Quotebook | Morey Reflects on 2020-21 Season

76ers President of Basketball Operations Addresses Media After First Season in Philadelphia
by Lauren Rosen

Tuesday at the 76ers Training Complex, President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey offered thoughtful reflection on the season past and the offseason to come.

With one season with the Sixers in tow, Morey now begins his first full offseason with the team, with lofty goals still ahead.

Here’s some of what was said during Tuesday’s media availability...

To open, Morey offered thoughts on the team’s second-round playoff exit:

“You don’t get a lot of opportunities, I think we put ourselves in a very good opportunity to win the title this year—didn’t get it done. I think Doc [Rivers] did a really good job talking to the players yesterday, and really everybody. In his remarks he challenged all of us to look at each of us in our role and how we can do better. That starts with me, that starts with Elton [Brand] and the front office. I think the best front offices are the ones that look back and say ‘what could have we done better?’ and learn from that.”

Morey was proud, however, of the 2020-21 team’s dynamic and structure, led by the trio of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Tobias Harris:

“We’ve got an MVP candidate, an All-Star, a player who should be an All-Star, we’ve got solid vets, we’ve got young players pushing those vets. I had the great fortune to work with Red Auerbach in Boston, early in my career, and he always felt strongly that you want to have a structure like we have now, obviously great top players and great veterans but you also have great young players pushing those veterans for time and I think it was a great dynamic that we had that this year.”

Morey reflected on MVP finalist Joel Embiid’s herculean effort in the postseason as he battled through a small lateral meniscus tear:

“I think we’re all super impressed with what Joel was able to do. He is the heart and soul of the team and what he did for us will forever be appreciated. ”

Morey also discussed the importance of culture, praising Doc Rivers for building the team’s positive environment:

“He’s come in, he’s got – we had a really good team environment, everyone playing together, everyone pulling the team. I think Doc did a tremendous job. In my role, culture when you have the No. 1 seed in the East, when you have a championship-contending team, I find it to be one of the most important factors. We’re in the situation where we need to make sure that the players we bring culturally fit with Joel, Ben, Tobias, the group that Doc has put together. That’s a very important factor.

“I feel like I’ve learned a lot from Doc. I’ve learned a lot from all the coaches I’ve worked with, but this past year has been really positive for, really, everyone to be with a championship caliber coach and what he brings to the table in terms of how he demands excellence from everyone.”

But culture transcends the court, and Morey thanked ownership for its support:

“For all our players, we have tons of resources. I think that’s one thing, besides Josh Harris giving us every resource to help in terms of acquiring the players on the court, the resources we have available to players is really unparalleled in my career – that’s available to the players. Now, can we be better – yes, I mean everything needs to be assessed. Each player is going to have a different plan and a different approach, but the resources are for sure there, and will continue to be there.”

With the 2021 NBA Draft just around the corner - in which the Sixers’ first pick will come at 28 - Morey looked ahead while reflecting on the 2020 Draft: 

“I feel like we [drafted well in the 20s] this year, obviously Maxey wasn’t in the rotation every day this year but we feel like he has a really good chance to step into the rotation next year, that is super rare for anyone picked in the 20s, but I believe in our scouting staff I believe in the coaches ability to develop players and put them in good roles and it’s a pretty deep draft in that range so if we keep the pick, frankly I’m someone who will move up, move down—optimize the draft like the way we did last year.”

Looking ahead, Morey reaffirmed his commitment to maximizing the team’s opportunity to continue pursuing a championship:

“We have a very strong group we believe in… We love what Ben brings, we love what Joel brings, we love what Tobias brings. In terms of what’s next, we’re going to do what’s best for the 76ers to give us the best chance to win the championship with every single player on the roster.”

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