How Daryl Morey and James Harden Hacked The NBA

Daryl Morey is the GM of the Houston Rockets. He’s a true stat guy and he and Sam Hinkie applied moneyball philosophy to the NBA. They use RPM(the value of a players impact in terms of point differential per 100 possessions), true shooting percentage, which calculates a players shooting far better than just relying on fg% and 3pt fg% other advanced metrics to analyze which players to play, sign, and draft every year.

True Shooting Percentage: Points / (2 * (FG Attempts + 0.44 * FT Attempts))

His first job in the NBA was with the Boston Celtics. He was their stat guy but his title was SVP of operations. April 3rd 2006 he was named GM of the Rockets.

Fast forward to today, the Rockets are the team with the best record in the NBA, and his analytics style is finally getting the recognition it deserves. James Harden has been a huge piece of this, He and Chris Paul both rank in the top 25 in the league in this advanced stat. Which basically means give them the green light to shoot whenever they want. They use a form of isolation basketball, where one of either Harden or Paul takes the ball up, they use the triple threat to their advantage in this iso set up. This team takes a staggering number of three pointers a game, currently sitting at an average of 42.1. With a percentage of 36.5, not bad for how much they chuck it up. One might say, wait what if they go cold. Well one player might but they have 9 players averaging more than 2.5 3 pointers a game, and yes James Harden has the most, but not by as much as you would think.He has 10.4 attempts per game, followed by Eric Gordon with 8.8, Gerald Green with 6.9 and Chris Paul with 6.2. The way they spread that out really solidifies their attack plan. Get competent shooters, who are all over 35% from 3 and let it loose. And, it’s been working. They are 3 games up on the Warriors in the Western Conference and have already beat them twice this year and blown out the Cavs twice. So when Daryl Morey says “I’m obsessed with beating the Warriors.” He means it!

Their defense has also been top 10 this year with Clint Capela an athletic center anchoring their defensive front. They are basically unbeatable when James Harden, Chris Paul and Clint Capela are in the lineup. As of March 1st they were 31-1 with all three in the lineup. If Chris Paul can stay healthy, and James Harden doesn’t disappear in another playoff series, this team can give the Warriors a run for their money.