Rockets History

Houston Rockets: Where Hakeem Olajuwon ranks All-Time

Houston Rockets v Washington Bullets
Houston Rockets v Washington Bullets / Mitchell Layton/Getty Images
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The Houston Rockets have been a model franchise over the past 40 years. Since the 1980-81 season, they have finished with a losing record only seven times, made the playoffs 29 times, the Conference Finals seven times, the Finals four times, and won two titles. While other franchises have won more titles, the consistency that the Rockets have shown is uncanny. Think about it this way, over the past 40 years, there has been as good a chance that the Rockets have a losing record as they end up in the Conference Finals. 

Almost two decades of the Rockets’ consistent success can be attributed to one man: Hakeem Olajuwon. Over the course of his 17 seasons with the franchise, he earned 12 All-Star appearances, 12 All-NBA selections, nine All-Defensive team selections, two Defensive Player of the Year awards, two Finals MVPs, and the 1993-94 league MVP. Olajuwon’s accolades speak for themself and easily cement him as the greatest Rocket of all time. However, where does Olajuwon rank in the All-Time conversation?

Houston Rockets: How Hakeem Olajuwon was ranked

Trying to make a list of the greatest players of All-Time is incredibly difficult. Comparing players across eras causes all sorts of problems, some metrics over-value certain player types, some metrics only go back so far, and, most crucially, how do you weigh a player’s prime next to their whole body of work? Fortunately, there is a solution, that, while not perfect, strips out some of the problems with using one metric. The solution, use as many metrics as possible. 

Using win shares (WS), win shares per 48 minutes (WS/48), value over a replacement player (VORP), box plus/minus (BPM), and player efficiency rating (PER) I took the top-250 players in the history of the NBA and compared Hakeem next to them. This wide-ranging group of metrics hopefully will help compensate and cover for each other’s deficiencies. With WS and VORP capturing longevity and peak, while WS/48, BPM, and PER capture per game excellence. Now, onto the rankings. 

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