Daryl Morey (born September 14, 1972) is an American sports executive and a general manager of the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association since 2007. He is a strong proponent of analytical methods, having created the "true shooting percentage" statistic, and co-founded the annual MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. Morey's basketball philosophy, heavily reliant on analytics, favors three-point field goals over mid-range jumpers. This style has been dubbed "Moreyball", as a nod towards Michael Lewis's Moneyball.
During his tenure as general manager for Houston since 2007, he has posted the most wins—second only to the San Antonio Spurs—and since the blockbuster trade bringing MVP James Harden to the Rockets, he has posted the best record—third only to the Spurs and Golden State Warriors.
Morey graduated from Highland High School in Medina, Ohio before receiving a bachelor's degree in computer science with an emphasis on statistics from Northwestern University in 1996, as well as an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management.
Morey began his career as a principal consultant with an emphasis on sports at The Parthenon Group, a leading strategy consulting firm. He was also a statistical consultant with STATS, Inc with a focus in sports.
After the Parthenon Group, Morey served three years as SVP Operations for the Boston Celtics. While with the Celtics, he was given much responsibility for basketball operations, including ticket pricing and the development of analytical methods and technology to enhance basketball decisions related to the draft, trades, free agency, and advanced scouting of opponents for the coaching staff.
Then-Houston Rockets' owner Leslie Alexander named Morey assistant general manager of the Houston Rockets on April 3, 2006. He succeeded Carroll Dawson as general manager on May 10, 2007. His hiring followed the Moneyball trend of employing more advanced statistical-based analysis in addition to the traditional use of qualitative scouting and basic statistics. Several teams have hired executives with non-traditional basketball backgrounds, but the Houston Rockets were the first NBA team to hire such a general manager. In the fall of 2012, he and the Rockets acquired now-All-Star and 2017-18 league MVP James Harden via trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder. During Morey's tenure, the Rockets have not had a losing record and have advanced to the playoffs 9 times, including to the Western Conference Finals in 2015 and 2018. He was also named the NBA Executive of the Year in 2018.
Morey is the co-chairperson for the annual MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. He is also an avid Esports supporter, has attended MLG (Major League Gaming) events, and is part owner of Clutch Gaming, the Houston, Texas based League of Legends Championship Series eSports team. Morey is also passionate about musical theatre. He commissioned and produced the basketball themed musical Small Ball which opened in April 2018 at the Catastrophic Theatre in Houston, Texas.
In the media
Author of Moneyball, Michael Lewis, chose Daryl Morey as the new nerd-hero at the center of his 2016 book, The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds. Whereas Moneyball highlighted the plight and success of Billy Beane as GM of the Oakland Athletics in 2003, The Undoing Project reveals Daryl Morey as the underdog king of basketball, making use of a similar analytical method to acquire undervalued talent as Beane did with the A's to produce a forceful team. Lewis uses Morey as a real-world example of one who has exemplified ideas introduced by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, two Israeli psychologists whose work garnered the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economics and pioneered the field of behavioral economics. The psychologist duo defined a simple, two-part distinction of the way the brain makes decisions: System 1 and System 2. A more intuitive, subjective, fast, and efficient process, System 1 represents the brain's capacity to make split-second choices, often using personal experience to guide decision-making. System 2, however, characterizes a slower, more analytical process of reasoning to reach a conclusion. Michael Lewis points out in the Undoing Project how Daryl Morey observed basketball experts of the time making awfully subjective assessments in looking at basketball players. Shifting the Rockets' scouting strategy to look at hard data over simple observations, Morey implemented a more System-2-based approach to the team's hiring practices. This strategy is thought to be critically linked to the Houston Rockets' recent success.