What Impact Will Daryl Morey Have On The Sixers Draft Strategy?

NBA: JUL 13 Dwight Howard Signs with the Houston Rockets
HOUSTON, July 13, 2013 Houston Rockets owner Les Alexander, Dwight Howard, Rockets head coach Kevin McHale and Rockets manager Daryl Morey (L-R) attend the news conference and welcoming ceremony for Howard’s joining Houston Rockets in Houston, the United States, July 13, 2013.

We’re roughly two weeks out from the NBA draft and the Sixers are heading into it with an almost entirely new front office. They’ve recently hired both Doc Rivers and Daryl Morey during this offseason. The duo won’t have too long to get a draft board together, but I thought I’d take a look at how Daryl Morey will affect the Sixers’ draft strategy in his first year as the director of basketball operations. 

Morey has spent the last 13 years with the Houston Rockets and played an instrumental role in them becoming a huge threat in the Western conference for a sustained period. Bringing guys like James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul to Houston, Morey isn’t afraid to pay any price for what he wants, and usually gets what just that. 

In terms of his draft strategy, it’s usually pretty chaotic. Morey is known around the league as being a guy who ‘hates’ drafting, as he’s happy to deal whatever pick his team has for an established talent in the league. We most recently saw this in action when the Rockets traded for Russell Westbrook.  

During 13 years with the Rockets, Daryl Morey has dealt picks on or around draft night seven times. With the Sixers having five total picks in the draft this year, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him do some more deals, especially with the lack of time Doc and Morey have had to get a draft board going.

Not only that, but with the class so deeply impacted by the suspension caused by COVID-19, no prospect is a surefire hit. There is plenty of risk involved and this may lead Morey to lean on his instincts now more than ever. 

Conversely, Morey isn’t a guy who drafts often, but when he does, he certainly doesn’t miss. Over his time in Houston, Morey drafted names like Marcus Morris, Jeremy Lamb, and Clint Capela, whilst also finding Montrezl Harrell and Chandler Parsons in the second round. If Morey can find anyone for the Sixers like the names I just mentioned, especially with four picks in the second round, then he’ll enjoy a fantastic time during his tenure in Philadelphia. 

Of course like anyone drafting in the league, Morey has had his moments of horror and has missed on occasion. Just look at the first-round selections of Sam Dekker in 2015, and Royce White in 2012. From a Sixers perspective, you’d happily accept the odd miss if it meant more consistent hits…especially with their recent draft history.

An interesting little fact I found, and something that Sixers fans should be excited about: Morey absolutely loves drafting both small and power forwards. Nine of his 14 draft picks for the Rockets were spent on forwards including the likes of Capela and Morris. Now this is massive news for the Sixers given the majority of the issues they have as a roster is at both small and power forward. 

The issue at small forward isn’t as big as power forward, Tobias Harris had an okay year in Philadelphia last year, and whilst it certainly doesn’t justify the big contract the Sixers gave him, I think the Sixers can afford to leave him in the position and let Doc revitalize the magic the duo had when Harris played under Doc years ago. 

The hole at power forward is one of the must-fills for the Sixers this offseason. The draft is probably the best way to do so. Ben’s experiment at power forward should never cross a single mind again. The Sixers also royally messed up with the contract they gave Al Horford, a player who was never going to play well at power forward for the Sixers. Trusting Morey to draft the next starting power forward for the Sixers is something they should be happy to do, although a shooter may be more appealing to the team in the first round.  

Overall, Morey will have a great impact on the Sixers drafting for the foreseeable future. Morey has been a great drafter throughout his years in Houston and if he can replicate that success in Philadelphia, then the future is bright for the Sixers. He also adds a lot of excitement to the team’s front office.

Like I previously mentioned, he isn’t scared of trading multiple picks away for a star player or someone who will instantly fix his teams’ issues. That leads to some great potential moves that have already started doing the rounds through the media, mainly James Harden, but also a possible move for Jrue Holiday or Buddy Hield. Whatever way Morey decides to go with his draft pick, the Sixers and their fans should be excited for the future of their team. 

Mandatory Credit – Zuma Press/Icon Sportswire