As the Houston Rockets season nears an end the franchise’s attention will turn to the upcoming 2021 NBA draft. The Rockets haven’t had a first-round pick since 2015 but head into this year’s draft armed with three first-round picks and a 52-percent chance to land a top-four pick.
After years of flipping draft picks to build a title-worthy roster, the Rockets will are primed to make up for lost time. It’s incredible but not a single player on this season’s roster was drafted by the franchise but that looks set to change as the franchise enters a rebuild.
If the Rockets were to land the first overall pick it would be the franchise’s sixth time selecting at the top of a draft and the first time since 2002 when they selected Yao Ming. While the Rockets have recently eschewed the draft altogether, the franchise, historically, has had its fair share of draft successes.
What the criteria are for the Houston Rockets greatest draft picks
Over the course of the franchise’s existence, the Rockets have made 270 selections. There have been Hall of Famers, busts, draft day trades, and everything in between. Deciding who were the best five selections came down to their production, their time spent with the franchise, and their draft position.
There are notable admissions and players who don’t qualify because they either weren’t selected in the draft by the Rockets, such as Steve Francis who was traded to the Rockets after being drafted by the Vancouver Grizzlies, or because their most productive years came in another team’s uniform, such as Sam Cassell whose best seasons came well after he left the Rockets. For the players who were drafted and performed at the peak of their powers for the Rockets, these are the definitive top-five picks in the history of the franchise.