NEW YORK • The Philadelphia 76ers and Daryl Morey seem like an ideal match.
For the Sixers, who introduced Morey on Monday as president of basketball operations, he is an executive who gives their front office credibility. For the 48-year-old, the job is a chance to transform a franchise with marquee players into title contenders.
But transformations require institutional buy-in from all corners of a franchise. Morey’s track record as an analytics-driven tinkerer willing to blow up “good” in order to be “great” may not jibe with other parts of the organisation – the ones that judge or are judged on wins and losses, or that need wins to make money.
Yet, with Morey, this can work. But it will require something owners always say they have but often do not: patience.
Morey, who helped usher in the analytics movement in the National Basketball Association (NBA), made his way to Philadelphia after announcing his intent last month to resign from the Houston Rockets, where he had been general manager since 2007. But just adding a big name to the front office will not magically fix the Sixers, who were swept in the first round of the play-offs by the Boston Celtics.
“The best way to win in the NBA is to take your talent and figure out how to utilise them best,” Morey said at a news conference on Monday, adding that stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons “absolutely can work together”.
He will have two months or even longer to work with the Sixers after commissioner Adam Silver reportedly told general managers on Monday that talks with the players’ union were at an impasse, with the league “running out of time” for the new season to start next month. The current 72-game proposal includes a Dec 22 tip-off, but the players prefer a January start.