The Houston Rockets are a basketball team that plays for the National Basketball Association in the Southwest Division in the Western Conference, alongside the New Orleans Pelicans, San Antonio Spurs, Memphis Grizzlies, and Dallas Mavericks. The team is based in Houston, Texas and plays its home games at the Toyota Center in Downtown Houston.
The team was first established in 1967 but was originally called the San Diego Rockets, formed in San Diego as an NBA expansion team. However, in 1971 the team upped sticks and moved to Houston.
In its first season in 1967, the team struggled – winning only 15 games as a franchise. This made the 1968 draft pick more important than ever. Luckily they got first-pick draft rights and selected Elvin Hayes – a Power Forward who led the team to their first playoffs in his rookie season. However, it took until the 1976-77 season before the Rockets managed a winning record after trading for All-Star Center player, Moses Malone who went on to win the MVO twice during his tenure with the Rockets. He also led the team to Conference Finals in his first year as a Rocket. They also reached their first NBA Finals in 1981 despite finishing the regular reason with a 40-42 – which made them the first team to ever reach the finals off the back of a losing season record.
They have become a much stronger contender in the division in more recent years – having won their division for the last three seasons. They have won the NBA Championships twice – 1994 and 1995, Conference titles 4 times – 1981, 1986, 1994, and 1995 – and have been division champions 8 times, including the past season.
The team’s first draft pick in 1967 was the legendary coach Pat Riley. He played in the position of Guard/Forward until 1970 before moving to the LA Lakers. He only ever played as a San Diego Rocket and never a Houston Rocket.
Houston Rockets 2021 NBA Draft Picks
So, looking at the 2021 NBA draft, industry experts certainly had a lot to say about the young and vibrant bunch of new players that General Manager Rafael Stone ended up selecting.
This was a big night for the Rockets, who hadn’t made any first-round draft picks for five consecutive years – and to make up for this, they announced four on the Thursday night’s draft. They started off with the second pick and selected Jalen Green. Jalen Green was picked from the NBA G League ignite team. This was an impressive start and it was just the beginning of Stone’s plan to launch the Rocket’s plan to rebuild bigger and better. He also went on to selected Alperen Sengun from Besiktas, Turkey, with number 16 pick (made via trade), Usman Garuba from Real Madrid, Spain with 23rd pick and Josh Christopher from Arizona State was selected with the 24th pick.
Houston Rockets 2021 NBA Draft
- Jaleen Green, Shooting Guard, from the NBA G League Ignite team
- Alperen Sengun, big, from Besiktas Turkey
- Usman Garuba, Big, from Real Madrid Spain
- Josh Christopher, Wing, from Arizona State.
Moving Forward as a Team
Their performance, particularly in the division has been strong recently, but this hasn’t translated to the Conference or Finals results. So how do they move forward?
Well, the team have done well in recent years in the division – and won the division last season. They were one of the teams invited to the 2020 NBA Bubble and got through to the playoffs, but were knocked out by the Lakers. After no first-round drafts but a few trades, they went into the 2020-2021 season reasonably strong but only strong enough to win the division. This year they will want to further the success and get further in the conference by rebuilding the team with the help of their four first-round picks this year!
Current Houston Rockets Players Under Contract
- John Wall
- Josh Christopher
- Eric Gordon
- Christian Wood
- Jalen Green
- Daniel Theis
- D.J. Augustin
- Alperen Sengun
- David Nwaba
- Usman Garuba
- Danuel House
- Kevin Porter Jr.
- Armoni Brooks
- Kenyon Martin Jr.
- Jae’Sean Tate
- Daishen Nix
- Anthony Lamb
Current Houston Rockets Free Agents
- Avery Bradley (team)
- Armoni Brooks (restricted)
- Sterling Brown
- Dante Exu
- Anthony Lamb (restricted)
- David Nwaba
- Kelly Olynyk
- D.J. Wilson
Previous Houston Rockets Draft Selections Since 2000
Year Round Pick Player Pos Age Pre-Draft Team
2018 2 46 De’Anthony Melton SG 19 USC
2017 2 43 Isaiah Hartenstein PF 19 Zalgiris (Lithuania)
2017 2 45 Dillon Brooks F 21 Oregon
2016 2 37 Chinanu Onuaku C 19 Louisville
2016 2 43 Zhou Qi C 20 Xinjiang Guanghui (China)
2015 1 18 Sam Dekker SF 21 Wisconsin
2015 2 32 Montrezl Harrell F 21 Louisville
2014 1 25 Clint Capela PF 20 Chalon-Sur-Saone (France)
2014 2 42 Nick Johnson SG 21 Arizona
2013 2 34 Isaiah Canaan G 22 Murray State
2012 1 12 Jeremy Lamb SG 20 Connecticut
2012 1 16 Royce White PF 21 Iowa State
2012 1 18 Terrence Jones PF 20 Kentucky
2011 1 14 Marcus Morris F 21 Kansas
2011 1 23 Nikola Mirotic F 20 Real Madrid (Spain)
2011 2 38 Chandler Parsons SF 22 Florida
2010 1 14 Patrick Patterson F 21 Kentucky
2008 1 25 Nicolas Batum F 19 Le Mans Sarthe Basket (France)
2008 2 54 Maarty Leunen F 22 Oregon
2007 1 26 Aaron Brooks G 22 Oregon
2007 2 54 Brad Newley F 22 Leituvos Rytas (Lithuania)
2006 1 8 Rudy Gay SF 19 Connecticut
2006 2 32 Steve Novak F 23 Marquette
2005 1 24 Luther Head G 22 Illinois
2004 2 55 Luis Flores G 23 Manhatten
2003 2 44 Malick Badiane FC 19 TV 1862 Langen (Germany)
2002 1 1 Yao Ming C 21 Shanghai Dongfang (China)
2002 1 15 Bostjan Nachbar F 21 Universo De’Longhi Treviso
2002 2 37 Tito Maddox G 21 Fresno State
2001 1 13 Richard Jefferson SF 21 Arizona
2001 1 18 Jason Collins C 22 Stanford
2001 1 23 Brandon Armstrong SG 21 Pepperdine
2000 1 9 Joel Przybilla C 20 Minnesota
2000 2 38 Eduardo Najera F 23 Oklahoma
Houston Rockets Draft Picks FAQs
Who is Josh Christopher?
Christopher was the 24th overall first-round pick. He established himself when he played his freshman season at Arizona State where he played in 15 games for the Sun Devils averaging 14.3 points. He managed 28 points in his second career game against Villanova and boasted 22 points plus 11 rebounds playing against UCLA.
Who Were the Rockets Picks in Thursday Night’s NBA Draft?
They ended up with 4 first-round draft picks. With these, they got Jaleen Green, Alperen Sengun, Usman Garuba and Josh Christopher.