The 2000’s version of the Rockets really wasn’t created until 2002. That is when the Rockets made Yao Ming the first overall pick of the NBA draft and decided to build their future around the giant center. With Ming leading the way, this scrappy bunch made five playoff appearances in the past decade. Their accomplishments in the next decade will reflect if Ming can return to full health. The question is can the Rockets best player of the 2000’s bring them back to where Hakeem Olajuwon got them in the 90’s. Here are the best five Houston Rockets from 2001-2010. (Only accomplishments and stats while playing for the Houston Rockets from 2001-2010 were considered.)
1. Yao Ming
The Houston Rockets used the first pick in the 2002 NBA draft to take the 7 foot, 6 inch, Yao Ming. Ming has never become the top five NBA superstar that the Rockets had hoped he would, but he has become one of the top centers in the game. He made seven All-Star teams and was named to a combined five Second and Third All-NBA teams in the 2000’s.
2. Tracy McGrady
T-Mac was traded to the Houston Rockets in June of 2004, along with Juwan Howard, Tyronn Lue, and Reece Gaines. Steve Francis, Cuttino Mobley, and Kelvin Cato were sent to the Magic. It usually would seem like a bad idea to trade two of top five players in the 2000’s for one other one, but in this case it was a good move for the Rockets. McGrady was selected as a Western Conference All-Star from 2005-2007 while with the Rockets. He averaged over 24 points per game in each of his first three seasons with Houston
3. Steve Francis
The Maryland alum played his first five NBA seasons as a Houston Rocket, with four of those seasons coming in the 2000’s. He was selected to the Western Conference All-Star team in three straight seasons staring in 2002. His best season came in 2001-02, when he averaged 21.6 points, 7.0 assists and 6.4 rebounds per game.
4. Cuttino Mobley
Mobley played four seasons with the Houston Rockets in the 2000’s. During those four seasons, he put up at least 15.8 points per game every season and provided the Rockets with excellent three-point shooting. His best season came in 2001-02, when he lit up the NBA for over 21 points per game.
5. Shane Battier
Battier played four seasons with the Houston Rockets in the 2000’s. He may have never fulfilled the enormous hopes that NBA brass had for him when he was drafted, but Battier provided a little bit of everything to help his team win. He is known for his gritty defense, three-point shooting and all out hustle.