The Philadelphia 76ers introduced Daryl Morey Monday as new President of Basketball Operations. Morey comes to the 76ers just 17 days before the NBA draft. Morey was introduced with Josh Harris, Elton Brand, and Doc Rivers. The four represent the leadership core for the Philadelphia 76ers, but Brand declined to lay out a specific hierarchy for the management structure.
Morey is one of the sporting world’s legendary dealmakers. He has pulled off multiple megadeals for stars, including James Harden, Chris Paul, and Russell Westbrook. When asked about the importance of knowing the league’s pulse in a time of financial and schedule uncertainty, Morey spoke at length.
Morey said that having intel for “What other teams are doing is incredibly important, actually.” Morey said it was one reason he was excited to work with Head Coach Doc Rivers, who came from the Los Angeles Clippers. Morey said Rivers is “one of the most respected coaches in the league, players talk to him other teams talk to him.” said Morey, who continued, “That kind of Intel is super important when you’re trying to make a trade.”
Josh Harris Opening Statement
Last year it was difficult. We clearly didn’t deliver. I left the bubble resolute, we were going to do our best to improve the front office – Josh Harris
Harris opened the press conference with a statement of fact and a call to action that he felt as the Sixers season ended in a disappointing loss to the Boston Celtics. When speaking of the coaching search. “A championship coach of Doc’s stature becomes available. You don’t hesitate. You move quickly,” Said Harris of the quick courtship and hiring of Doc Rivers. “Today we welcome Daryl Morey,” Harris continued, “one of the best executives in the NBA”. Harris said that when talent “like Doc and Daryl become available. You move quickly.” Harris then spoke about having signed Elton Brand to a long term extension and what Elton means to the organization. “We’re incredibly fortunate to have Elton brand.” Said Harris, who continued, “Elton showed incredible leadership and putting the team first, along with Doc, urging me to go after Daryl and the minute It was announced he was leaving Houston.”
Morey answered questions for nearly 40 minutes on a range of topics. He was non-committal on specific players, except for heaping praise onto Joel Embiid. Morey said that Embiid has been working out twice a day in the 76ers practice facility in Camden, NJ, for some time. “the chance to work with Joel. And Ben,” Morey said in his opening statement. “This is a roster that has championship aspirations and can win the championship. You can’t ask for anything more it’s been a dream come true to be here today.”
Other key Quotes about Embiid:
- “There aren’t many opportunities where you get a chance to win, and I really felt like this was the right fit. Joel is a dominant, dominant big man.”
- “We got very close in Houston with Yao Ming. And I think we can go all the way with Joel.”
- “He wants to win a championship, but I think he’s a smart player knows you only have so many opportunities.”
- “Joel is the kind of player you win championships with if you look back through the history.”
- I used to get the question. What would you do if you had Shaq? And my answer was, I would give Shaq the ball about 100 times a game. Joel is a talent on both ends.”
Morey was asked about his approach to roster construction and said, “We actually had a long meeting before this” said Morey, who continued, “I think I start with championship probability, and basically work backward from that and over, over a timeframe of one to three years, basically.” Said Morey who acknowledged that as currently constructed, the team is not viewed as a favorite to win the championship next season. However, he quickly said, “We feel like people are underrating the Sixers right now, but we need to go out there and prove it. But let’s start with championship probability. Figure out how our team looks compared to teams in the past that have won the championship. And where do we stack up or not? I know that’s high level, but that’s basically how I look at it every year.”
“I used to get the question. What would you do if you had Shaq? And my answer was, I would give Shaq the ball about 100 times a game. Joel is a talent on both ends.” Said Morey. When asked about his preference for maximizing his team’s ability to shoot a high volume of threes in Houston. “‘The goal is not to shoot three-pointers, the goal is to win. You can score on offense and a whole bunch of different ways. Joel happens to be one of the most efficient poster players in the league.”
Doc Rivers added to that sentiment,” scoring is scoring; if we score 140 in a game, do we care where it came from? My answer, no, we don’t. We just want to score.”
On Roster Changes
Morey was careful not to discuss any specific players other than Embiid and Simmons but acknowledged, “Our championship team probably isn’t going to have the same exact players that we have right now.” With a draft quickly approaching where the team has 5 selections, changes are likely to come. “Do I think that the players we have right now are very good?” Morey asked himself. “I do believe that. Absolutely. But you know we’re gonna have to continue to improve.”
On the Sprint to Game 1.
“It’s going to be a sprint from here until game one, whenever that is. It’s actually a little bit overwhelming very important trade windows, very important draft picks, and an important free agency period coming up. So that’s why Elton and I are going to be locked in a room together.”