Houston Rockets: Top 5 coaches in franchise history

Anthony Duckett
Head coach Rudy Tomjanovich of the Houston Rockets (Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Head coach Rudy Tomjanovich of the Houston Rockets (Robert Laberge/Getty Images) /
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Coach Rudy Tomjanovich of Houston Rockets
Coach Rudy Tomjanovich of Houston Rockets Photo Credit Jeff Gross /

1. Rudy Tomjanovich

Rudy Tomjanovich’s ranking atop this list goes without saying. For one, he’s not only the winningest coach in Rockets history, but he’s one of the top 29 coaches in NBA history, based on total wins alone.

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Tomjanovich has won a franchise best 503 games and also has a playoff win percentage of 56.7 percent. But above all else, Tomjanovich led the Rockets to two NBA championships, which the Rockets won in 1994 and 1995. Those have been the only championships in franchise history. In fact, the Rockets were the only team to win several titles during the 1990s other than the Chicago Bulls. That era was viewed by many as the “golden days” of the NBA, when the league had significantly more parity, which certainly will change this year.

Tomjanovich took over the Rockets following a season in which they went 42-40 and finished in the lottery. However in Rudy T’s first season, the Rockets went 55-27 and won the division, which made Tomjanovich the first coach at the time to lead his team from the lottery to division title. That year the Rockets would ultimately make it to the Conference Semifinals and fall to the Seattle Supersonics in 7 games. However, the second season in which the Rockets won the title, the Rockets entered the playoffs as a sixth seed, making them the lowest seed to ever win the championship.

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Although Tomjanovich’s win percentage of 55.9 percent ranks fourth best in team history, his championships rank him atop this list. Interestingly enough, Tomjanovich never won a Coach of the Year award.