Daryl Morey enters his eighth season with the Houston Rockets and his seventh as the team’s head of all basketball operations. Morey, who officially assumed his current position on May 10, 2007, previously served as the team’s Assistant General Manager after joining the organization on Apr. 3, 2006. He was re-signed as the team’s General Manager and Managing Director of Basketball Operations on Sept. 25, 2009.
Since moving into the role of General Manager, Morey has built a Rockets team that has gone a combined 272-204 (.571) over the last six seasons and has set a number of team records. Morey, who has spearheaded an innovative integration of statistical analytics into the evaluation of NBA talent, has earned votes from his peers for 2008-09 and 2012-13 NBA Executive of the Year. He earned selection to the SportsBusiness Journal Forty Under 40 Class of 2010, which honors the most promising young executives in sports business under the age of 40. In 2010, ESPN.com named the Rockets Basketball Operations as one of the two best management teams in all of basketball. Morey’s ability to manage and bolster the Rockets roster earned him YAHOO.com Executive of the Year accolades in 2008-09. He was named “Top 50 Most Influential in Basketball” in 2009 by HOOPSWORLD. Morey was also recognized in 2009 as one of “The 10 Most Creative People in Sports” by Fast Company magazine. His articles on sports analytics have been published in leading publications such as Harvard Business Review, The Economist and Grantland.
The Rockets have had winning seasons in each campaign under Morey, including a 43-39 record in 2010-11, a 34-32 mark in 2011-12 and a return trip to the postseason with a 45-37 campaign in 2012-13. Despite the loss of Yao Ming for the entire 2009-10 campaign, the Rockets maintained their winning edge with a 42-40 mark to become the only team in the previous 20 NBA seasons to finish above .500 without an All-Star. In addition, Aaron Brooks was voted the NBA’s 2009-10 Most Improved Player. From 2006-07 through 2008-09, the Rockets won more regular season games (160) than in any three-year run in the history of the franchise. Houston registered a 53-29 mark in 2008-09 to give the team a third consecutive 50-win season for the first time in team annals (52-30 in 2006-07 and 55-27 in 2007-08). In the 2009 NBA Playoffs, the Rockets advanced to the Western Conference Semifinals for the first time since 1997, taking the eventual NBA Champion L.A. Lakers to a Game Seven despite playing without Tracy McGrady and losing the services of Yao for the final four contests of that series. In 2007-08, the Rockets won a remarkable 22 straight games, which stands as the fourth-longest winning streak in professional sports history.
This success has all come while Morey has transformed the Houston roster into one of the most promising young teams in the league. Morey highlighted the 2013 NBA free agency period with the blockbuster signing of center Dwight Howard. The acquisition of the three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year helped vault the Rockets to third on ESPN’s Future Power Rankings. In 2012, Morey traded for eventual All-Star James Harden along with signing restricted free agents Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik using an innovative contract structure that had not been seen before in the league. During the 2012-13 campaign, Morey signed free agent guard Patrick Beverley out of Russia and traded with the Sacramento Kings to acquire Francisco Garcia. The two played key roles for the Rockets in pushing the Oklahoma City Thunder to six games in the 2013 NBA Playoffs. In addition to working with Owner Leslie Alexander to secure Kevin McHale as the 12th head coach in club history, Morey has recently drafted Isaiah Canaan (34th overall in 2013) and Terrence Jones (18th overall in 2012). He also acquired the draft rights to Lithuanian forward Donatas Motiejunas (20th overall in 2011) from the Minnesota Timberwolves and selected Florida forward Chandler Parsons with the 38th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. Parsons, who went on to garner 2011-12 NBA All-Rookie Second Team accolades and was named to the 2013 BBVA Rising Stars Challenge roster, earned Morey another nod from several media outlets as the “best value contract in the NBA.”
Morey’s bold moves over the years with the Rockets have included the acquisitions of Courtney Lee from the New Jersey Nets, Goran Dragic from the Phoenix Suns, Kevin Martin and Ron Artest from Sacramento, Kyle Lowry from the Memphis Grizzlies, as well as first-round draft picks from the New York Knicks, Phoenix, Memphis and a future lottery pick from the Toronto Raptors. In the 2007 NBA Draft, Morey selected Brooks in the first round (26th overall) and traded for the draft rights to Carl Landry (31st overall). Morey then traded Vassilis Spanoulis to acquire Argentine forward Luis Scola from San Antonio. Scola (First) and Landry (Second) each went on to earn NBA All-Rookie Team honors in 2007-08.
Morey came to Houston after serving three years as SVP Operations for the Boston Celtics. With the Celtics, his responsibilities included the development of analytical methods and technology to enhance basketball decisions, such as the draft, trades and free agency.
Prior to his time with the Celtics, Morey worked as a Principal consultant with an emphasis on sports at The Parthenon Group, a leading strategy consulting firm. Morey was also a statistical consultant with STATS, Inc., the industry pioneer in the use of sports statistics highlighted in the Michael Lewis book Moneyball.
Morey holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science with an emphasis on statistics from Northwestern University, as well as an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management. Morey, who currently serves as an adjunct professor in the Sport Management Program at Rice University, was also the professor for the MIT Sloan class, “Analytical Sports Management.” He continues to be a co-chair of the annual MIT Sloan Sports Conference, which is the largest annual sports conference hosted by a business school. In 2012, Fast Company ranked the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference third among its Most Innovative Companies in Sports, trailing only the NFL and MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM). He also serves on the Board of Directors of Major League Gaming (MLG).
Morey grew up in a small town near Medina, Ohio. He and his wife have two children.
Follow Daryl Morey at twitter.com/dmorey