Houston Rockets: 30 Greatest players in franchise history

By Ben Beecken
Houston Rockets Hakeem Olajuwon, Kenny Smith, Robert Horry, Vernon Maxwell, Otis Thorpe (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Houston Rockets Hakeem Olajuwon, Kenny Smith, Robert Horry, Vernon Maxwell, Otis Thorpe (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Houston Rockets Stu Lantz (Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)
Houston Rockets Stu Lantz (Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images) /

18. 169. . . Guard. Stu Lantz


  • Four seasons with the Rockets (1968-72)

  • Averaged 15.6 points and 3.9 rebounds per game

Stu Lantz joined the then-San Diego Rockets following their inaugural season of 1967-68. He spent three years in San Diego, including an impressive 1969-70 season that saw Lantz score a career-best 20.6 points per game, before heading east to Houston.

In his lone year with the Rockets in Texas, Lantz put up 18.5 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.2 assists in 38.2 minutes per game.

While Lantz himself was putting up impressive numbers, his team was struggling.

Over the course of his career with the franchise, the Rockets won 37, 27, 40 and 34 games, never making the playoffs with Lantz on the team.

Strangely, Lantz’ scoring numbers fell off a cliff following his final year in Houston. Lantz joined the Detroit Pistons for the 1972-73 season and saw his numbers plummet to 8.9 points and 2.3 rebounds per game.

The ensuing seasons brought more of the same, including a season split between the then-New Orleans Jazz and the Los Angeles Lakers before his final year came with the purple and gold in 1975-76. Lantz averaged just 4.7 points and 1.9 rebounds in 16.1 minutes per game over 53 contests in that last season with the Lakers.

Lantz is one of the rare cases of a player who was clearly above-average, but only for a medium amount of time. Plus, the team success was modest, so there’s an argument to be made that perhaps Lantz should be ranked a bit lower.

But overall, he was a key member of some of the first Rockets teams ever and had impressive career averages in a Rockets uniform. And that gets him to No. 18 on this list.

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