Shooting Guard, rockets
- Eight seasons with the Rockets (1971-79)
- Averaged 14 points and 4.3 assists per game
Mike Newlin was a second-round draft pick in 1971 and was immediately one of the key members of the first Rockets team to play in Houston.
Newlin appeared in all 82 games as a rookie, but only averaged 7.6 points in 18.2 minutes per game, as the Rockets finished the season with a 34-48 record.
In his second season, however, Newlin became a regular starter and averaged at least 32 minutes per game over the next four seasons. In year two, he averaged 17 points per game on 44.3 percent shooting from the floor, as the team stagnated, winning only 33 games.
The next year wasn’t any better, with the Rockets managing 32 wins while Newlin’s per-game scoring average increased to 18.4.
Outside of a bump in playing time in 1975-76 that saw him average 18.6 points per game on an impressive 50.7 percent shooting, Newlin’s playing time and overall production decreased just slightly as the team improved. The Rockets went 41-41 and made the playoffs in 1975. By 1977, they won 49 games and made it to the conference finals before losing.
The 1978-79 campaign was Newlin’s last in Houston. He played his age-31 and age-32 seasons with the then-New Jersey Nets and finished his career after spending the 1981-82 season with the New York Knicks.
Newlin was one of the high-scorers on the first series of teams that played in Houston and is definitely a memorable figure for those generations. That’s enough for No. 29 on this list.