Avery Johnson was a guest on KNBR 680 last Thursday and told the following story:

"Pop (Gregg Popovich) was on the plane with Nellie (Don Nelson) during the preseason and Tim Hardaway got injured and blew out his knee. Pop called me and said, 'Look, if I can convince Don Nelson on this flight to sign you instead of Steve Kerr, you're gonna have a job.' I was out of a job.

"And fortunately, I got a call at six o'clock in the morning and Pop -- who was an assistant on that staff -- said, 'Pack your bags, you're coming to Golden State.'"

Hardaway -- who averaged 21.5 points and 10.6 assists in 1992-93 -- sustained a season-ending knee injury during practice on Oct. 18, 1993, and Johnson (who ended up starting 70 games that year) signed with the Warriors a week later.

Kerr, meanwhile, signed a contract with the Chicago Bulls on Sept. 29, according to BasketballReference.com. So unless the Warriors were going to trade for Kerr, something isn't adding up here. Or perhaps Nelson and Popovich didn't know Kerr already was on a team?

When KNBR host Tom Tolbert relayed Johnson's story to Kerr last Friday, the eight-time NBA champion was as surprised as anybody to learn Nelson wanted to sign him.

"I didn't know that," Kerr said. "I've never heard the Avery story."

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

And then the following exchange took place:

Tolbert: "Think about that. You go there and Avery doesn't go there ... it's so funny how things work out. You make a choice, or maybe there's a choice that's made for you that you don't even know about that affects what happens to you and who you become and how things work out.

"And I was thinking, 'Who knows how it would have worked out. Maybe the Warriors win championships, maybe Steve never plays for the Bulls. Who knows how things work out. But ...'

Kerr: "Wait, wait, wait. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Did you just say if I had gone to the Warriors as a player -- maybe they would have won championships?"

Tolbert: "I did. Maybe things work out differently. They had a pretty good team there. Look, I'm not saying you would have been the guy to win the championship. Let's not get crazy here."

Kerr: "OK (laughter). Let's not get stupid (laughter)."

Tolbert: "But remember -- they had a really, really good team back then. Who knows. Maybe you go there, maybe you take (Chris) Webber out one night -- Nellie doesn't yell at him -- maybe Webber stays there."

The Warriors were really good, as they won 50 games and reached the 1994 playoffs as the No. 6 seed.

Latrell Sprewell -- in just his second season in the league -- was named All-NBA First-Team and All-Defensive Second-Team.

[RELATED: How Stockton ruined Kerr's chances of going to Gonzaga]

Chris Webber averaged 17.5 points, 9.1 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 2.2 blocks and 1.2 steals and was named NBA Rookie of the Year. But he and Nelson couldn't co-exist, and Webber was traded to the Washington Bullets in November 1994.

The Warriors didn't reach the postseason again until 2007.

Kerr, on the other hand, won three titles with the Bulls (1996, 1997, 1998) and two more with the San Antonio Spurs (1999, 2003).

Crazy stuff.

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How John Stockton ruined Steve Kerr's chances of going to Gonzaga

How John Stockton ruined Steve Kerr's chances of going to Gonzaga

Warriors coach Steve Kerr played his college ball at the University of Arizona.

Why didn't the eight-time NBA champion go to Gonzaga instead?

Well, there's a hilarious story that provides the answer. Kerr recently was a guest on the "Scorebook Live Today" podcast with former Gonzaga guard Dan Dickau, and shared the details.

"So they were recruiting me my senior year. And I didn’t have any offers in the middle of my senior year, but I was getting some interest," Kerr explained. "Gonzaga sent me a letter, made a couple calls and they said, ‘Hey, we want you to come on a visit when the season’s over.’ And I said, 'Great.' I was excited. It was my first visit anywhere.

"They said, ‘Just bring your stuff -- you can play when you’re up here.’ I said, 'Perfect.' And I go up and see the campus, see the locker room, meet the coaches -- all that stuff. And they said, ‘Hey, our guys are going to play pickup. You should go join them.’ I said, 'Perfect.'

"Put my shoes on. I joined the pickup game. And I’m being guarded by a guy named John Stockton (laughter). He had just finished his senior season. He was getting ready for the draft. I’m a senior in high school. And I knew who he was because I was a basketball fan, and growing up on the West Coast I had heard of him. But it was a different time back then. You didn’t have all the games on TV and everything. So, I didn’t know that much about him.

"John proceeded to wipe the floor with me. He stole the ball from me, he scored on me at will. It was a total embarrassment. They basically took me into the office and they said, 'You know, we’re, we’re going to go in a different direction (laughter).’ So I always blamed John Stockton for ruining my future at Gonzaga."

Now that's some funny stuff.

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

Fortunately for Kerr, it all worked out in the end. He had a fantastic career at Arizona as he helped lead the Wildcats to the 1988 Final Four.

And needless to say -- it must have been pretty sweet for Kerr to make the game-winning/series-clinching shot against Stockton and the Utah Jazz in Game 6 of the 1997 NBA Finals.

[RELATED: Kerr credits Westbrook for one of his favorite quotes ever]

Before we go, we have to address one detail. Kerr's visit to Spokane must have been in the spring of 1983 because he graduated high school soon thereafter. This means that Stockton wasn't yet preparing for the NBA draft because he was the No. 16 overall pick in 1984.

Oh well. No big deal. The story still stands.

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