NBA: All-Time Starting 5 of the Houston Rockets
The Rockets started as an expansion team in 1967 with San Diego serving as their home. However, the team lasted just four seasons in California as they relocated in Houston starting in the 1971-72 NBA season. With the duo of Calvin Murphy and Rudy Tomjanovich, the Rockets made the playoffs for the first time in Houston in 1975.
Moses Malone arrived a year later and he led the Rockets to five postseason appearances including a trip to the 1981 NBA Finals. The Rockets fell short against the Boston Celtics, losing in six games. The team moved on from Malone and drafted Hakeem Olajuwon in 1984.
Olajuwon became one of the greatest players ever as he helped the Rockets win back-to-back NBA championships in 1994 and 1995. After a few tough years following the departure of “The Dream,” the Rockets drafted another franchise big man in 2002, Yao Ming.
Currently, the Rockets are led by James Harden and they are one of the best offensive teams in the NBA today. Houston has produced a lot of great players so it is difficult to narrow it down to just five players. Here are the five players who made the Rockets’ all-time starting five.
Forward – Rudy Tomjanovich
One of the first star players for the Rockets, Rudy Tomjanovich formed a great partnership with point guard Calvin Murphy. In 11 seasons with the Rockets, Tomjanovich was a five-time All-Star. He also helped the Rockets make the playoffs five times during his career.
“Rudy-T” ranks third in the Rockets’ all-time scoring list. He also sits fourth in rebounds and his No. 45 jersey was retired by the team. His career was cut short due to an incident in 1977 when Kermit Washington punched him the face, breaking his face and jaw. He recovered five months later but he was never the same player and retired in 1981. He went on to coach the Rockets to their first two NBA championships in 1994 and 1995.
Honorable Mention: Forward – Tracy McGrady
Tracy McGrady spent six seasons with the Rockets, helping the team make the playoffs three times. His career in Houston was marred by injuries but he still put up big numbers. McGrady was also a three-time All-Star with the Rockets, as well as a three-time All-NBA Teamer.