The Philadelphia 76ers made two announcements on Monday that marked the end of the nearly complete overhaul of their front office, as Daryl Morey was officially named president of basketball operations and general manager Elton Brand was given an extension.
Morey’s deal has been reported for five years, while there has been no information on the length of Brand’s extension. The two executives will now join forces with former Clippers head coach Doc Rivers, who didn’t last long on the job market before the Sixers scooped him up.
The big shake-up in Philly came after yet another disappointing early playoff exit this past season for a team that had been expected to be a perennial contender in 2020.
After spending nearly $300 million on Tobias Harris and Al Horford in the offseason, the team actually seemed to regress, losing in a clean four-game sweep to the Boston Celtics in the first round which resulted in the firing of head coach Brett Brown. Philly has also parted ways with other prominent team executives recently, such as Alex Rucker, as they look for a fresh start.
Morey comes in as one of the most well-respected executives in the game, having put together an impressive resume in his 13 years running things in Houston: the Rockets made the playoffs in 10 seasons, they won a league-best 65 games in 2017-2018, they put together a 640-400 overall record, and they continue to maintain the NBA’s longest active playoff streak, at eight years.
The Baraboo, Wisconsin native’s unique mind and ingenuity have made him a driving force in the way the game has changed over the past decade. You can credit Steph Curry all you want, but Morey’s ultra-efficient ‘Morey-ball’ should get a lot of that recognition for the focus on three-pointers and lay-ups as well.
Morey’s way of playing has become so prevalent that the mid-range jumper has essentially become a lost art in the NBA. Whether that’s a good or bad thing for the game is up to each individual, but there’s no denying Morey’s influence on the game.
Morey went all in betting on his strategy this season, trading his only center so that he could create the most ultra-efficient small-ball lineup of shooters and slashers possible. The experiment was extremely intriguing, and though it came up short in the playoffs against the eventual champion Lakers, it would have been a very interesting theory to see put into practice for more than just half a season.
But alas, Morey was pushed out of Houston, and he has landed on his feet in the city of Brotherly Love in no time. Sixers owner Josh Harris certainly has no reservations about how much Morey will improve a Sixers team that has lost a lot of juice lately, now sitting just 12th with 31.00 odds on 888sport’s early 2021 championship odds table.
“Talent like Daryl rarely becomes available, so we moved quickly and aggressively to bring him here,” Harris said. “He has an extraordinary track record of success in this league as an innovator, visionary and leader, and I believe he significantly improves our chances of delivering a championship caliber team to our fans.”
With players like Joel Embiid, Josh Richardson, and Ben Simmons at their disposal, it shouldn’t exactly be a big ask for Morey, Brand, and Rivers to turn this team into a real contender that can elicit fear instead of scoffs from their playoff opponents.