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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Sam Cassell (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Sam Cassell (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

169. . . Point Guard. Sam Cassell. 28


  • Three seasons with the Rockets (1993-96)

  • Averaged 10.1 points and 4.2 assists per game

  • 2x NBA Champion with the Rockets

Sam Cassell was a first-round pick in 1993 by a Rockets team that was already quite good.

Houston had won 55 games and lost in the second round of the playoffs the year prior. Cassell was added to help shore up the bench. He did exactly that, helping the Rockets win 58 games and the NBA title in 1994.

Cassell contributed 6.7 points and 2.9 assists per game over 66 contests (six starts) and 17 minutes per game. In his second year, Cassell bumped his number up to 9.5 points and 4.9 assists in 23 minutes per game. The Rockets won back-to-back titles, and Cassell had himself a place in Rockets lore.

In 1995-96, Cassell only saw his playing time increase incrementally to 27.6 minutes per game, but his production skyrocketed to 14.5 points per game on 43.9 percent shooting from the floor and 34.8 percent from beyond the arc. The Rockets won 48 games that year and lost in the second round of the playoffs.

That summer, Cassell was included in a trade with the Phoenix Suns that brought Hall of Famer Charles Barkley to Houston. Cassell only played there until December, when he was shipped to the Dallas Mavericks in the Jason Kidd trade. Then, two months later, Cassell was moved to the then-New Jersey Nets.

Less than two years later, Cassell was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks, where he played for parts of five seasons before going to the Minnesota Timberwolves, where he earned his lone All-Star appearance, coming at the ripe old age of 34. He finished his career with stints with the Los Angeles Clippers and the Boston Celtics.

Cassell bounced around quite a bit in his career, but was an immediate impact player on back-to-back title-winning teams. That’s more than enough to get him a prime spot in the collective memories of die-hard Rockets fans.

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