With Chris Paul now a member of the Houston Rockets, the franchise's pedigree of guards is starting to overtake its legacy of bigs.
For years, when you think of the Rockets, you think of all the great big men that have graced the court over the organization’s 50 seasons.
Hakeem "the Dream" Olajuwon won two championships here. Yao Ming was the No. 1 pick in 2002 and is a Hall-of-Famer, and Dwight Howard was one of the biggest free agent signings in franchise history, it's been all about the big men in Houston. Before them, Ralph Samspon, Moses Malone and Elvin Hayes all had huge impacts on the franchise and legendary careers.
Hell, even between Olajuwon and Yao, the Rockets gave Kelvin Cato a fa,t $64 million dollar contract. Houston has always been home to the bigs.
Overlooked, however, is the some of the most amazing scorers and playmakers that the NBA has ever seen.
Yes, Olajuwon is one of the greatest players to ever play the game, but the Rockets have actually had just about as many impactful guards as big men.
Calvin Murphy was one of Houston's first great players. Throughout the years, the Rockets have also had great guards like Steve Francis and Tracy McGrady. And James Harden, in his short five years in Houston, might have surpassed everyone in franchise history not named Olajuwon. And he’s signed to play another six in H-Town.
Centers and big men have been the rock the Rockets were built upon, but for the foreseeable future (next five seasons, Harden is under contract through 2023), it will be the guards leading the way.
When Howard was signed in 2013, the Rockets put up a giant banner on the Toyota Center garage depicting its "Legacy of Bigs." But with the franchise moving into a new era it might be time for another sign, but this time describing all of the great guards through 51 seasons.
Basketball is going away from positions and moving to having more playmakers on the court, the Rockets are at the forefront of this movement with now Paul and Harden on the same team.
“This is a historic pairing,” Daryl Morey said at CP3’s introductory press conference today. “No one’s ever put together two players this smart … and two of the best passers in NBA history on one team.”
It might work out, it might not, but when you sit back and think about the Rockets, they've had some really amazing talent come through the franchise.
The Rockets have had greater big men than guards in franchise history. If Chris Paul stays long-term, do you think that could change?