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 James Harden (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Houston Rockets James Harden (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

169. . . Guard. James Harden. 2


  • Eight seasons with the Rockets (2012-present)

  • Averaging 29.6 points, 7.7 assists, and 6.9 rebounds per game

  • 8x All-Star and 1x MVP with the Rockets

After being acquired from the Oklahoma City Thunder for a modest return as the Thunder were working under a luxury tax crunch, Harden took off in 2012-13, earning an All-Star bid in his first season as a full-time starter.

Harden averaged 25.9 points, 5.8 assists, and 4.9 rebounds that season, and continued to improve incrementally over the next few seasons.

In 2016-17, Harden was asked to move to the point guard spot and did so with outstanding results, averaging a dynamic double-double with 29.1 points and 11.2 assists per game. The team won 55 games before falling to the San Antonio Spurs in the second round of the playoffs.

After the Rockets acquired Chris Paul during the summer, Harden slid back over to shooting guard and ramped up his scoring even more. The Rockets won 65 games and grabbed the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference.

They made it all the way to the Conference Finals before losing in seven games to the eventual champion Golden State Warriors. A nagging injury to Paul certainly played a hand in the slip-up as it forced the Rockets to adjust how they had played all season to that point.

Harden led the league in scoring at 30.4 points per game and was named the league’s Most Valuable Player, and has more than carried that success into the 2018-19 campaign.

Cut to the end of the 2020 and Harden just finished his third consecutive season leading the league in scoring with 34.3 points per game. James is only chasing one man for the crown of greatest Rocket of all time now.

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