Let me start this week’s column with a single statement: Rankings are tough to make.
Granted they are always entertaining to read and generally a fun way to create debate as you mock the writer making your own much better list with obvious snubs the columnist amazingly forgot.
Still it’s very hard to produce any kind of list when the subject of said list takes into account a 45-year franchise with a lot of history and tradition like the Houston Rockets.
So, tonight I’ll take that risk and challenge myself to present Space City Scoop readers in the following weeks an -arbitrary- ranking of Houston Rockets All Time Best Players throughout its lauded History.
Whenever anyone takes a shot at ranking something so big like that, this person must be aware of balancing levels of subjectivity, personal style tastes and players weight in the Franchise history.
My attempt will try and manage all those concerns and provide a comprehensive and -hopefully- not too unfair list with the best Houston Rockets of all time.
The inspiration for this column obviously coming from much discussed and talked about ESPN’s All Time #NBArank who recently elected Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Tim Duncan and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar the best players on NBA’s history by position.
This week we’ll start with the Floor Generals. Rockets Greatest Point Guards.
The list will follow a somewhat loose pattern each week as we present positions which Houston Rockets has more or less stacked choices. Usually we’ll give you:
- Honorable Mention
- Runner Up.
- Best Player.
In less stacked positions, we’ll offer a Runner Up and the Winner.
So, Follow me as this week we countdown Houston Rockets Best Point Guards!
Next: Honorable Mention
Honorable Mention: Steve Francis
- Career Stats: 18.1 Points, 6 Assists, 5.6 Rebounds, 42.9% Field Goal Percent
- 3 time NBA All-Star
- NBA Rookie of The Year (2000)
The Numbers just don’t lie: Steve Francis has the best stats of any point guard in Rockets history. Even the two other players ranked above him just don’t have the same averages Steve Francis achieved as the Rockets leader in the early 2000’s.
In his best season in Houston, Francis completely filled the stat sheets: 21.6 Points, 7 rebounds and 6.4 assists.
Undoubtedly Steve is probably one of the players who Rockets fans all around the world have a special affection towards.
The impression was that he gave his maximum every single game, despite not always having a capable supporting entourage, Francis gave his best, trying to lead his Rockets into success.
He is only not ranked above the other two players due to his lack of a more lasting durable career and missing any kind of post-season achievements.
His Best Moment With the Rockets – 44 points and 11 assists against the Los Angeles Lakers in an international televised game who believed they would be broadcasting Yao Ming vs Shaquille O’Neal’s battle bust instead were handed a historic performance by Francis.
Next: Runner Up: The JET
May 20, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Former NBA player and current TNT television personality Charles Barkley (right) and TNT television personality Kenny Smith (left) prior to game one of the Eastern Conference Finals of the NBA Playoffs between the Atlanta Hawks and the Cleveland Cavaliers at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Runner Up: Kenny Smith
- Career Stats: 12.8 Points, 5.5 Assists, 2.0 Rebounds
- 2 time NBA Champion
- FIBA World Champion 1986
The Original JET, Kenny Smith before becoming Shaq and Barkley’s quizzical sidekick on Inside the NBA was actually a pretty good player.
A lot of people (including Rockets fans) tend to play down Kenny Smith’s career due to his playful persona on TNT’s program as well as his constant criticism aimed at the current Rockets team. For example, take a look at what Smith said after Rockets Game 6 comeback against the Clippers last year:
“I’m going to have to be honest, I have not been a Rockets fan in a long time, I have not. I didn’t like the team. I didn’t like the way they played. But having gone back through so many memories of Clutch City, I’m rooting for my Rockets now and I’m calling them my Rockets now.
“Everyone assumes that because I played for the Rockets that I root for them. I don’t and I didn’t, but I’m rooting for the Rockets. I’ll still be fair on the air, but as a fan, I’m rooting for the Rockets.”
So, yeah I’d say that’s probably not the best way of winning a fan base.
Nevertheless this UNC alumni deserves this spot for being one of the most important players and leaders in the Houston Rockets Two Championships.
His Best Moment With the Rockets – His now anthologic Seven three-point shots in 1995 NBA Finals Game 1 Against Orlando.
Next: The Undisputed Best Point Guard (And Sharp Dresser) in Rockets History
Nov 25, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Broadcaster and hall of fame player Calvin Murphy before a game between the Houston Rockets and the Memphis Grizzlies at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Houston Rockets All Time Best Point Guard: Calvin Murphy
- Career Stats: 17.9 Points, 4.4 Assists, 1.5 Steals
- NBA All-Star (1979)
- Basketball Hall of Famer
- Number 23 Jersey Retired By the Houston Rockets
NBA’s premiere and most awarded shortest player in the league’s history, Calvin Murphy has as many accolades as children.
At 5’9 Calvin Murphy was probably the most skilled and talented short guy in the history of the sport.
Fast, reliable defender and one of the best free-throw shooters ever, Calvin Murphy is undeniably the Best Point Guard who has ever played for the Houston Rockets.
Murphy spent his entire career in Houston and even though he failed to win a Championship he still managed to drive the team -alongside Moses Malone- to a 1981 Finals showdown against the Boston Celtics who had a few up and comers you might recognize, such as: Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish and Nate Archibald.
Murphy’s best season as a Rocket registers at 21 Points, 7.3 Assists and 1.8 Steals and for a decade he had the distinction of being the Rockets All-time leader in scoring until Hakeem Olajuwon shattered that record in 1994.
His Best moment With the Rockets – Take a look at this 42 Points effort against the San Antonio Spurs in Game 7 of the Western Conference SemiFinals 1981:
That’s all for now, but make sure to come back next week when we’ll unveil Rockets Best Player on the Most Stacked Position of the Franchise History: Shooting Guard.
Make sure you catch up on our entire Team Preview Series, our Houston Rockets Player Profile Series as well as our SCS Round Table Sessions. Start your morning with SCS Rocket Science Daily and visit us throughout the day to keep abreast of all your Houston Rockets news and updates.