NBA 2K just announced this past week that they will be adding All-Time rosters for all thirty teams. Each roster will feature twelve of the greatest players to play for each franchise and gamers will be able to test which franchise reigns supreme.
For our purposes, I thought it would be fun to predict what the All-Time Rockets roster would look like in the game.
Starting PG: Calvin Murphy
Murphy is not well-known outside of Red Nation, but his statistics speak for themselves. He is second in Rockets history in points scored and minutes played, and he leads the franchise in assists. Standing at just 5 feet 9 inches, he cannot play a position other than point guard, but he is also lightning quick.
Murphy has yet to be featured in 2K before, but several gamers have created him as a player before. This would be Murphy’s first appearance in 2K and would give the Rockets a bona fide, underrated point guard.
Starting SG: James Harden
Harden makes sense at either guard spot. There is no doubt that he will be featured on this team. A lot of people may slot him at point guard in this game based on his ball-handling skills alone, but Harden is in the prime of his career, and his character for the All-Time roster will be based off his current skill set, which gives the Rockets a huge advantage over other teams in this mode. Not many teams can say that arguably their best player in franchise history is in their prime right now. The Rockets can. It will be nice to see Harden next to the people that paved the path for him and compete against the past and present of other franchises to see how he stacks up. His three-point percentage helps him in the game and it will be a huge factor if people decide to use the Rockets’ All-Time roster.
Starting SF: Clyde Drexler
Even though he is traditionally a shooting guard, we are giving Clyde a spot in the starting lineup as a three because his play as a Rocket is worthy of the starting lineup. He averaged over 19 PPG in his final 3+ seasons of his career, which were all in Houston. He was also the star of some Rockets teams post-Clutch City that do not get as much love as they deserve. The 1996-97 team is possibly the greatest Rockets team ever assembled, but they failed to reach the Finals, losing in six games to the Stockton-Malone Utah Jazz. Drexler only played three-and-a-half seasons as a Rocket, but even the waning moments in the Glide’s career are extraordinary enough to make him the team’s starting small forward.
Drexler is already featured in 2K through the 1991-92 Blazers and the Dream Team, so adding him in the game is not as difficult. Let’s put him with all the Rockets greats and let him shine.
Starting PF: Elvin Hayes
Hayes spent seven years in two stints with the Rockets, and despite never reaching the Finals, Hayes had some stellar years with Houston. He was the first Rockets superstar as the team drafted him first overall in the 1968 NBA Draft. He is ninth all-time in the NBA in points and is a University of Houston graduate, giving him a spot in Houston sports lore forever. His play from fifty years ago is still being discussed today.
Hayes has been featured before in 2K myTeam and has a very high rating, certainly something that will help the Rockets in this mode.
He is also a shoo-in to make the All-Time Wizards roster as well, so let’s pit the Rockets and the Wizards against each other and see how it goes.
Starting C: Hakeem Olajuwon
This was tougher than you may think, given how many fantastic centers the Rockets have had in their franchise’s history. However, how could you not pick the Dream? First overall pick in ‘84, two NBA championships, Hall of Famer, and all-time franchise leader in minutes, points, rebounds, steals, and blocks.
Dream is the Rockets and he has to be the starting big man on the team.
Tracy McGrady, SG
I was tempted to put T-Mac in the starting lineup next to Harden, and that might be how 2K decides to place this team. However, putting McGrady on the bench as the Sixth Man makes this bench a tough one to beat. Despite five-and-a-half injury-plagued seasons in Houston, he was an All-Star three times and made the All-NBA Second Team twice. He did not have as much success in Houston, which is also why he is not a starter, but a two-time scoring champion and a first ballot Hall of Famer who spent most of his career in the Space City definitely deserves a spot on the roster.
Yao Ming, C
Yao means so much to the franchise that he had to have a spot on this roster. Eight All-Star appearances in nine seasons is astonishing, averaging 19 and 9 for his career is also an impressive stat. Had Yao played for another franchise, he would have easily been the team’s starting center. However, we have Dream, so that spot is taken. Peak Yao was a boss and he was arguably the best center in the league for two or three years. Him coming off the bench in this game is a gift.
Moses Malone, C
Again, just like Yao, had we not had Dream, Malone would be a starter on most teams’ All-Time rosters. In fact, Malone is likely the starter for the Philadelphia 76ers’ team in this mode. For Houston, he comes off the bench though. He is the only Rocket to win the league’s MVP more than once and he was the star of the first Rockets team to make the Finals in 1981. From 1979-1982, Malone was the best center in the whole league, no question. He was a leader on a talented Rockets team with Murphy and an aging Tomjanovich. Malone never won a title in Houston, but he is known to be one of the greatest players to ever put a Rockets uniform on, even if it was just for six seasons.
Ralph Sampson, C
Another Hall of Famer and another big man. Sampson was the first pick in the 1983 Draft and was seen as a centerpiece in the Twin Tower regime the Rockets were trying to forge in the mid-1980’s. Sampson only played in Houston for four-and-a-half years, but he was an All-Star in four of them. The best moments in his career were in Houston, and he was a big part of the team’s Finals run in 1986. At 7’4”, you could play him next to Yao Ming or Hakeem in the game and nobody would even come close to the paint. You have to admit, putting Sampson in with any of these guys would be a scary combination.
Steve Francis, PG
This is where it gets a little tricky, but looking back at his career, Francis is deserving of a spot on this roster. There is no prime backup for Murphy and three-time All-Star and 2000 Rookie of the Year Steve Francis is a nice candidate. Francis averaged 18.1 PPG over his career, majority of which was spent in Houston. He had his best years as a Rocket and I would love to be able to pair him up with Yao again just to re-enact the excitement those two were when Yao was a rookie and Francis a future star.
Rudy Tomjanovich, SF
The fact that Rudy T is yet to be a member of the Hall of Fame is mind-boggling, because his success as a player and a coach is very impressive. Him and Murphy were the first and second round picks of the 1970 Draft, known to be one of the most important drafts in franchise history. He was an all-star five times in the 1970’s and was drafted to become the face of the franchise. He is still what many people link to the face of the franchise. He built the Rockets into what they are now.
Tomjanovich has been featured as a coach in NBA 2K, but this would be his first appearance as a player.
Otis Thorpe, PF
This team does not have a backup forward yet, so insert Otis Thorpe, former All-Star and starting power forward for the first Rockets championship team. Thorpe is known for two things in Houston. He is known for being the main piece traded for Clyde Drexler. However, he was also a mainstay in the Rockets lineup for six-and-a-half seasons during the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. Thorpe is arguably the best pure power forward in Rockets history. He was extremely durable and was a huge contributor to the Rockets’ 1993-94 championship team. Thorpe snags the last spot on the roster.
This team might struggle against high-volume shooting teams because of the amount of centers on the roster. Maybe the actual game will feature more wings like Vernon Maxwell or Trevor Ariza, but I created this roster without any real sense of position. This team’s size however will force teams to shoot, and teams that do not have those strong shooters will struggle against this defensive-minded Rockets front. They have the size in the frontcourt (Hakeem, Yao, Sampson, Malone) and the shooting talent in the backcourt (Harden, McGrady) to have a nice balance. I can’t wait to play with the All-Time Rockets in 2K18.
NBA 2K18 will be released September 19.