Jan 23, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Louisville Cardinals center Chinanu Onuaku (32) reacts to a referee against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the second half at McCamish Pavilion. Louisville defeated Georgia Tech 75-71. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Without a 2016 first round draft pick the Houston Rockets hope to strike gold with their second round selections once again. Will they end up making the list of top 5 second rounders in franchise history.
The NBA throughout its history is packed with examples of players selected in the second round of Draft Night that went on to thrive and succeed in the league. Some of them became important role players and starters for their teams but there are many cases in which those players went on to became All-Stars and even Hall-of-Famers.
Notable second round players currently in the league range from All-Stars Draymond Green and Isaiah Thomas to Monta Ellis, DeAndre Jordan and even Patrick Beverley. The Naismith Basketball Hall-of-Fame is also blessed with legendary second Rounders like Nate Archibald, Dennis Rodman and Alex English.
The Houston Rockets likewise have their history with the late picks. Since the San Diego years the team has managed to find players with great ability and skills despite selecting in the second round. Thus the level of talent that will be showcased in this article ranges from Hall-of-Famers to competent starters and role players.
This article will reflect on some of the best second rounders ever drafted by the Texan team.
Next: Number Five: A Competent Role Player
Apr 5, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Carl Landry (7) reacts to his three pointer against the New Orleans Pelicans during the second half at Wells Fargo Center. The Philadelphia 76ers won 107-93. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Number 5. Carl Landry
- 2007 NBA Draft: 2nd Round – 31st Overall* – Purdue University
- Position: Power Forward
- 2008 NBA All-Rookie Second Team
- 3 Seasons with the Houston Rockets
- Rockets Stat Line: 11.2 points per game, 5.1 rebounds per game
- Career Stat Line: 10.8 points per game, 4.9 rebounds per game
* Selected by the Seattle Super Sonics and traded to the Rockets on Draft Night
We start off with Carl Landry who might be a very unappealing choice for Red Nation but truthfully Landry was a big piece of Rockets historic 22-game winning streak in the 2007-2008 Regular season which was also his rookie season.
That year as a rookie Landry saw limited action and played only 16 minutes per night but still managed to average a valuable 8.1 points and 4.9 rebounds while also leading the team in FG% shooting 61.6% from the field.
The following season Landry was instrumental for the Rockets in the Playoffs in one of the most valiant efforts from the team in franchise history. It was particularly endearing to myself when the Rockets took future champions Los Angeles Lakers to Game 7 without their two biggest stars Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady.
Finally in his third year with the Houston Rockets Landry was scoring over 16 points per game off the bench in just 27 minutes of playing time. That same year he got traded to the Sacramento Kings.
As a player Landry is known for his athleticism and post-up moves despite being undersized. The power forward is also a decent defensive player who chases the boards and clogs the lanes against drives from opponents.
Carl Landry currently plays for the Philadelphia 76ers.
Next: Number Four: Moses Malone Sidekick
Number 4. Robert Reid
- 1977 NBA Draft: 2nd Round – 40th Overall – St. Mary’s University, Texas
- Position: Small Forward
- 10 Seasons with the Houston Rockets
- Rockets Stat Line: 11.6 points per game, 4.9 rebounds per game, 3.0 assists per game, 1.2 steals per game
- Career Stat Line: 11.4 points per game, 4.5 rebounds per game, 2.7 assists per game
Even though his splits looks unassuming Robert Reid was one of the leaders of a Houston Rockets team that featured Calvin Murphy and Moses Malone. In fact in the 1980-1981 regular season, Robert Reid registered some amazing averages, for example 15.9 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 4.2 APG and 2.0 SPG. The Rockets went all the way to the Finals that year only to be defeated by the Celtics. We’ll circle back to this moment a few pages ahead.
As an aside a couple months ago Reid slammed James Harden for the Houston Rockets weak campaign this season.
In his first stint with the Rockets the coach left Rudy T on the bench going with Reid and was mainly reputable for his defensive game and as a great rebounder despite being only 6’8”.
Reid was a very competent jump shooter from the top of the key and due to his athleticism was also a great fast break and transition player.
He retired in 1982 for religious reasons only to be brought back a year later for a second 5-year stint with the Texan team. Reid retired for good in 1992 after playing in the CBA.
Next: Number Three: Ten Three-Pointers in One Half
Oct 7, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Chandler Parsons (25) drives against Houston Rockets guard Nick Johnson (3) at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Number 3. Chandler Parsons
- 2011 NBA Draft: 2nd Round – 38th Overall – University of Florida
- Position: Small Forward
- 2012 NBA All-Rookie Second Team
- 3 Seasons with the Houston Rockets
- Rockets Stat Line: 14.1 points per game, 5.2 rebounds per game, 3.3 assists per game, 1.1 steals per game
- Career Stat Line: 14.3 points per game, 5.1 rebounds per game, 3.0 assists per game, 1.0 steals per game
One of the only two players in this list still active today, opinions regarding Parsons in H-Town vary. And if you are a Houston Rockets fan chances are you don’t really like Chandler Parsons that much.
Much of the fans ire actually derives from the big contract Chandler Parsons signed with regional rivals Dallas Mavericks when Parsons was a Restricted Free Agent. The controversy is huge but there’s a general understanding that the Rockets did the right thing that time by parting ways with Chandler Parsons and signing the more experienced and defensive oriented Trevor Ariza.
Still it’s hard to argue with numbers. Chandler Parsons is a valuable and useful player for any team in this league. In his time with the Rockets Parsons registered great numbers and in fact even improved on those numbers come Playoff time, for example in the 2013-2014 Season when Parsons averaged 16.6 PPG and later in the Playoffs increased to 19.3 PPG.
A reliable three point shooter, ball-handler and aggressive driver especially for his size – Parsons is a 6’10” small forward – his big shortcoming is his defense although the impact has waned since he first started in Houston.
After leaving Red Nation Parsons had two injury-ridden years with the Dallas Mavericks and is now looking to resume his career with the Memphis Grizzlies.
Next: Number Two: The Cat
Number 2. Cuttino Mobley
- 1998 NBA Draft: 2nd Round – 41st Overall – University of Rhode Island
- Position: Shooting Guard
- 1999 NBA All-Rookie Second Team
- 6 Seasons with the Houston Rockets
- Rockets Stat Line: 17.1 points per game, 4.0 rebounds per game, 1.2 steals per game, 37.5 minutes per game
- Career Stat Line: 16.0 points per game, 3.9 rebounds per game, 2.7 assists per game, 1.2 steals per game, 37 minutes per game
The Cat, Cuttino Mobley in many ways was an underappreciated player in his time in Houston. Mostly due to being part of teams in the late 90’s and early 2000’s that were unable to achieve anything more than two first round eliminations in the playoffs.
Nevertheless Mobley joined by Steve Francis made one of the most unforgettable scoring backcourts of Houston Rockets history. Together Franchise and the Cat averaged over 42 points per night in their best regular season (2001-2002). Mobley was also famous for logging huge minutes every night and in fact played for over 40 minutes in three of his six seasons in Houston.
As a player Mobley was a remarkable offensive player, particularly as a spot up shooter and in transition where he excelled thanks to his quickness. He also had a remarkable fade away jumper from the post position.
Next: Number One: The Hall of Famer
May 12, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; TV commentator Calvin Murphy looks on before the Los Angeles Clippers played the Houston Rockets in game five of the second round of the NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center. Rockets won 124 to 103. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Number 1. Calvin Murphy
- 1970 NBA Draft: 2nd Round – 18th Overall* – Niagara University
- Position: Point Guard
- Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer (1993)
- 1979 NBA All-Star
- No. 23 Retired by the Rockets
- Played his Whole 13-Year Career with the Rockets – 1002 Games Played
- Stat Line: 17.9 points per game, 4.4 assists per game, 1.5 steals per game
*Selected by the San Diego Rockets
It really doesn’t even come close. The Houston Rockets former color commentator Calvin Murphy is far and away one of the best players in the entire franchise history, let alone the best second rounder of this bunch.
The shortest player ever to be inducted in the Naismith Hall of Fame was actually selected by the San Diego Rockets the year before it became the Houston Rockets and then played his entire career with the Texan Team.
Through his years in H-town Calvin Murphy shared the spotlights with Moses Malone and together they were able to take the Rockets to the 1980-1981 NBA Finals where they were stopped by Larry Bird, Robert Parish, Kevin McHale and the Boston Celtics.
Widely regarded as one of the best free-throw shooters in the history of the game, Murphy also made a name for himself due to his defensive skills and quickness handling the ball and finishing plays – accomplishing all that with a 5’9” height disadvantage.
Calvin Murphy also held the Rockets all-time leading scoring record until the emergence of Hakeem Olajuwon. His No. 23 Jersey was retired by H-Town after Murphy decided to call it quits in 1983 but he’s still a widely beloved and respected person inside the Rockets organization and among fans.
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