Daryl Morey, speaking Monday for the first time as president of basketball operations of the Philadelphia 76ers, expressed excitement about the championship potential of a roster built around All-Stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.
“My goal is to win a championship, so whatever gets us there is what we’ll do,” Morey said during a virtual news conference officially announcing his hiring. “But I would say to have two star-plus players in 24 and 26 years old, that is why I couldn’t get Doc Rivers to come interview in Houston.
“He saw this roster and he said, ‘It’s amazing,’ and ‘Sorry I couldn’t fly to Houston to meet with you, Daryl.’ And then, obviously, I end up here a couple weeks later. … It was pretty cool.”
Last month Morey agreed to leave the Houston Rockets, where he had run the team’s basketball operations for more than a decade. At the time, he said he was planning to take a “gap year.”
But on Monday he found himself sitting alongside Rivers (hired as coach last month after a departure from the LA Clippers), general manager Elton Brand (whom Morey is now ahead of on the organizational depth chart) and owner Josh Harris.
“That was my plan,” Morey said of taking a gap year, before adding with a smile, “My kids are giving me a lot of crap about it.nfl cheap nike jerseys
“I’m a pretty competitive guy, but that was my plan. My wife was actually urging me to do that. But Elton and Doc and Josh were relentless, just relentless, as soon as I stepped away. Frankly, the more you look at what Elton has put together, on this roster with Joel and Ben as the headliners but with great players — Al [Horford], Josh [Richardson], Tobias [Harris] and some of the younger players brought in last year — I’m with Doc.
“He and I have been chatting a lot, and the more you dig into the players that are here, the more you get excited about what this team can do.”
In the span of a month, the Sixers have landed one of the best and most respected coaches and executives in the NBA. Harris said that, in both cases, when he and the rest of the Sixers’ ownership had an opportunity to pursue both men, doing so was a no-brainer.
“You have to be self-reflective,” Harris said. “When we came out of the bubble, we were self-reflective. It didn’t work last year. We were disappointed. And also, it’s hard. People like Doc Rivers, or coaches like Doc Rivers, executives like Daryl Morey, they’re under contract. It’s very hard to get them out of their current situations. It’s very rare they leave current situations, or you have availability to talk to them.nfl nike jerseys cheap china
“So, the minute they were available, we jumped on it, and yeah, I think we’re now really well set up with great leadership and great people. I think it is a new dawn, a new era, and I hope it lasts for a long, long time. And I think hopefully it will yield success on the court. I believe that it will.”
The Sixers entered last season with sky-high expectations, only to fall short. The team was hindered by injuries — most notably to Simmons in the NBA bubble in Orlando, Florida — while the trio of Simmons, Embiid and Horford, in particular, struggled to fit together.
But while Embiid and Simmons are about as big of a departure as one could find from the small-ball, 3-point-shooting team Morey and Mike D’Antoni built with the Rockets, his long-standing philosophy has not been to chase 3-point shooting, but to chase stars. And, repeatedly, Morey went out of his way to praise Embiid’s potential, in particular, during Monday’s news conference.
“Well first I would say, how we play is going to be up to Doc,” Morey said. “But that’s one reason I’m very excited to be here is to work with a championship coach like Doc. I think — and I think he agrees with me, he can jump in — the best way to win in the NBA is to take your talent and figure out how to utilize them the best. Right? It’s not to take your talent and hammer it into a particular system. It’s to try to get the most out of who you have.
“It doesn’t take much to look at when Joel is on the floor and healthy, and he’s been in here twice a day for quite a while, he’s very focused and motivated, this is an unbelievable defensive team. The fact that he’s also an extremely good offensive player … Joel is the kind of player you win championships with if you look back through NBA history. We were trying to build our best team around our talents in Houston, but here Doc is going to take the talent we have and use them to the best of our ability.”