It took a lot of thought choosing this season’s Executive of the Year and there were two finalists, the Houston Rockets’ Daryl Morey and the New York Knicks’ Glen Grunwald. Both executives have done amazing things this year, but in completely different circumstances, based on their team’s needs. Morey traded for a star and signed two key players, while adding solid role players to the team, while Grunwald was able to assemble an incredible stable of role players around Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler, despite having very little money to work with. Although both were different and effective, Morey wins this battle as he is the only GM who was able to land a team’s franchise player this season, which is the first step in creating an elite NBA roster.
2012 Off-Season Resume
Jeremy Lamb (12th Overall)
Royce White (16th Overall)
Terrence Jones (18th Overall)
Signed Center Omer Asik for 3 years, 25 million
Signed Point guard Jeremy Lin for 3 years, 25 million
Signed Small forward Carlos Delfino for 2 years, 6 million
Traded Kevin Martin and Jeremy Lamb for James Harden, Daequan Cook and Cole Aldrich
Signed Harden for 5 years and 80 million
Traded For Toney Douglas
Of course the biggest move that Morey made was the trade and then signing of James Harden, who has become the star player they have lacked since Yao retired and Harden has become a bona fide franchise player. Morey grabbed the opportunity to trade for Harden after Oklahoma City failed to come to terms on a new deal and he had the guts to give him a maximum contract, despite him never being a starter. Harden has rewarded him by becoming a sure-fire All-Star and franchise caliber player, who should lead the Rockets for years to come and at only 23, is just now entering his prime. It was an incredible risky that move paid off. Morey was criticized for years for just stacking assets and not making any big moves, but the move he finally was able to make, has given the Rockets a superstar player.
Morey also was smart to outbid the Knicks for the services of Jeremy Lin. Lin has brought big time publicity to the team and has become a consistent offensive threat, after a tough start to the year. Finally learning how to play with Harden, they have created a devastating guard combo, both able to play on and off the ball. Together they are one of the highest scoring backcourts in the NBA and together average over 11 assists per game. The Houston Rockets now have a fantastic starting backcourt for years to come.
Morey also outbid the Bulls for Omer Asik and his signing has proven to be a brilliant move, as he is now the team’s defensive anchor, as one of the best defensive players in the NBA and a top-notch rebounder. He has also scored at a much higher rate than anyone thought he could and has become a double-double machine. He should control the paint for them on defense for a long time to come.
Morey also traded for Toney Douglas and signed Carlos Delfino to a more than generous offer and they have become their top two bench performers and two excellent scorers off of the bench. There is still work to be done in the second unit, but he has started off the bench rebuild very nicely.
When it comes to their draft last summer, it has had mixed results. Jeremy Lamb was a big part of the Harden trade, helping them get their franchise player, but the other two have disappointed. Terrence Jones is buried deep in their big man rotation and has spent a lot of time in the D-League, but he could become a rotation player someday soon and was the best player available, so it was a fine pick. However, the Royce White pick is not looking good, as he is not with the team over a dispute of how to handle his health issues. He is a fantastic talent, so if they can come to terms with him, he could become a big part of their team, but for now it looks like a wasted pick, because it does not look like he will play anytime soon. They drafted potential, but they will have to take a wait and see approach to the long-term success of their draft. But the fact that Lamb helped them get Harden, makes the draft a success regardless of what happens with the two others rookies.
In one summer, Daryl Morey turned a team many expected to be one of the worst in the league, into a playoff contender. He landed them a franchise player and star, their starting point guard and their starting center and defensive anchor, while adding even more young talent to make further trades. He also created a decent second unit, while still giving them tremendous cap space going further. For those reasons Darryl Morey should be the Executive of the Year for 2012-13.