Houston Rockets Stats

The Rockets franchise began its existence before the 1967-68 season, coming into the NBA as an expansion team. The team has had many highs and lows, with several Hall of Fame players having some of their best years playing for the team. Keep reading below for more Houston Rockets Stats.

Unfortunately, the team is currently going through one of those lows, with a 2020-21 season that saw it finish in last place in the Western Conference after eight consecutive playoff appearances. The team is hoping its young core will grow together quickly and become a postseason contender again, but it will take a lot to get back to the franchise’s greatest heights.

Houston Rockets Standings

Throughout their history, the Houston Rockets have exemplified a spirit of resilience and adaptation, facing various challenges and evolving with the times. This legacy is not just reflected in their standings but also in their ability to continuously reinvent themselves. From the era of Malone and Olajuwon to the dynamic gameplay of Harden, the Rockets have shown a unique capacity to rebuild and re-strategize.

This trait ensures that regardless of their current standing, they remain a team with a potential for resurgence. The Rockets’ journey through different eras of basketball, adapting to new styles of play and league dynamics, is a testament to their enduring spirit. Fans and analysts alike watch the standings not just for their current position but for signs of the Rockets’ next evolutionary step in the ever-changing landscape of the NBA.

Houston Rockets History

The Rockets started in San Diego, joining the NBA as an expansion team for the 1967-68 campaign. The team struggled from the get-go, earning the No. 1 overall pick after their first season and selecting Elvin Hayes out of Houston. Other franchise mainstays like Rudy Tomjanovich and Calvin Murphy were added over the years as well, but in 1971, the team moved to Houston, citing financial struggles in their former home.

The team had little success in its initial seasons in Houston, but the trade for Moses Malone early in the 1976-77 season was a major turning point for the franchise. Malone helped the team to its first division title and a spot in the Eastern Conference finals, where they lost to the Philadelphia 76ers. Two seasons later, Malone was named the NBA MVP, though the team lost in the first round of the playoffs.

In 1979-80, the Rockets were swept by the Boston Celtics in the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, but the team was realigned to the Western Conference prior to the next season. Despite a losing regular-season record of 40-42, Houston upset the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the playoffs, then improbably advanced to the NBA Finals for the first time, falling for the second year in a row to the Celtics in six games.

Malone won the NBA MVP award again in 1981-82, but the Rockets fell in the first round of the playoffs, and the center-left as a free agent in the offseason. A 14-win campaign in 1982-83 gave Houston a shot at the No. 1 pick in the draft, and the Rockets got lucky, earning the right to draft center Ralph Sampson. Sampson was the Rookie of the Year in 1983-84, but Houston’s record didn’t get much better, and the franchise got lucky again, winning the coin flip to select No. 1 in the 1984 draft.

In one of the greatest drafts in NBA history, the Rockets made Houston center Akeem (later Hakeem) Olajuwon the top pick, deciding to try a Twin Towers approach of pairing Olajuwon with Sampson. The concept worked very well, as the team reached the NBA Finals for the second time in just the second season of the pairing, falling to the Celtics in six games.

Injuries caused Sampson to miss much of the following season, and he was traded to the Golden State Warriors midway through the 1987-88 campaign, leaving Olajuwon to try to get Houston to the promised land. Despite multiple playoff appearances, the Rockets were unable to advance in the postseason, then missed the playoffs in 1991-92, which saw Tomjanovich take over as head coach during the season.

Things changed immediately under Tomjanovich, though, with Olajuwon winning Defensive Player of the Year in 1992-93, then earning the honor again in 1993-94, as well as the NBA MVP award, as the Rockets advanced to the NBA Finals and defeated the New York Knicks in seven games for the first title in franchise history.

The following year, despite trading for All-Star guard Clyde Drexler midway through the campaign, the team struggled in the regular season, going into the playoffs as the No. 6 seed in the West. But the team again advanced to the NBA Finals despite not holding home-court advantage in any series, then swept the Orlando Magic in four games for its second straight league championship.

The team continued to contend in the West, advancing to the 1997 Western Conference finals, but with Olajuwon growing older, the team started making moves to win now, acquiring veterans Charles Barkley and Scottie Pippen in the late 1990s, though their presence didn’t help the team’s fortunes in the postseason. Houston did have co-Rookie of the Year Steve Francis in 1999-2000, but it missed the playoffs for the first time in eight seasons.

The 2002 NBA Draft brought another No. 1 overall pick, and the Rockets went with 7-4 big man Yao Ming from China. Despite Yao, Francis, and the acquisition of high-scoring guard Tracy McGrady, the Rockets were unable to make much headway in the postseason, falling in the first round in four straight appearances.

After three straight years out of the postseason, the Rockets made a huge move in the summer of 2012, acquiring guard James Harden from the Oklahoma City Thunder. Harden made an immediate impact, with the team getting back to the playoffs in his first season. The team got to the Western Conference finals before losing to the Golden State Warriors in 2015.

The addition of guard Chris Paul made the team even more dangerous, and in 2017-18, Harden won the NBA MVP and the Rockets again faced the Warriors in the West finals, falling in seven games. Unfortunately, despite bringing in Russell Westbrook in a trade for Paul prior to the 2019-20 campaign, Houston could match that feat again with Harden, and he and Westbrook were dealt away, leaving the Rockets to try to rebuild again.

Houston Rockets Championships

The Houston Rockets have won two NBA titles, earning back-to-back championships in the mid-1990s. The first came in the 1993-94 season, as Houston advanced to the NBA Finals for the third time and faced the New York Knicks in a classic seven-game series. The Rockets fell behind 3-2 but closed out the series with a pair of home wins to earn the title. Hakeem Olajuwon was named the Finals MVP after averaging 26.9 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 3.9 blocks in the series.

The following season, Houston struggled in the regular season, trading for All-Star Clyde Drexler at the trade deadline to try to shake things up a bit. Despite being the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference, the Rockets won a five-game series over the Utah Jazz in the first round, then a seven-game series against the Phoenix Suns in the second round, winning both deciding contests on the road. A win over the San Antonio Spurs in the West finals matched the Rockets with the Orlando Magic in the NBA Finals. Houston swept the young Magic in four games, with Olajuwon again earning Finals MVP honors.

The team has won the Western Conference two other times, advancing to the 1981 and 1986 NBA Finals. Both times, the Rockets faced the Boston Celtics, and both times, they fell to the storied franchise in six games.

The franchise has won eight division titles over its history, starting with a Central Division title in 1976-77. The Rockets were shifted to the Western Conference and the Midwest Division prior to the 1980-81 campaign and won the division crown three times while in that division (1985-86, 1992-93, 1993-94). Houston was moved to the Southwest Division in 2004 and has won the division title four times (2014-15, 2017-18, 2018-19, 2019-20).

Important Team Events

The Rockets have had a few big moves over the years that have led to the success of the team. One of the biggest was acquiring Moses Malone from the Buffalo Braves early in the 1976-77 season after Malone was unhappy with his playing time with the Braves. Malone developed into a two-time league MVP with the Rockets, leading the team to the 1981 NBA Finals.

The 1984 NBA Draft had one of the greatest draft classes in league history, and the Rockets were sold on their No. 1 pick, Akeem Olajuwon, despite having taken another center, Ralph Sampson, the previous year at No. 1. The Rockets could have taken Michael Jordan, who became one of the greatest players in NBA history, but they also could have taken Sam Bowie, who is considered one of the biggest busts of all-time. Taking Olajuwon helped the Rockets reach three NBA Finals and win two league championships.

Houston took a chance on acquiring James Harden from the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2012 offseason, making him the focus of the team after he had come off the bench for much of his career with the Thunder. Harden immediately thrived, earning league MVP honors in 2017-18 and taking Houston to the Western Conference finals twice.

Houston Rockets Top Players

The top player in the history of the Rockets franchise has to be Hakeem Olajuwon, the man who led the team to two NBA titles and finished his time with Houston as the franchise’s leading scorer. Olajuwon is also still the all-time leader in games, minutes played, rebounds and blocks. Olajuwon won the NBA MVP award in 1993-94, was Defensive Player of the Year twice, and earned All-NBA honors 12 times, including six first-team accolades.

Before Olawjuon, the best big man in franchise history was Moses Malone, who was a terror in the paint for any opponent. Malone spent five-plus seasons with Houston and earned two NBA MVP awards, led the NBA in rebounding three times, and helped the team to its first NBA Finals appearance in 1981. Malone averaged 24.0 points and 15.0 rebounds during his Rockets career.

Guard James Harden is the third Rockets player to win the NBA MVP award, earning the honor in 2017-18. Harden is the franchise’s all-time leader in three-pointers and free throws and averaged 29.6 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 7.7 assists during his time with the Rockets.

Top Coaches

Both as a player and a coach with the Rockets, Rudy Tomjanovich made his mark on the Rockets franchise, but it was his time on the bench that stands out the most. Tomjanovich is the all-time leader in regular-season and playoff wins for Houston, leading the team to its only two NBA titles in 1993-94 and 1994-95.

Mike D’Antoni spent four seasons as head coach of the Rockets, but he has the second-most regular-season wins in franchise history and led the team to the postseason in each of those campaigns. D’Antoni earned NBA Coach of the Year honors in 2016-17 for leading a 14-win improvement for the Rockets in his first season on the bench. If you love sports and want more sports betting information follow us as @InsidersBetDig on Twitter and sign up to our mailing list for free betting picks.

Houston Rockets FAQs

Hakeem Olajuwon scored 26,511 points during his 17 seasons with the Rockets, the most in franchise history.

A Rockets player has won the NBA MVP award four times: Moses Malone in 1978-79 and 1981-82, Hakeem Olajuwon in 1993-94, and James Harden in 2017-18.

The Rockets won back-to-back NBA titles in 1993-94 and 1994-95, the only league championships for the franchise.

Rudy Tomjanovich won 503 regular-season games in his 11-plus seasons as the coach of the Rockets, the most in franchise history.

The Rockets have held the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft five times, taking Elvin Hayes (1968), John Lucas (1976), Akeem Olajuwon (1984), Ralph Sampson (1985) and Yao Ming (2002).

Latest NBA News

BetUS Banner IBD

BetUS Banner IBD