15 players the Rockets landed past their prime

Houston Rockets v Memphis Grizzlies
Houston Rockets v Memphis Grizzlies / Justin Ford/GettyImages
13 of 16

4. Charles Barkley

In 1996, the Houston Rockets added Charles Barkley, who had just posted averages of 23.2 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 3.7 assists in his final season with the Phoenix Suns. Barkley, Clyde Drexler, and Hakeem Olajuwon figured to form a respectable trio for the Rockets and were supposed to help them retool and replace Robert Horry, Sam Cassell, and Kenny Smith.

In Barkley's first season in Houston, he averaged 19.2 points, 13.5 rebounds, and 4.7 assists. Not bad.

The numbers don't always tell the full story, however, as Barkley had a mental lapse in the Western Conference Finals, which caused the Utah Jazz to advance to face Michael Jordan and the Bulls in the NBA Finals, as John Stockton ended the Rockets' season on their home floor.

Barkley's play regressed quite a bit in the following seasons, by his own standards, as he averaged 15.2 points, 11.7 rebounds, and 3.2 assists in 1997-98, 16.1 points, 12.3 rebounds, and 4.6 assists in 1998-99, and 14.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 3.2 assists in 1999-00.

The Rockets were first-round exists in two of the final three seasons and missed the playoffs entirely in Barkley's last year in Houston.