Houston Rockets greatest draft picks #2: Calvin Murphy
The Rockets’ 1970 draft is one of the greatest drafts in the history of the NBA and likely the best in franchise history. With the second pick of the draft the Rockets selected Rudy Tomjanovich who went on to make five All-Star teams and the Hall of Fame, but it’s the Rockets’ second pick who ranks as their second greatest draft pick.
Calvin Murphy was the less heralded of the two but his overall career was better than Tomjanovich, although the two were the best Rockets of all time in terms of overall production at the time of their retirements. Murphy was a model of consistency and spent his entire 13-year career with the Rockets which allowed him to etch his name throughout the franchise’s record book.
His steady production has him third in Rockets’ franchise history in win-shares with 84.1, which is even more impressive considering he was a second-round pick. He was selected with the 18th pick in the 1970 draft, as the NBA only had 17 teams back then Murphy was the first player selected in the second round but ended up with the third most win shares in the draft class.
Murphy was an incredibly efficient scorer for a perimeter player with a career field goal percentage of 48.2-percent (the league average shooting percentage was only 46.8-percent throughout his career) and one of the best free-throw shooters of his era as he converted 89.2-percent of his free throws for his career.
Murphy stood only 5’9 and has an argument to be considered the greatest player ever under six-foot. Somehow Murphy only managed to make one All-Star team even though he averaged 17.9 points, 4.4 assists, and 1.5 steals throughout his career and had five seasons averaging over 20 points per game.
When Murphy retired following the 1982-83 season he held a multitude of franchise records and at that point had an argument as the greatest Rocket ever, although Moses Malone’s six-year run would argue with that. All told, Murphy was an incredible pick considering where he was selected and the fact that he spent his entire career with the Rockets is what pushes him all the way to number two.
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