15 players the Rockets landed past their prime

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12. Nene

Nene is one of the few players on this list who never flashed star potential. But make no mistake about it, he was still a very good player.

Especially early in his career.

Nene was selected with the seventh overall pick in the 2002 NBA Draft by the New York Knicks, who later traded him to the Denver Nuggets, where Nene starred for 10 seasons in total.

The Brazilian big man averaged 12.4 points and 7 rebounds during his Nuggets career and was incredibly efficient from the floor, posting 60 percent true shooting on a number of occasions. Nene even led the league in field goal percentage in 2010-11. 

The 6'11 big man continued his steady production after being traded to the Washington Wizards, averaging 11.8 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 51.1 percent from the field. However, by the time the Rockets landed him, he was 34-years-old and well past his prime.

Nene's first season in Houston was his best one, as he averaged 9.1 points on a gaudy 61.7 percent from the field - a career-best. Nene turned the clock back in the opening round of the 2017 playoffs, scoring 28 points and 10 rebounds on a perfect 12-for-12 in Game 4 against the Oklahoma City Thunder. 

Unfortunately, the Rockets didn't see much more of that from him, as he later became a human trade exception for the front office. That was the plan, at least.