The 8 Greatest Rockets in history, ranked by Player Efficiency Rating (PER)

Houston Rockets v San Antonio Spurs
Houston Rockets v San Antonio Spurs / Ronald Cortes/GettyImages
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5. Charles Barkley- 22.2

In 1996, the Houston Rockets made an aggressive attempt to land Charles Barkley, who was coming off a 1995-96 campaign that saw him average 23.2 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 3.7 assists. The Rockets had been engaged in negotiations with the Suns’ brass quite extensively, and offered multiple packages for the former MVP.

Eventually, they got their guy.

Barkley was clearly not the same player, but he was still very effective. Especially in year one, posting averages of 19.2 points, 13.5 rebounds, and 4.7 assists per contest, the latter of which being the second-best mark in his career.

The Rockets finished with the third-seed in the West and made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals, but were unable to stave off the Utah Jazz. The series ended in six games, on a key mistake from Barkley that freed up John Stockton, allowing him to hit essentially a walk-off season-ending 3-pointer.

This gaffe prevented the long-awaited NBA Finals match-up between the Rockets’ Hakeem Olajuwon and the Chicago Bulls’ Michael Jordan.

The Rockets would never quite come as close to a title with Barkley, as they were eliminated in the first round in two of Barkley’s final seasons, while missing the playoffs entirely in his last year.

Barkley would regress in each of the next three seasons, although he still averaged a double-double and made right around 48 percent of his shots each year.

All told, Barkley averaged 16.5 points, 12.2 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 48.2 percent from the field in four seasons in the Space City.