San Diego Rockets
1967/68: The NBA continues to expand, adding a team in Seattle and San Diego. The San Diego franchise was named the Rockets since it was the city where the Atlas Rockets for NASA were made. The Rockets did not blast off right away as they dropped their first two games at home against the St. Louis Hawks on October 14th and 17th, before beating their expansion brother Seattle Supersonics on the road October 20th for their first win. Talent was hard to come by for the expansion Rockets as a rival league known as the American Basketball Association was starting up at the same time, as the Rockets only won two of their first 16 games. The Rockets would go on to finish in last place with a league-worst record of 15-67.
1968/69: After finishing with the worst record in the NBA, the San Diego Rockets select University of Houston star Elvin Hayes with the top overall draft pick. Hayes would have an immediate impact on the Rockets, winning the league’s scoring title with 28.4 ppg as the Rockets more than doubled their win-total finishing in 4th place with a record of 37-45, making it into the playoffs. Despite the stellar rookie season, Elvin Hayes would lose out to Baltimore Bullets star Wes Unseld in Rookie of the Year voting. In the playoffs, the Rockets would get off to a slow start dropping the first two games on the road to the Atlanta Hawks. Upon coming home, the Rockets would get back into the series by winning Games 3 and 4. However, the Hawks would take Game 5 in Atlanta before ending the upstart Rockets hopes with a 108-106 win in San Diego.
1969/70: Despite another stellar season from Elvin Hayes, who finishes third in scorning with 27.5 ppg, the Rockets falter and finish in last place with a disappointing record of 27-55, which was also the worst record in the entire league.
1970/71: With rookie guard Calvin Murphy feeding Elvin Hayes, who finishes third in scoring again with 28.7 ppg while adding 15.8 ppg himself, the Rockets improve to 40-42 finishing in third place in the newly established Pacific Division. However, the Rockets would fall one game short of the playoffs as the top two teams in every division made the playoffs. Following the season in which San Diego hosted the All-Star Game, the Rockets would lift off out of town heading to Houston, Wayne Duddleston, and Billy Goldberg bought the franchise for $5.6 million.
1971-1978: After the Rockets landed in Houston, San Diego was without professional basketball for just one year as the ABA added a team in San Diego, known as the Conquistadors. However, the ABA began to suffer financial troubles, and in 1975 the team, which had been renamed Sails, folded. After the ABA went under in 1976, the city of San Diego would again receive an NBA team when the Buffalo Braves moved to San Diego, becoming the Clippers in 1978.
©MMXII Tank Productions. Stats researched by Frank Fleming, all information, and team names are property of the National Basketball Association. This site is not affiliated with the San Diego Rockets or the NBA. This site is maintained for research purposes only. All logos used on this page were from Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page.
Page created on May 3, 2003. Last updated on December 25, 2012 at 6:20 pm ET.