A look back at the Houston Rockets career of former great Clyde Drexler

Houston Rockets Clyde Drexler (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
Houston Rockets Clyde Drexler (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Former Houston Rockets’ great Clyde Drexler was a pivotal component of the Rockets’ second championship during the 1994-95 season.

The Houston Rockets acquired Clyde Drexler midway through the 1994-95 season in a trade with the Portland Trail Blazers and played a total of four full years with the team. Drexler was brought in to help the Rockets defend the title they won the previous year and be an effective second option to his University of Houston teammate Hakeem Olajuwon.

The results were immediate, as Drexler played 35 games in Houston and finished second on the team in scoring with 21.4 points per game during that span. In addition, Drexler’s 1.8 steals led the team and his 4.4 assists were second-most.

Drexler’s contributions that year were even more evident in the postseason, as he again finished second on the team in scoring, averaging 20.5 points per game and led the team in steals and assists during the 1995 playoffs.

During the 1995 NBA Finals, Drexler was even better, increasing his scoring, rebounding and assist numbers to 21.5 points per game, 9.5 rebounds and 6.8 assists. Drexler was the facilitator for the Rockets during the Finals, as he led the team in assists yet again and was a big reason why the Rockets were able to repeat as champions.

During Drexler’s second season, which was essentially his first full season with the Rockets, he made the All-Star team for the ninth time in his career. During that season, Drexler averaged 19.3 points and 7.2 rebounds per game, which were both second on the team.

In addition, he led the team in assists with 5.8 assists per game and helped the team win 48 games. The Rockets ultimately were defeated by the Seattle SuperSonics in the Western Conference Semifinals as Drexler led the team in scoring with 19.3 points per game during that series.

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During the 1996-97 season, Clyde The Glide made the All-Star team yet again, as he led the Rockets in steals and assists per game. The Rockets finished that season with 57 wins, which gave them the third seed in the Western Conference.

During the Rockets’ opening series against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Drexler led the team in assists with eight per game.

The Rockets were eventually defeated in the Western Conference Finals by the Utah Jazz during the 1997 playoffs, with Drexler finishing second on the team in scoring.

In Drexler’s final season, he led the Rockets in points, assists and steals per game. This marked the first and only full season Drexler outscored Olajuwon during the regular season. The Rockets only won 41 games, yet still snuck into the playoffs, earning the eighth seed. The Rockets were defeated in the first round, but Drexler led the team in assists during that series yet again.

Clyde Drexler currently leads the Rockets in all-time steals per game at 1.9 and ranks ninth in assists and points per game. Drexler finished his basketball career with the Rockets when he retired in 1998. In 2000, his jersey was retired by the team and he was inducted in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2004.

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While The Glide didn’t quite make our list of top 10 players in Rockets history, that just goes to show you the level of talent Houston has been fortunate enough to have over the years.