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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Hakeem Olajuwon, Houston Rockets
Hakeem Olajuwon / Mike Powell/Getty Images

Houston Rockets: Where player efficiency rating ranks Hakeem Olajuwon All-Time

Player efficiency rating was created by John Hollinger and is weighted to make the league average PER 15. Hollinger freely admits that the metric doesn’t do a great job of capturing defense, which, in theory, might not fully capture Olajuwon’s total contributions. However, let’s see where Olajuwon ranks. 

Hakeem Olajuwon All-Time Ranks

PER total: 23.6 PER rank: 19

PER playoff total: 25.7 PER playoff rank: 6

Once again, PER sees Olajuwon as one of the top-20 players of All-Time. However, it’s his playoff PER where he really stands out. Olajuwon is the sixth greatest playoff performer according to PER. Rockets fans old enough to remember the two title teams likely didn’t flinch when they saw that, but it once again highlights Olajuwon’s uncanny ability to turn it on in the playoffs. 

Houston Rockets: Where Hakeem Olajuwon ranks all-time

Now, let’s take all of the rankings and see where Olajuwon ends up. If you take his regular season and playoff metrics and average them, Olajuwon’s ends up with an All-Time ranking of 20.1. However, if you just look at his regular-season metrics his average rank is 26.8, but his average playoff rank is 13.4.

Let’s leave it at this. If you think the playoffs are the most important factor in ranking a player’s entire career, then Hakeem has a real case to be called the 15th greatest player of all time. If you believe that regular-season performance should win the day, as it makes up the bulk of a player’s career, then Hakeem looks more like the 25th best player ever. I think it’s best to split the difference. All of the data has been pointing to it. Hakeem Olajuwon is the 20th greatest player in basketball history. 

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