The year that has just passed has been a difficult year for the NBA.
Everything stems from a false Hong Kong-related remark by the former Houston Rockets general manager Morey.
This tweet almost destroyed the NBA's years of painstaking efforts in China.
Undoubtedly, Morey’s stupid behavior caused the NBA to suffer huge losses. Although the NBA holds the supreme voice in the basketball world, it is not an irreplaceable unicorn in the sports world.
As we all know, the NBA is not a dominant sports event in the United States. Both the NFL and MLB can take a bigger piece of the cake from the domestic sports market in the United States.
On August 31, "Sports Illustrated" reporter Sam Amico updated a set of data. NBA ratings have been declining in the United States for many consecutive years, and the ratings for the 19-20 season have dropped by 12% compared with the previous season.
8月31日，《体育画报》记者Sam Amico更新了一组数据。 NBA的收视率在美国连续多年下降，并且19-20赛季的收视率与上一赛季相比下降了12％。
After a period of rapid growth in 2017, the NBA has entered a period of stagnation, even a period of recession.
Therefore, opening up overseas markets has always been something the NBA has focused on and spared no effort in advancing, and it is also an important reason why the NBA is so strong as it is today.
The late former NBA chairman David Stern personally delivered NBA videotapes to CCTV. It has become a well-known story. If he saw Morey's actions last year, he would not know how he would feel.
In the past year, fans have not been able to see the Rockets game on the official broadcast platform, and CCTV has also suspended the 34-year NBA broadcast.
It wasn't until the last two games of this year's finals that the NBA "lifted the ban" on CCTV. The basketball world's highest level event reappeared in the program list of China's national television station.
This may just be the beginning of a good relationship between the NBA and China. Because early this morning, Beijing time, the Rockets announced that General Manager Morey is over!
This change can finally make the NBA and Morey “disconnect” (Morey is a Rockets employee, and there is no official employment relationship with the NBA), perhaps Morey’s dismissal will become the NBA’s sluggish situation. A real life-saving straw.
At the same time, from the perspective of the Rockets, Morey's dismissal will also make fans sigh, "It's dawn!"
Previously, Morey, who graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has always been advertised as a great hero of the Rockets, and his ability to use data analysis to operate the team has become a highlight of his career.
In 2002, Morey began to work for a consulting company. At that time, he was involved in the valuation of the acquisition of the Celtics. After the acquisition was completed, Morey also took advantage of the trend to enter his favorite basketball field and became the Celtics. A member of the team.
Morey’s first job was to transform the team’s ticketing system.
But the Celtics executives discovered that Morey's ability was more than that. Soon, he entered Danny Angie's management team and made the Celtics begin to pay attention to data analysis and hire data experts to help them conduct the draft.
Inspired by Billy Bean, the author of "Penalty Kick", Morey became the forerunner of the NBA to use data analysis to assist the operation of the team, and also created the so-called magic ball theory.
Magic Ball, later became his label in the NBA.
But did Morey’s magic ball really make the Rockets better?
The Rockets’ operations in recent years have exposed Morey’s true colors, and the data-only team building method has undoubtedly gotten the team into a dead end.
Although there were some shining points during Morey's tenure, such as in exchange for Harden, such as digging out Tucker, these did not cover up the problems he exposed.
With Harden, the Rockets have yet to make the finals. Fans are also increasingly unable to see Morey's strong signings, only Wangmei quenches thirst year after year.
Moreover, this also raises a question. The Rockets have made the playoffs for eight consecutive years because of Morey? Or is Harden too strong?
The author believes that Harden's strength is the guarantee for the Rockets to maintain their strong team identity. At the same time, as Harden grows stronger, fans can also see Harden's isolation.
Morey did not create a comfortable environment for Harden to hit the championship. Instead, he was constantly squeezing Harden's basketball talents to cover up the team's "strategic laziness".
In recent years, the Rockets’ tactical model has become increasingly extreme. This season’s trade for Capela has completely switched to a centerless system, which has turned the Rockets into a unique and exotic team.
The core of this non-center system is to sacrifice the height of the inside line, pursue the maximization of space, and serve Harden and Westbrook's "one star".
The problems caused by this are also obvious. This singular system only focuses on the individual singles of the stars, rather than the spiral of the team's overall cooperation, so it is extremely easy for the team to fall into the extreme of "the stars are all prosperous, and every one loses." situation.
This year’s Western Conference semifinals, the Lakers’ change to eliminate the Rockets is a typical example that can’t be more typical. After losing in the G2 series, the Lakers decisively adopted the defensive strategy of infinitely flaring Harden, which completely invalidated the Rockets’ offensive system. Take advantage of the opponent to advance.
Logically speaking, with a top ball holder like Harden, he must be able to sanction the defense by dividing the ball when the opponent flanks.
But the Rockets were unable to respond to the Lakers who wanted to pinch Harden. Harden lacked strong helpers, and the root of the problem was Morey's extreme team building philosophy.
The rocket system seems to be a new invention of Magic Ball, but in essence it is backward in tactics and operations.
Because there are not enough and good enough role players, and no truly effective tactical system, the Rockets need to rely too much on the strong personal abilities of their core players. Harden’s singles increase year by year is a "crime" under Morey's rule—— Squeeze Harden's value dry to conceal the backwardness in operating philosophy.
The reason why the Rockets got into such a situation is self-evident, and Morey's operational errors are to blame.
In 2018, the Rockets renewed their contract with a maximum salary of 160 million for four years. Paul, who was 33 years old and had a history of injuries, completely ruined the Rockets’ future fault tolerance.
When the combination of Paul and Harden proved unable to go further, the Rockets could only deal with this extremely premium non-performing asset in an inverted manner.
For this reason, the Rockets sent away the first-round draft picks in 2021, 2024, and 2025, as well as the first-round swap rights in 2026. But in exchange for another bad asset-Westbrook who takes away $40 million from the team every year.
Cleaning up Paul's discount trade has caused a problem: Before 2026, the Rockets have basically lost their draft picks. In other words, there is no way to replenish fresh blood through the draft.
So, how do the Rockets reinforce the next step? The assets of the team are almost squandered by Morey...
Now, Westbrook is very likely to follow in the footsteps of his predecessor Paul. Rumors about the Rockets trading Westbrook are on the rise, but it is obvious that this must be another discount for the Rockets.
Although the market has praised Morey's Taobao ability, a team always relies on signing low-level league players to reinforce the rotation lineup. Doesn't it just expose the backwardness in operational strategy?
And the facts have also proved that Morey's so-called Taobao is just vain. Those so-called undervalued players who are bought at low cost may still play a role in the regular season. If they really want to compete for the championship, they are still inferior.
The words of Rockets star Kenny Smith are extremely appropriate, "I trust my own eyes more than the data." The players Morey bought through the data model does not seem to have the magic of "penalties."
If there is, Harden will not be so weak.
"I never pay attention to data. Of course, I think the data is valuable, but when the data is contrary to my observations, then I will be wary of whether the data is wrong. As a former professional player, you will understand this truth." Kenny -Smith said.
"I can average 17 points per game on a bad team, because I always waste time and fight against the opponent's second and third tiers. Players know how to use stats."
"I want to know the useful data, who ran out of the key position, who scored the winning goal, who is the hero who decides the game."
"I can see who lacks aggressiveness on the court, who is passionate, who is more dominant, and the data bar will not tell you this."
Due to Paul's signing and Westbrook's deal, the Rockets no longer have the possibility of flexible reconstruction.
At present, there are very few valuable assets left in the Rockets Array... It seems that there are only a few people like Harden, Tucker and Covington that have real transaction value.
Rockets owner Fertitta, who made his fortune in casinos, is not a basketball fan or philanthropist. As a capitalist, he seems to no longer want to tolerate the team's failure to do anything under the luxury tax burden.
Morey's simple and rude team building policy leaves the current Rockets with only two options-winning the championship or rebuilding.
For the Rockets at this stage, winning the championship is like a fantasy.
No picks, no potential stocks, the Rockets have no bargaining chips to reinforce the deal, nor can they rebuild in a short period of time.
Of course, it is not impossible to rebuild if they agree to trade Harden.
If that were the case, the Rockets would be back before liberation overnight.
However, at least, Rockets fans have already seen hope.
As people say, "I hope Mr. Morey will go well all the way."