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 Rodney McCray (Photo by Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images)
Houston Rockets Rodney McCray (Photo by Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images) /

169. . . Small Forward. Rodney McCray. 15


  • Five seasons with the Rockets (1983-88)

  • Averaged 12.5 points and 6.7 rebounds per game

Rodney McCray was the No. 3 overall pick by the Rockets in 1983. He played in 79 games as a rookie, starting 36 and averaging 10.8 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.

The next year, however, he became the full-time starter. McCray started all 82 games for Houston in both 1984-85 and 1985-86. Then, 81 games the following year and 80 more in his last year with the Rockets.

McCray’s peak performing years were both 14.4 points per game, with one coming in 1984-85 and one in 1986-86. Despite only standing 6-foot-7, McCray shot the ball at an impressive 52.2 percent clip while in a Rockets uniform, including 55.2 percent in the second of his two career-best scoring seasons.

The Rockets only won 28 games in McCray’s rookie season but improved to 48 wins and a playoff berth the following year and 51 wins and an NBA Finals loss the following season.

McCray was traded along with Jim Petersen to the Sacramento Kings just prior to the 1988-89 season. He spent two seasons in Sacramento before spending two years with the Dallas Mavericks and a final campaign with the Chicago Bulls in 1992-93 at age 31.

McCray is yet another example of the Rockets franchise historically drafting well, and for the most part, keeping their fresh, young talent for multiple years at a time. Upon leaving the Rockets, McCray saw his career numbers dip, save for a brief uptick during one year in Sacramento.

But overall, McCray was much less efficient and overall less effective once leaving the Rockets organization.

Houston Rockets Charles Barkley (Photo by Sporting News via Getty Images)
Houston Rockets Charles Barkley (Photo by Sporting News via Getty Images) /

. . Power Forward. Charles Barkley. 14. 169


  • Four seasons with the Rockets (1996-2000)

  • Averaged 16.5 points and 12.2 rebounds per game

  • 1x All-Star with the Rockets

Charles Barkley had a long, illustrious Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame career that started with eight fantastic seasons with the Philadelphia 76ers and was followed by four largely successful seasons with the Phoenix Suns.

Then, Barkley capped his career with four seasons in Houston. It included an All-Star campaign right out of the gate in 1996-97, when Barkley averaged 19.2 points and 13.5 rebounds, the latter number being his second-best rebounding number in his career.

But injuries and weight issues began to catch up with Barkley, and he only managed to stay on the court for 53 games that year. He only played in 68 games the year after that, and his numbers dipped to 15.2 points and 11.7 rebounds per game.

Then, Barkley played in 42 games in the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season, and only 20 games in 1999-2000 before calling it a career.

Barkley may have been a rapidly declining shell of himself during the Rockets part of his career. However, “The Round Mound of Rebound” still managed to make an All-Star team and help the Rockets to 57 wins and a Western Conference Finals berth in 1996-97, his first season in Houston.

Despite modest team success over the next three seasons, the impressive production that Barkley was able to maintain — when on the court, at least — over the final four years of his career was impressive nonetheless.

Barkley retired after his age-36 season and continues to delight Rockets fans with his insightful commentary on TNT.

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