Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey is a numbers guy, an MIT guy, a probabilities guy. MIT is the kind of place where you can learn to predict the next face card, not hope for it.
Luck is just nonsense to a guy like Morey, but then there is this:
Last fall, the Rockets had guard Jeremy Lin on their roster, but they cut him because they already had Kyle Lowry and Goran Dragic. Lin was picked up by the New York Knicks, and it is important to remember that the Rockets owned the Knicks' first-round pick in the 2012 draft. When Lin entered the Knicks lineup, the team was losing twice as many games at it was winning, barreling toward a top-10 pick in the draft. Things looked great for the Rockets. Then Lin started playing and the Knicks became a winning team, making the playoffs and giving the Rockets the No 16 pick, which they desperately tried to trade in their attempt to get Dwight Howard.
I tell you that to tell you this: The Rockets are trying to sign Jeremy Lin again, reportedly offering him a contract worth 30 million over four years.
The Rockets are going to try to give a big contract to a man they could have had for much less. If the Rockets sign Lin they will have basically rewarded him for the performance that ruined their offseason.
And doesn't that just say it all?
I am not criticizing the attempt. Signing Lin would be a good idea, particularly if reports are true that Dragic is as good as gone. Lin presents some risk, because the sample size for him as an elite guard is still quite small. But the Rockets are going to have to take some risks, because the sure things never seem to pan out, and the good news is that blown personnel moves are the stuff No. 1 picks are made of.
So, no, I am not trying to argue that this is a bad idea, or that the Rockets should hold it against Lin that he played that draft pick out of the lottery. I am just saying that the Rockets have to be the least lucky team in the NBA.
General manager Daryl Morey has become the reverse King Midas. Everything he touches turns to aluminum.
There is an opportunity here, if he wants it, to turn off the engines and just let the franchise nosedive into the warm waters of the upper lottery. Morey could trade Lowry (who wants out anyway) and Luis Scola, he could go young and pray that Marcus Morris, Jeremy Lamb, Terrence Jones and Royce White will be good (but just not quite yet, fellas), and he could stop pursuing trades for veterans.
Simply put, he could for one year stop trying to go from ninth place to eighth place and embrace the freefall, embrace the system that rewards awfulness. He could play the game.
Yes, he could do that. He could allow the Rockets, anchored by a big man who can't score and a point guard who turns it over a lot, to win something like 25 games. And he could show up there at the NBA Draft lottery with some really good odds.
But then NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver would walk up to that podium and reach for an envelope, and every Rockets fan, coach and front office person would have to ask themselves a question.
Do I feel lucky?