Houston Rockets:The Forgotten Legend – Steve Francis


One of Social Media’s trending hashtag is #todayskidswillneverknow. It’s a way for social network users to take a virtual walk down memory lane, and remind today’s generation what they will never know about. For young NBA fans who admire explosive point guards such as Damian Lillard, Derrick Rose, and Russell Westbrook many will never know about Houston Rockets legend Steve Francis.

#TodaysKidsWillNeverKnow that the NBA all star game used to be competitive

— Eddie (@EddiemDavis12) August 4, 2015

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Nicknamed Stevie Franchise, the 6’3 point guard from the University of Maryland became known for his flashy crossover dribble, scoring ability, and phenomenal dunks.

During the early to mid-2000s, Steve Francis was considered one of the elite point guards in the league. Francis was traded to Houston before the 1999-2000 season, after demanding a trade from the Vancouver Grizzlies.

At the time, the Rockets were in search for a new talent to rebuild around, as their franchise player Hakeem Olajuwon’s career was ending. After sharing Rookie of the Year Honors with Elton Brand in 2000, it was clear that Steve Francis was the new face of Clutch City.

Throughout his five years in Houston, Francis filled the stats sheets every night for the Rockets averaging 17.1 points, 5.8 assists, and a respectable 5.5 rebounds per game.

The Franchise joined Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson, and Grant Hill as the only players in NBA history to average at least 15 points, 5 assists, and 5 rebounds in their first five seasons.

Steve Francis had established himself as the Houston Rockets number one option. He became a three-time NBA All-Star, and his brilliant dunking ability placed him second in the 2000 Dunk Contest, which was arguably the best dunk contest ever. This Jason Buckland ESPN article highlights just how incredible via player, journalists and participant quotes from the night.

Arguably his best game with the Rockets came on January 17, 2002 when Francis led Houston to a 108-104 win over the Los Angeles Lakers. Francis scored his career-high of 44 points and dished out 11 assists in the overtime victory. On a personal level Francis had a great career, but lacked in the success of the team.

In four of his five seasons Francis failed to lead the Rockets to the playoffs. The 2003-04 season was Francis finest year of his career. He became more of a leader averaging 16.6 points, 6.2 assists, and improved his defense with a career-high of 1.8 steals per game. More importantly, he led the Rockets to a 45-37 record and finally got Houston back to the postseason after a six-year drought. Unfortunately, the Rockets were eliminated in five quick games by the Lakers.

Although Francis had led the Rockets to the postseason, later that summer he was traded to the Orlando Magic for two-time scoring champion Tracy McGrady. As the Rockets moved forward with McGrady, Francis career was never the same.

After two quick seasons with the Magic, he was traded to the New York Knicks. After he spent a season and a half in the Big Apple, Francis rejoined the Rockets during the 2007-08 season, but was never the same player. He only appeared in 10 games for the Rockets before being placed on the injured reserve. Soon after his career faded into the sunset.

Even though Francis’ career ended miserably, NBA fans cannot talk about point guards that change the game without mentioning Steve Francis. Yeah, Lillard, Rose, and Westbrook are phenomenal players, but Today’s Kids Will Never Know about the greatness of Stevie Franchise.

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