Best Houston Rocket - 2001
Readers' Choice: Steve Francis
The Hakeem era -- those glorious days that brought Houston its first major pro championships -- is now, officially, history. The Dream is a Toronto Raptor, and he probably has a better chance of making the NBA Finals with new teammate Vince Carter than with the current Rockets. But the Rockets are the team with the better future, and much of that future will rest on the shoulders of guard Steve Francis. Francis won the Co-Rookie of the Year award after the 1999-2000 season and continued with solid play in this past season. The Rockets prefer to spread the wealth around instead of having one dominant scorer, but Francis led the team with an average of 20 points and 6.5 assists per game. He's pretty deadly from the three-point line, and he's steadily developing into a leader both on the court and off. Francis came out from the University of Maryland after his junior year but has spent this summer going back to class to get closer to his goal of a degree in criminology. By the time the Rockets move into their new arena for the 2003-2004 season, Francis should be firmly established as one of the NBA's stars.