Why Rockets GM Daryl Morey believes he has let James Harden down

Drew Shiller
NBC Sports BayArea

Over a five-season span from 2015 to 2019, the Warriors eliminated the Houston Rockets in the playoffs four times.

James Harden and his squads just haven't been able to get over the hump, and a big reason for that is because they happened to have a dynasty standing in their way.

Speaking of Harden -- Rockets general manager Daryl Morey came to his defense during a recent appearance on the "Pomp Podcast" with Anthony Pompliano.

"I don't think the media is super fair with him," Morey said. "Part of it is he has a tight circle of people that he trusts. With those people who he knows have his best interest at heart, he's very gregarious, very open, very smart -- just this great guy. And with everyone else, he's not the opposite -- he's just reserved. 

"He's not someone who is going to be a big media guy or things like that. So, I think that hurts him a little bit. But I can I can tell you privately he's like a basketball genius. He's a great quality human being.

"We've worked together for eight or nine years now and I couldn't have a better partner to try and win a title with. And in fact, most days I wake up saying, 'I've let him down because I haven't gotten him the right players to win a title.' "

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

That's the admirable thing to say, and it's some great GM'ing from Morey to take responsibility for the Rockets not winning a championship yet with "The Beard" running the show.

You also can't put all the blame on Harden for Houston coming up short. However, he has had a couple really bad performances in playoff elimination games -- which helps explain why Morey believes the media is not "super fair" towards him:

In Game 5 of the 2015 Western Conference finals against the Warriors, Harden had 14 points (2-for-11 FG) with five assists and 12 turnovers.

In Game 6 of the 2017 Western Conference semifinals against the San Antonio Spurs, Harden scored 10 points (2-for-11 FG), notched seven assists and committed six turnovers.

Additionally, the 2017-18 NBA MVP went 2-for-13 from deep vs. Golden State in Game 7 of the 2018 Western Conference finals, and he turned the ball over four times in the fourth quarter of Game 6 vs. the Kevin Durant-less Warriors in the 2019 Western Conference semifinals.

[RELATED: Harden: Not knocking Steph, but 'I deserved the MVP']

In the end, there are several reasons the Rockets haven't captured the Larry O'Brien trophy since they acquired Harden from the Oklahoma City Thunder in October 2012.

And one thing we know for sure is that if Houston doesn't win it all in Orlando this year, it won't be because of the Warriors.

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Why Rockets GM Daryl Morey believes he has let James Harden down originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

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