In 2018, the Houston Rockets were close to beating Kevin Durant’s indomitable Golden State Warriors and heading to the NBA Finals. Since then, they’ve lost in the second round two years in a row, Mike D’Antoni has walked away from the team, and now longtime general manager Daryl Morey has walked away as well. Both D’Antoni and Morey left on their own terms and have left the Rockets without leadership.
On the daily Locked On Rockets Podcast, host Jackson Gatlin explains why the Houston Rockets organization is crumbling and their time as potential title contenders is over:
Jackson Gatlin: This thought has been echoed all throughout Rockets Twitter: As long as the Rockets have James Harden and Daryl Morey, it doesn’t matter who else is around them because those two guys have shown for eight years that they provide a level of excellence. Daryl Morey from the roster construction element and putting the right players around Harden. James Harden from just being one of the top players in the league year in and year out, an MVP candidate year in and year out.
They’ve shown that they can make it to the playoffs every single year, that they will be a competitive team every year … Harden and Morey legitimately have put out a product that is enjoyable to watch, that is competitive, and that has had at least a puncher’s chance every season in all eight seasons of Harden’s time being here in Houston. With the one exception being the super-duper dysfunctional 2015-2016 year, but we don’t talk about that year. Apart from that season, the Rockets have had a puncher’s chance at a title every single year, because James Harden is just that good and because Daryl Morey has done a great job putting the right role players around James Harden.
Now Daryl Morey is gone. So where do you go from here? There’s not a lot of confidence in the organization, because of the optics of ownership to this point to this date, that they’re going to be willing to spend into the luxury tax to go out of their way to sign big-name free agents to make the necessary moves to put a contender on the court. So the faith that I had in the front office has now vanished.