Arizona State Sun Devils men's basketball
The Arizona State Sun Devils men's basketball team is the basketball team that represents Arizona State University in Tempe, United States. The school's team competes in the Pac-12 Conference; the Arizona State Sun Devils have appeared in the NCAA Tournament 16 times, including 3 Elite Eights. They finished in the final AP rankings seven times; the highest national ranking the Sun Devils have achieved is AP No. 3 under Bobby Hurley during the 2017–18 season and No. 3 under Ned Wulk during the 1980–81 season when the starting lineup included future NBA stars Byron Scott, Fat Lever, Alton Lister. Arizona State is led by forth-year head coach Bobby Hurley, who replaced Herb Sendek. Sendek was credited for bringing a "basketball atmosphere" and level of excitement to Arizona State, absent for years. In his first four seasons at Arizona State, Sendek led the Sun Devils to three consecutive 20 win seasons, the 2009 Pac-10 conference tournament finals, the second round of the 2009 NCAA Tournament and 2014 NCAA Tournament.
Hurley, in turn, has taken the Sun Devils to the 2019 NCAA Tournaments. Thirty-six ASU Sun Devils have been selected in the NBA Draft, including six-time NBA All-Star James Harden, Byron Scott, Isaac Austin, Lafayette Lever, Alton Lister, Lionel Hollins, Sam Williams, Jeff Pendergraph, Stevin "Hedake" Smith, Mario Bennett, Tommy Smith, Ike Diogu, Eddie House, Freddie Lewis, Joe Caldwell. Arizona State has the following all-time series records vs. Pac-12 opponents; the Sun Devils lead three series with conference opponents.. The Sun Devils have appeared in the NCAA Tournament 16* times, their combined record is 13–16. ASU's 1995 NCAA tournament appearance was vacated by the NCAA; the Sun Devils have appeared in the National Invitation Tournament 13 times. Their combined record is 7–13. Arizona State appeared in the NAIA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament twice, their combined record is 2–2. Arizona State appeared in the National Commissioners Invitational Tournament once, their overall record is 0–1.
The Sun Devils have retired seven jersey numbers in program history, most James Harden’s number 13 in 2015. The statistics are updated through the 2018-2019 season
The Milwaukee Bucks are an American professional basketball team based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Bucks compete in the National Basketball Association as a member club of the league's Eastern Conference Central Division; the team was founded in 1968 as an expansion team, play at the Fiserv Forum. Former U. S. Senator Herb Kohl was the long-time owner of the team, but on April 16, 2014, a group led by billionaire hedge fund managers Wes Edens and Marc Lasry agreed to purchase a majority interest in the team from Kohl, a sale, approved by the owners of the NBA and its Board of Governors one month on May 16; the team is managed by Jon Horst, the team's former director of basketball operations, who took over for John Hammond in May 2017. The Bucks have won one league title, two conference titles, 14 division titles, they have featured such notable players as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Sidney Moncrief, Oscar Robertson, Bob Dandridge, Bob Lanier, Glenn Robinson, Ray Allen, Sam Cassell, Junior Bridgeman, Michael Redd, Terry Cummings, Vin Baker, Jon McGlocklin, Marques Johnson, Brian Winters.
On January 22, 1968, the NBA awarded a franchise to Milwaukee Professional Sports and Services, Inc. a group headed by Wesley Pavalon and Marvin Fishman. A fan contest was held to name the new team, with over 40,000 fans participating. While the most-voted fan entry was the Robins, named for Wisconsin's state bird, the contest judges went with the second-most popular choice, the Bucks, a reference to Wisconsin's official wild animal, the white-tailed deer. One fan, R. D. Trebilcox, was awarded a new car for his part in reasoning why the Bucks was a good nickname, saying that bucks were "spirited, good jumpers and agile." The Bucks marked a return of the NBA to Milwaukee after 13 years. In October, the Bucks played their first NBA regular-season game against the Chicago Bulls before a Milwaukee Arena crowd of 8,467; as is typical with expansion teams, the Bucks' first season was a struggle. Their first victory came in their sixth game as the Bucks beat the Detroit Pistons 134–118; the Bucks' record that year earned them a coin flip against their expansion cousins, the Phoenix Suns, to see who would get the first pick in the upcoming draft.
It was considered a foregone conclusion that the first pick in the draft would be Lew Alcindor of UCLA. The Bucks won the coin flip, but had to win a bidding war with the upstart American Basketball Association to secure him. Despite the Bucks' stroke of fortune in landing Alcindor, no one expected what happened in 1969–70, they finished with a 56–26 record – a nearly exact reversal of the previous year and good enough for the second-best record in the league, behind the New York Knicks. The 29-game improvement was the best in league history – a record which would stand for 10 years until the Boston Celtics jumped from 29 wins in 1978–79 to 61 in 1979–80; the Bucks defeated the Philadelphia 76ers in five games in the Eastern semifinals, only to be dispatched in five by the Knicks in the Eastern finals. Alcindor was a runaway selection for NBA Rookie of the Year; the following season, the Bucks got an unexpected gift when they acquired Oscar Robertson, known as the "Big O", in a trade with the Cincinnati Royals.
Subsequently, in only their third season, the Bucks finished 66–16 – the second-most wins in NBA history at the time, still the most in franchise history. During the regular season, the Bucks recorded, they steamrolled through the playoffs with a dominating 12–2 record, winning the NBA Championship on April 30, 1971, by sweeping the Baltimore Bullets in four games. By winning it all in only their third season, the Bucks became the fastest expansion team in the history of North American sports to win a championship; as of 2018, it remains the only title in team history. The Bucks remained a powerhouse for the first half of the 1970s. In 1972, they recorded their third consecutive 60-win season. During the year, Lew Alcindor changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Milwaukee beat the Warriors in the playoffs 4–1, but lost the conference finals to Los Angeles 4–2. Injuries resulted in an early 1973 playoff exit, but the Bucks were back in the 1974 NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics. In game six of the series, Abdul-Jabbar made his famous "sky hook" shot to end a classic double-overtime victory for the Bucks.
The Bucks lost the series to the Celtics. As the 1974–1975 season began, Abdul-Jabbar suffered a hand injury and the team got off to a 3–13 start. After his return, other injuries befell Milwaukee, sending them to the bottom of their division with 38 wins and 44 losses; when the season ended, Abdul-Jabbar made the stunning announcement that he no longer wished to play for the Bucks, stating that he needed the big city, requesting a trade to either Los Angeles or New York City. The front office was unable to convince him otherwise and on June 16, 1975, the Bucks pulled a mega-trade by sending Abdul-Jabbar to the Lakers for Elmore Smith, Junior Bridgeman, Brian Winters and David Meyers; the trade triggered a series of events. The Bucks' largest stockholder, cable television executive Jim Fitzgerald, opposed the trade and wanted to sell his stock. Although Fitzgerald was the largest stockholder, he did not own enough stock to control the team. After the deal, the Bucks
1980–81 NBA season
The 1980–81 NBA season was the 35th season of the National Basketball Association. The season ended with the Boston Celtics winning the NBA Championship, beating the Houston Rockets 4 games to 2 in the NBA Finals; the Dallas Mavericks become the league's 23rd franchise. As a result, the NBA realigns four of its teams to better reflect their geographical locations; the 1981 NBA All-Star Game was played at the Richfield Coliseum near Cleveland, with the East defeating the West 123–120. Nate Archibald of the Boston Celtics wins the game's MVP award. To date, this was the final time; the Houston Rockets become just the second team in NBA history to make the finals without posting a winning record during the regular season. The Kansas City Kings, their opponents in the Western Conference Finals posted a 40–42 record, it was the final season for the likes of Rudy Tomjanovich, Wes Unseld, Jo Jo White. Notes z – Clinched home court advantage for the entire playoffs and first round bye c – Clinched home court advantage for the conference playoffs and first round bye y – Clinched division title and first round bye x – Clinched playoff spot Teams in bold advanced to the next round.
The numbers to the left of each team indicate the team's seeding in its conference, the numbers to the right indicate the number of games the team won in that round. The division champions are marked by an asterisk. Home court advantage does not belong to the higher-seeded team, but instead the team with the better regular season record. Note that in the Western Conference, the lower seeded team won every series. Most Valuable Player: Julius Erving, Philadelphia 76ers Rookie of the Year: Darrell Griffith, Utah Jazz Coach of the Year: Jack McKinney, Indiana Pacers All-NBA First Team: Larry Bird, Boston Celtics George Gervin, San Antonio Spurs Julius Erving, Philadelphia 76ers Dennis Johnson, Phoenix Suns Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Los Angeles Lakers All-NBA Second Team: Marques Johnson, Milwaukee Bucks Adrian Dantley, Utah Jazz Moses Malone, Houston Rockets Otis Birdsong, Kansas City Kings Nate Archibald, Boston Celtics All-NBA Rookie Team: Kelvin Ransey, Portland Trail Blazers Darrell Griffith, Utah Jazz Larry Smith, Golden State Warriors Kevin McHale, Boston Celtics Joe Barry Carroll, Golden State Warriors NBA All-Defensive First Team: Bobby Jones, Philadelphia 76ers Caldwell Jones, Philadelphia 76ers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Los Angeles Lakers Dennis Johnson, Phoenix Suns Micheal Ray Richardson, New York Knicks NBA All-Defensive Second Team: Dan Roundfield, Atlanta Hawks Kermit Washington, Portland Trail Blazers George Johnson, San Antonio Spurs Quinn Buckner, Milwaukee Bucks Dudley Bradley, Indiana Pacers Michael Cooper, Los Angeles Lakers Note: All information on this page were obtained on the History section on NBA.com
1988–89 NBA season
The 1988–89 NBA season was the 43rd season of the National Basketball Association. The season ended with the Detroit Pistons winning the NBA Championship, sweeping the Los Angeles Lakers; this was the first season of the Miami Charlotte Hornets. The NBA adopts the three-official system used in college basketball permanently; the league experimented with three officials per game in 1978–79, but went back to two officials per game for the next nine seasons, although they have three with the inclusion of an alternate referee for all playoff games and selected regular season games. The Miami Heat and the Charlotte Hornets become the league's 25th franchises; the Heat plays its inaugural season in the Midwest Division. As a result, the Sacramento Kings move to the Pacific Division; the 1989 NBA All-Star Game was played at the Astrodome in Houston, with the West defeating the East 143–134. Karl Malone of the Utah Jazz takes home the game's MVP award. New Arenas: The Milwaukee Bucks move from the MECCA Arena to the then-Bradley Center, the Sacramento Kings move from ARCO Arena I to the then-ARCO Arena, the Detroit Pistons move from the Pontiac Silverdome to The Palace of Auburn Hills.
Michael Jordan records ten triple-doubles in eleven games near the end of the season. Prior to the season, the first-year Hornets announce that they choose teal as their primary color, which gave them immediate attention. In the next decade, expansion teams in the other professional sports leagues further popularized the use of the color; the Hornets popularized the use of pinstripes on the uniforms, which were adopted by the Orlando Magic, Chicago Bulls, Toronto Raptors, Indiana Pacers and the current Charlotte Hornets' predecessor franchise, the Bobcats. The Chicago Bulls started a playoff tradition by wearing black sneakers. Prior to that, the Boston Celtics were the only team to wear black sneakers. Following the Bulls' unlikely playoff run, other teams began adopting the style, beginning with the Philadelphia 76ers in 1990; this was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's last season. The Los Angeles Lakers became the first team to sweep two consecutive best-of-seven series; the Celtics, who had won no fewer than 57 games over the previous 9 seasons, slump to 42 as Larry Bird played only six games due to injuries.
The Indiana Pacers had 4 different head coaches during the season, a rare occurrence that has not happened since. Seattle SuperSonics guard Dale Ellis won the All-Star game's 3-point shootout; the first cancellation of an NBA game due to a civil disturbance. In the wake of the Miami riots, the game between the Miami Heat and the Phoenix Suns on January 17, 1989, was canceled. Jerry Sloan begins the first season of 23 for the Utah Jazz, the longest tenure for any professional coach for one city and franchise. Notes z – Clinched home court advantage for the entire playoffs c – Clinched home court advantage for the conference playoffs y – Clinched division title x – Clinched playoff spot The League expands from twenty-three to twenty-five franchises, with new expansion teams in Charlotte and Miami; the Heat began its season as a member of the Western Conference despite its geographical position, enduring its longest road trips when playing Western Conference teams. It began the season 0–17, at the time the worst start in NBA history.
The Hornets finished at 20–62. Such records are typical of expansion NBA franchises in their initial seasons, with 15–67 being the poorest record repeated by the Cavaliers, Grizzlies and Mavericks, as well as the Heat; the Sacramento Kings were belatedly moved to the Pacific Division in their fourth season after leaving Kansas City. Teams in bold advanced to the next round; the numbers to the left of each team indicate the team's seeding in its conference, the numbers to the right indicate the number of games the team won in that round. The division champions are marked by an asterisk. Home court advantage does not belong to the higher-seeded team, but instead the team with the better regular season record. Most Valuable Player: Magic Johnson, Los Angeles Lakers Rookie of the Year: Mitch Richmond, Golden State Warriors Defensive Player of the Year: Mark Eaton, Utah Jazz Sixth Man of the Year: Eddie Johnson, Phoenix Suns Most Improved Player: Kevin Johnson, Phoenix Suns Coach of the Year: Cotton Fitzsimmons, Phoenix Suns All-NBA First Team: F – Karl Malone, Utah Jazz F – Charles Barkley, Philadelphia 76ers C – Akeem Olajuwon, Houston Rockets G – Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls G – Magic Johnson, Los Angeles Lakers All-NBA Second Team: F – Tom Chambers, Phoenix Suns F – Chris Mullin, Golden State Warriors C – Patrick Ewing, New York Knicks G – John Stockton, Utah Jazz G – Kevin Johnson, Phoenix Suns All-NBA Third Team: F – Dominique Wilkins, Atlanta Hawks F – Terry Cummings, Milwaukee Bucks C – Robert Parish, Boston Celtics G – Dale Ellis, Seattle SuperSonics G – Mark Price, Cleveland Cavaliers All-NBA Rookie Team: Rik Smits, Indiana Pacers Willie Anderson, San Antonio Spurs Mitch Richmond, Golden State Warriors Charles D. Smith, Los Angeles Clippers Hersey Hawkins, Philadelphia 76ers NBA All-Defensive First Team: Dennis Rodman, Detroit Pistons Larry Nance, Cleveland Cavaliers Mark Eaton, Utah Jazz Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls Joe Dumars, Detroit Pistons NBA All-Defensive Second Team: Kevin McHale, Boston Celtics A. C.
Green, Los Angeles Lakers Patrick Ewing, New York Knicks John Stockton, Utah Jazz Alvin Robertson, San Antonio SpursNote: All information on this page were obtained on the History
The Philadelphia 76ers are an American professional basketball team based in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. The 76ers compete in the National Basketball Association as a member of the league's Eastern Conference Atlantic Division and play at Wells Fargo Center. Founded in 1946 and known as the Syracuse Nationals, they are one of the oldest franchises in the NBA, one of only eight to survive the league's first decade; the 76ers have had a rich history, with many of the greatest players in NBA history having played for the organization, including Wilt Chamberlain, Hal Greer, Billy Cunningham, Julius Erving, Moses Malone, Charles Barkley, Allen Iverson. They have won three NBA championships, with their first coming as the Syracuse Nationals in 1955; the second title came in 1967, a team, led by Chamberlain. The third title came in 1983, won by a team led by Malone; the 76ers have only been back to the NBA Finals once since then: in 2001, where they were led by Iverson and lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in five games.
In 1946, Italian immigrant Daniel Biasone sent a $5,000 check to the National Basketball League offices in Chicago, the Syracuse Nationals became the Midwest-based league's easternmost team, based in the Upstate New York city of Syracuse. The Syracuse Nationals began play in the NBL in the same year professional basketball was gaining some legitimacy with the rival Basketball Association of America, based in large cities like New York and Philadelphia. While in the NBL with teams consisting of small Midwestern towns, the Nationals put together a 21–23 record, finishing in fourth place. In the playoffs, the Nationals would be beaten by the fellow upstate neighbor Rochester Royals in four games. In their second season, 1947–48, the Nationals would struggle, finishing in fifth place with a 24–36 record. Despite their struggles, the Nationals would make the playoffs, getting swept by the Anderson Duffey Packers in 3 straight games. Several teams began to leave the NBL for the BAA; the Nationals "recipe for success" began by recruiting Leo Ferris.
Staying in the NBL, Ferris signed Al Cervi to be player coach and outbid the New York Knicks for the services of Dolph Schayes who made his professional debut, leading the Nationals to a winning record for the first time with a record of 41–22. In the playoffs the Nationals would make quick work of the Hammond Calumet Buccaneers, winning the series in 2 straight games. However, in the semifinals the Nationals would fall to the Anderson Duffey Packers for the second straight season in four games. In 1949, the Nationals were one of seven NBL teams that were absorbed by the Basketball Association of America to form the NBA; the Nationals were an instant success in the NBA, winning the Eastern Division in the 1949–50 season, with a league best record of 51–13. In the playoffs the Nationals continued to play solid basketball, beating the Philadelphia Warriors in 2 straight. Moving on to the Eastern Finals, the Nationals battled the New York Knickerbockers, beating their big city rivals in a 3-game series.
In the NBA Finals, the Nationals faced. In Game 1 of the Finals the Nationals lost just their second home game of the season 68–66; the Nationals did not recover. Despite several teams leaving the NBA for the National Professional Basketball League before the 1950–51 season, the Nationals decided to stay put. In their second NBA season, 1950–51, the Nationals played mediocre basketball all season, finishing in fourth place with a record of 32–34. However, in the playoffs the Nationals played their best basketball of the season as they stunned the first place Warriors in two straight, taking Game 1 on the road in overtime 91–89. In the Eastern Finals the Nationals were beaten by the New York Knickerbockers in a hard-fought 5-game series, losing the finale by just 2 points. Cervi, playing less and coaching more, emphasized a patient offense and a scrappy defense, which led the league in the 1951–52 season by yielding a stingy 79.5 points per game as the Nationals won the Eastern Division with a solid 40–26 record.
In the playoffs the Nationals knocked off the Warriors again in a 3-game series. However, in the Eastern Finals the Nationals fell to the Knickerbockers again, dropping the series in four games; the Nationals would finish in second place in a hard-fought 3-way battle for first place in the Eastern Division for the 1952–53 season, with a record of 47–24. In the playoffs the Nationals would face the Boston Celtics dropping Game 1 at home 87–81. Needing a win in Boston to keep their hopes alive, the Nationals would take the Celtics deep into overtime before losing in quadruple OT 111–105, in what remains the longest playoff game in NBA history; the Nationals acquired Alex Groza, Ralph Beard as the Indianapolis Olympians folded leaving the NBA with just 9 teams for the 1953–54 season. Once again the Nationals would battle for the Division title falling two games short with a 42–30 record. In the playoffs the Nationals would win all four games of a round robin tournament involving the three playoff teams from the East.
In the Eastern Finals the Nationals would stay hot beating the Celtics in 2 straight games. However, in the NBA Finals the Nationals would lose to the Lakers in a hard-fought 7-game series where the 2 teams alternated wins throughout. With the NBA struggling financially and down to just 8 teams Nationals owner during the 1954–55 season, Biasone suggested the league limit the amount of time taken for a shot thus speeding up a game that ended with long periods of teams just holding the ball and playing keep away. Biasone and Nationals' general manager
National Basketball Association
The National Basketball Association is a men's professional basketball league in North America. It is considered to be the premier men's professional basketball league in the world; the NBA is an active member of USA Basketball, recognized by FIBA as the national governing body for basketball in the United States. The NBA is one of the four major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. NBA players are the world's best paid athletes by average annual salary per player; the league was founded in New York City on June 1946, as the Basketball Association of America. The league adopted the name National Basketball Association on August 3, 1949, after merging with the competing National Basketball League; the league's several international as well as individual team offices are directed out of its head offices located in the Olympic Tower at 645 Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. NBA Entertainment and NBA TV studios are directed out of offices located in New Jersey; the Basketball Association of America was founded in 1946 by owners of the major ice hockey arenas in the Northeastern and Midwestern United States and Canada.
On November 1, 1946, in Toronto, Canada, the Toronto Huskies hosted the New York Knickerbockers at Maple Leaf Gardens, in a game the NBA now refers to as the first game played in NBA history. The first basket was made by Ossie Schectman of the Knickerbockers. Although there had been earlier attempts at professional basketball leagues, including the American Basketball League and the NBL, the BAA was the first league to attempt to play in large arenas in major cities. During its early years, the quality of play in the BAA was not better than in competing leagues or among leading independent clubs such as the Harlem Globetrotters. For instance, the 1948 ABL finalist Baltimore Bullets moved to the BAA and won that league's 1948 title, the 1948 NBL champion Minneapolis Lakers won the 1949 BAA title. Prior to the 1948–49 season, however, NBL teams from Fort Wayne, Indianapolis and Rochester jumped to the BAA, which established the BAA as the league of choice for collegians looking to turn professional.
On August 3, 1949, the remaining NBL teams–Syracuse, Tri-Cities, Sheboygan and Waterloo–merged into the BAA. In deference to the merger and to avoid possible legal complications, the league name was changed to the present National Basketball Association though the merged league retained the BAA's governing body, including Podoloff. To this day, the NBA claims the BAA's history as its own, it now reckons the arrival of the NBL teams as an expansion, not a merger, does not recognize NBL records and statistics. The new league had seventeen franchises located in a mix of large and small cities, as well as large arenas and smaller gymnasiums and armories. In 1950, the NBA consolidated to eleven franchises, a process that continued until 1953–54, when the league reached its smallest size of eight franchises: the New York Knicks, Boston Celtics, Philadelphia Warriors, Minneapolis Lakers, Rochester Royals, Fort Wayne Pistons, Tri-Cities Blackhawks, Syracuse Nationals, all of which remain in the league today.
The process of contraction saw. The Hawks shifted from the Tri-Cities to Milwaukee in 1951, to St. Louis in 1955; the Rochester Royals moved from Rochester, New York, to Cincinnati in 1957 and the Pistons relocated from Fort Wayne, Indiana, to Detroit in 1957. Japanese-American Wataru Misaka broke the NBA color barrier in the 1947–48 season when he played for the New York Knicks, he remained the only non-white player in league history prior to the first African-American, Harold Hunter, signing with the Washington Capitols in 1950. Hunter was cut from the team during training camp, but several African-American players did play in the league that year, including Chuck Cooper with the Celtics, Nathaniel "Sweetwater" Clifton with the Knicks, Earl Lloyd with the Washington Capitols. During this period, the Minneapolis Lakers, led by center George Mikan, won five NBA Championships and established themselves as the league's first dynasty. To encourage shooting and discourage stalling, the league introduced the 24-second shot clock in 1954.
If a team does not attempt to score a field goal within 24 seconds of obtaining the ball, play is stopped and the ball given to its opponent. In 1957, rookie center Bill Russell joined the Boston Celtics, which featured guard Bob Cousy and coach Red Auerbach, went on to lead the club to eleven NBA titles in thirteen seasons. Center Wilt Chamberlain entered the league with the Warriors in 1959 and became a dominant individual star of the 1960s, setting new single game records in scoring and rebounding. Russell's rivalry with Chamberlain became one of the greatest rivalries in the history of American team sports; the 1960s were dominated by the Celtics. Led by Russell, Bob Cousy and coach Red Auerbach, Boston won eight straight championships in the NBA from 1959 to 1966; this championship streak is the longest in NBA history. They did not win the title in 1966–67, but regained it in the 1967–68 season and repeated in 1969; the domination totaled nine of the ten championship banners of the 1960s.
Through this period, the NBA continued to evolve with the shift of the Minneapolis Lakers to Los Angeles, the Philadelphia Warriors to San Francisco, the Syracuse Nationals to Philadelphia to become the Philadelphia 76ers, the St. Louis Hawks moving to Atlanta, as well as the addition of its first expansion franchises; the Chicago Packers (now Wa
The Houston Rockets are an American professional basketball team based in Houston, Texas. The Rockets compete in the National Basketball Association, as a member of the league's Western Conference Southwest Division; the team plays its home games at the Toyota Center, located in downtown Houston. The Rockets have won four Western Conference titles; the team was established as the San Diego Rockets, an expansion team based in San Diego, in 1967. In 1971, the Rockets moved to Houston; the Rockets won only 15 games in their debut season as a franchise in 1967. In the 1968 NBA draft, the Rockets, picking first overall, selected power forward Elvin Hayes, who would lead the team to its first playoff appearance in his rookie season; the Rockets did not finish a season with a winning record until the 1976–77 season, when they traded for center Moses Malone. Malone went on to win the NBA Most Valuable Player award twice and led Houston to the conference finals in his first year with the team, he led the Rockets to the NBA Finals in 1981 where they were defeated in six games by the Boston Celtics, led by Larry Bird and future Rockets coach Kevin McHale.
In the 1984 NBA draft, the Rockets drafted center Hakeem Olajuwon, who would be paired with 7 feet 4 inches Ralph Sampson, forming one of the tallest front courts in the NBA. Nicknamed the "Twin Towers", they led the team to the 1986 NBA Finals—the second NBA Finals appearance in franchise history—where Houston was again defeated by the Boston Celtics; the Rockets continued to reach the playoffs throughout the 1980s, but failed to advance past the first round for several years following a second-round defeat to the Seattle SuperSonics in 1987. Rudy Tomjanovich took over as head coach midway through the 1991–92 season, ushering in the most successful period in franchise history; the Olajuwon-led Rockets went to the 1994 NBA Finals and won the franchise's first championship against Patrick Ewing and the New York Knicks. The following season, reinforced by another All-Star, Clyde Drexler, the Rockets repeated as champions with a four-game sweep of the Orlando Magic, who were led by a young Shaquille O'Neal and Penny Hardaway.
Houston, seeded sixth in the Western Conference during the 1995 playoffs, became the lowest-seeded team in NBA history to win the title. The Rockets acquired all-star forward Charles Barkley in 1996, but the presence of three of the NBA's 50 greatest players of all-time was not enough to propel Houston past the Western Conference Finals; each one of the aging trio had left the team by 2001, the Rockets of the early 2000s, led by superstars Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming, followed the trend of consistent regular season respectability followed by playoff underachievement as both players struggled with injuries. After Yao's early retirement in 2011, the Rockets entered a period of rebuilding dismantling and retooling their roster; the acquisition of franchise player James Harden in 2012 has launched the Rockets back into championship contention in the mid-2010s. Moses Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon and James Harden have been named the NBA's Most Valuable Player while playing for the Rockets, for a total of four MVP awards.
The Rockets, under general manager Daryl Morey, are notable for popularizing the use of advanced statistical analytics in player acquisitions and style of play. The Rockets were founded in 1967 in San Diego by Robert Breitbard, who paid an entry fee of US $1.75 million to join the NBA as an expansion team for the 1967–68 season. The NBA wanted to add more teams in the Western United States, chose San Diego based on the city's strong economic and population growth, along with the local success of an ice hockey team owned by Breitbard, the San Diego Gulls; the resulting contest to name the franchise chose the name "Rockets", which paid homage to San Diego's theme of "a city in motion" and the local arm of General Dynamics developing the Atlas missile and booster rocket program. Breitbard brought in Jack McMahon coach of the Cincinnati Royals, to serve as the Rockets' coach and general manager; the team, that would join the league along with the Seattle SuperSonics built its roster with both veteran players at an expansion draft, college players from the 1967 NBA draft, where San Diego's first draft pick was Pat Riley.
The Rockets lost 67 games in their inaugural season, an NBA record for losses in a season at the time. In 1968, after the Rockets won a coin toss against the Baltimore Bullets to determine who would have the first overall pick in the 1968 NBA draft, they selected Elvin Hayes from the University of Houston. Hayes improved the Rockets' record to 37 wins and 45 losses, enough for the franchise's first playoff appearance in 1969, but the Rockets lost in the semi-finals of the Western Division to the Atlanta Hawks, four games to two. Despite the additions of Calvin Murphy and Rudy Tomjanovich and the management of Hall of Fame coach Alex Hannum, the Rockets tallied a 67–97 record in the following two seasons and did not make the playoffs in either season; because of the low performance and attendance, Breitbard looked to sell the team, in 1971, Texas Sports Investments bought the franchise for $5.6 million, moved the team to Houston. The franchise became the first NBA team in Texas, the nickname "Rockets" took on greater relevance after the move, given Houston's long connection to the space industry.
Before the start of the 1971–72 season, Hannum left for the Denver Rockets of the American Basketball Association – renamed Denver Nuggets, who joined the NBA in 1976 – and Tex Winter was hired in his place. However, Winter's clashes with Hayes, due to a system that contrasted with the offensive style