Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey thinks the recent trade for Russell Westbrook boosts his team’s chances to win a title by 30%. The longtime fan of advanced analytics told Howard Beck of Bleacher Report of that increase, which only made ESPN’s Rachel Nichols suspicious of the math:
Houston GM @DMorey told @HowardBeck the #Rockets chances of winning the title are 30% better now that they've got Russell Westbrook. Is that BS or Real Talk?
(also, after this aired, Daryl noted I did not in fact ask for his math…next time we're getting a calculator-cam.) pic.twitter.com/tUvoUt5XV9
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) September 20, 2019
Los Angeles Lakers reporter Dave McMenamin of ESPN gave it the “BS” label on “The Jump,” while former NBA player Richard Jefferson gave it a “Real Talk” nod, only to say the Rockets’ chances had increased from zero to 30%:
“They went from zero to 30%,” said Jefferson. “Okay, my bad. They went from 1% to 31%. I think that’s true. I believe that they have a chance. We talk about parity in the league and how important it is. They have a chance with the way their team is constructed in my opinion.”
McMenamin, however, could not get over the number that Morey gave and wanted to know exactly where it came from, especially from someone as numbers-driven as Morey has shown to be:
“This is 100% BS for me,” said McMenamin. “That’s my internal calculation. It’s 100%. Because how do you prove this? How do you get this number? I have a problem with the number. Is it due to wins above replacement? Is Russell Westbrook a 30% better player than Chris Paul?”
The reporter raises a good point, as all of these evaluations would need some sample size with Westbrook in a Rockets jersey to draw conclusions. Morey reached out to Nichols and said that she did not ask for his math — though the fact that he’s not explaining the math right away means that that was likely yet another offseason Morey-ism for the books.