Best Houston Rocket - 2000
Readers' Choice: Hakeem Olajuwon
It may seem odd to pick a guy who wasn't even good enough to start for the Rockets last year, but don't let Cuttino Mobley's sixth-man status fool you. He's more important to the team than fellow guard Steve Francis, who has the name recognition and the fancy dunks but little of Mobley's game-breaking abilities. The Rockets' No. 1 goal this off-season was to sign Mobley to a multiyear deal, and the organization did exactly that. The guard, who averaged 15.8 points last year (second to Francis's 18 points), agreed to a six-year contract worth a reported $32.2 million. On the day the signing was announced, Rudy Tomjanovich told the Houston Chronicle that Mobley was "one of the handful of players in the league that can be called a "go-to guy.' By that I mean we can get the ball in his hands, and something positive is going to happen." Mobley is the kind of shooting guard who's not afraid to drive toward the basket, which has not exactly been a Rocket hallmark. His speed and agility could transform the Rockets from a boring inside-out post-up team to a fun-and-gun quintet. That ability alone -- to make the Rockets more funky James Brown than elegant Nat "King" Cole -- makes him worthy of accolades. Cuttino! Take us to the bridge! Or the hoop! Or the play-offs!