The Houston Rockets Biggest Mistake in the Past Ten Years

Mistakes happen. We sleep in a little too late or we forget to do a project. But for us, mistakes are simply, just that – mistakes. For the thirty NBA teams, mistakes cost them, potentially, tens of millions of dollars, a playoff appearance, or even a championship. They have been riddled throughout history. It can be draft picks (Blazers fans know what this is like), it can be free agency (can I get an amen from Knicks fans?), or it can be virtually anything else (in the case of the Kings, EVERYTHING ELSE). Thus, we present the worst mistakes from each NBA team over the past ten years.

The Houston Rockets Biggest Mistake in the Past Ten Years

The Houston Rockets have been one of the most interesting franchises in the NBA the past few years. They are known for always looking to make the big splash and finding ways to win immediately. And luckily, they have had some success with that. The Rockets are one of three teams that have had a record of .500 or better every season since 2006. The other two teams are the San Antonio Spurs and the Dallas Mavericks, so it is some pretty good company to be in. The organization has organized their roster around James Harden, who has been their franchise player since 2012. While there has been success in terms of wins and losses, there is one mistake that has led to not winning as much as they are expected to.

The Rockets mistake isn’t exactly a mistake made with one of their players. Instead, it has to do with their front office. Leslie Alexander has been the owner since 1993, and Daryl Morey has been the general manager since 2007.

The Mistake

Ever since Morey came to Houston, the organization has taken a very analytical approach to their style of play. It actually has a nickname now, which is “Moreyball.” The main objectives of the Rockets on offense are to shoot the three, score in the paint, or get to the free throw line. With their style of play, the mid range game is basically non existent. And more often than not, it has hurt their production on the court.

Everybody knows what to expect when they are playing the Rockets. It is a hit-or-miss every night with the three point shooting. When the Rockets are knocking down the three, they are very hard to defend. That was seen in the 2014-2015 season, when they were able to make an appearance in the Western Conference Finals. But when they are struggling, it turns into what happened this past season, with the Rockets going 41-41 and losing in the first round of the playoffs. It may have been against the 73-win Golden State Warriors, but the team had much higher expectations than the eighth seed.

The Consequences

The “Moreyball” approach has also hurt the Rockets in free agency. Every year, they are in the mix to land one of the top free agents. But time and time again, they miss out on landing their top targets. Although they were able to land Dwight Howard in 2013, he ultimately decided to leave the Rockets this summer. With the analytical approach to the game, it can diminish a player’s role and not let them branch out as a player. That is why it makes it so hard for the Rockets to land top free agents. No one wants to make a big change to their style of play. They saw that with Howard, which was a big reason why he decided to leave.

The Rockets have been one of the biggest question marks in the league for the past few seasons. There is no question that the rosters they have are talented. But because of their style of play, they have somewhat underachieved. They have made the playoffs every year since Harden was traded to the team, but three of the four playoff appearances have ended in a first round exit. With a new head coach and Harden signing a contract extension last month, things could be changing in Houston. The situation could become a lot better if Morey decides to change his approach.

 

Main Photo

Dec 15, 2013; Sacramento, CA, USA; Houston Rockets power forward Dwight Howard (12) reacts after a play against the Sacramento Kings during the second quarter at Sleep Train Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports