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Daryl Morey is an admitted numbers guy, believing statistical data can be an extremely useful tool in the process of constructing a basketball team.
The Houston Rockets general manager says he has checked the numbers and has come to this conclusion — LeBron James is the best player in NBA history, “by a bit of a big margin” — and the numbers weren’t really necessary to formulate that opinion.
Morey, who has a background in computer science with an emphasis on statistics, made the claim during an appearance on The Dan Patrick Show.
“You look at his ability to generate wins and championship probability over time, and you basically break that down,” he said. “You don’t need all the numbers. You can watch as well and see that.
“But if you basically isolate that and also look at the career he’s had, frankly I think at this point, it’s become a bit of a big margin, actually, where he’s come out ahead. I know that’s a little controversial.”
— Dan Patrick Show (@dpshow) August 15, 2018
Having spent a dozen years with Houston, 11 as its head of basketball operations, Morey put together a Rockets team that had the best record in the NBA during the regular season a year ago and held a 3-2 lead on the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals.
However, when star point guard Chris Paul injured his right hamstring in the final minute of a Game 5 win against Golden State, it paved the way to the Rockets’ eventual demise, dropping Game 6 and Game 7 with Paul helplessly watching from the bench and then saw the Warriors sweep the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals to win their second consecutive league title, their third in the last four seasons.
With James having exited Cleveland for a second time and signing with the Los Angeles Lakers, Morey said it has changed the landscape, even in the rugged Western Conference.
“I would expect, I hope, that we’re ahead of them and I would expect Golden State to be ahead of them,” Morey said. “But I would never count out a LeBron James team.
“He is the greatest ever, in my mind.”