Cover Story: Daryl Morey, Statistical Analysis and the Houston Rockets

Contrary to popular belief, Daryl Morey is not just a stats guy. Oh sure, the Rockets new GM has earned the nickname “Deep Blue.” That kind of goes with the territory when you’ve got a Masters from MIT and a computer science degree from Northwestern. And when you do crazy, incomprehensible things such as mastering the NBA salary cap… in a single weekend. And when one of your former colleagues describes your brain as a “supercomputer.” But—no, really – the man is more than a mere number cruncher.

The truth: Morey hated school and skipped a lot of classes. His friends — people like Oakland A’s GM Billy Beane and sabermetric guru Bill James — say his people skills rank right up there with his gift for analytics. And for all the talk about Morey bringing Moneyball to the NBA, he’s quick to remind you that the true key to team building lies in finding that perfect balance between the objective and the subjective.

But make no mistake, the 35-year-old Ohio-native is here because Rockets owner Les Alexander believes his team’s significant investment in statistical analysis is the key to a future filled with banners and rings. So in this week’s feature, “Rocket Science,” we examine the man entrusted with the future of the franchise; his methods, motivation and, yes, his life beyond the stat sheet.

Does it all add up to a winning formula? Check it out and decide for yourself. – Jason Friedman

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