Rockets History

Houston Rockets: Where Hakeem Olajuwon ranks All-Time

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Hakeem Olajuwon, Houston Rockets
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Houston Rockets: Where value over a replacement player ranks Hakeem Olajuwon All-Time

Value over a replacement player (VORP) is calculated based upon a player’s box plus/minus (BPM) with playing time factored in. Essentially, VORP is win shares and BPM is win shares per 48 minutes. VORP and BPM diverge from win shares in two crucial ways. The metric values high-volume scoring more than win shares and it doesn’t give players such a boost for rebounding numbers. The metric, in many respects, is far better than win shares, but the data only goes back to the 1973-74 season. 

Hakeem Olajuwon All-Time Ranks

VORP total: 74.4 VORP rank: 17

VORP playoff total: 12.87 VORP playoff rank: 13

BPM total: 4.66 BPM rank: 28

BPM playoff total: 6.89 BPM playoff rank: 11

Once again, VORP and BPM say very similar things about Olajuwon as win shares did. While his rankings are a bit better, that’s because the data doesn’t fully capture Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Robertson, and Bill Russell. According to VORP, Olajuwon has been the 17th best player since 1973 and the 13th best playoff performer. Olajuwon’s regular-season BPM only comes in at 28th, but his playoff BPM rank of 11th shows just how good he was in his prime. 

Once again if we lop off Olajuwon’s final five seasons, his BPM improves to 5.2 and tied for 20th All-Time. And if we pretend he never played for the Raptors it would improve to 4.8 and move him up a spot to 27th All-Time. Taking into account that VORP and BPM only measure the past 47 seasons, it’s reasonable to bump Olajuwon back a few spots in each of these rankings. His average ranking across the four metrics is 17.25, so, once again, calling him around the 20th greatest player of All-Time looks to be what the metrics are telling us. 

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