DAR Sports: The 5 Greatest Hakeem Olajuwon Seasons

By @TrueGodImmortal

With basketball season yet again approaching, I figured it would be a perfect time to look back at one of the greatest Centers of all time in the game, Hakeem Olajuwon. Over his lengthy career, Hakeem would put excellent numbers, win titles, awards, and accomplish so much and today, we wanted to look back at his run and his best seasons. Which seasons make the list for this excellent Center? Let's rank the 5 greatest Hakeem seasons.

5. 1985-1986
(23.5 PPG, 11.5 RPG, 3.4 BPG, NBA Finals Appearance, All-NBA, All Star, All Defensive)

-So, the Twin Towers were a thing that made Houston even more relevant in the NBA, but it was Hakeem who was really the difference maker. Ralph Sampson was an integral piece to the Houston puzzle, but the star was Hakeem. After finishing second in the Rookie Of The Year voting the prior season, Hakeem would have a great second season that saw him raise all of his stats and most of all, lead the team to 50 wins and a surprise playoff run that led them to the NBA Finals against the greatest Boston Celtics team ever assembled. For a young Hakeem and his Rockets, facing the greatest Celtics team could have been the hardest task to get beyond, so while we didn't expect the Rockets to win, the fact that the series was competitive speaks to how amazing Hakeem and company were this season. Keep in mind, this was Hakeem's second season and they dethroned the defending champion Lakers in the West.

4. 1989-1990
(24.3 PPG, 14.0 RPG, 2.1 SPG, 4.6 BPG, All-NBA, All Defensive, Blocks Leader, Rebounding Leader, All Star)

-Though the team success for the Rockets was minimal this season, Hakeem was in a class of his own, earning the right to be considered one of the best defensive players in the league and showing he was a double double machine who could score at will. This season in particular was more so about his defensive prowess and how he could defensively impact a game, as he led the league in blocks and rebounds by a wide margin, and showcased that he was growing as a player. This season would be ranked maybe a tad higher at no. 3 if there was more team success, and you could possibly say 1985-1986 is slightly better due to the Finals appearance, but I would personally say this season was a tad better due to the defensive prowess he showcased in addition to the improving offensive repetitore he would continue to show. This season was special in his career for sure.

3. 1992-1993 
(26.1 PPG, 13.0 RPG, 3.5 APG, 4.2 BPG, All-Defensive, All-NBA, Defensive Player Of The Year, All Star, Blocks Leader)

-This was the season that Hakeem really arrived at his pinnacle for sure. He was already one of the best players in the game for sure, but he was making his case for the best Center in the league next to David Robinson. Hakeem could do it all. He had great footwork, could rebound, block shots, defend well, and put up 25 points a night with no problem. This season would be one of his best years, as he would once again lead the league in blocks, and lead his Rockets to a 55 win season making it a hugely successful year. The most notable accomplishment this season for Hakeem was winning the honor of Defensive Player Of The Year, which was very impressive to pull off while still averaging 26 points and 13 rebounds a game. This season was following the tumultuous battle between Hakeem and the Rockets, and he would showcase his value to the team and be led by a new coach in Rudy Tomjanovich and he was even higher on the MVP list that year than Michael Jordan, coming in second behind Charles Barkley. The Rockets were essentially a team on the rise after this season.

2. 1994-1995
(27.8 PPG, 10.8 RPG, 3.5 APG, 3.4 BPG, NBA Champion, Finals MVP, All-NBA, All Defensive, All Star)

-Back to back championships are special. The journey to get there can be just as special and sometimes more valuable. For Hakeem, this season was a slight step down from the previous year, as his regular season production was great, and he even had better scoring than his MVP year, but the Rockets as a whole weren't as successful in the regular season. However, as we have learned over the years, the regular season doesn't matter nearly as much as the playoffs and that is where Hakeem shined the brightest. This season started off slow and they would be a 6th seed, but Hakeem would take them on a journey in the playoffs that finished with a clean sweep of the Orlando Magic. Hakeem would outdo David Robinson, the year's MVP in the Western Conference Finals before winning another title and Finals MVP. This is easily his second best season overall.

1. 1993-1994
(27.3 PPG, 11.9 RPG, 3.6 APG, 3.7 BPG, NBA Champion, MVP, Finals MVP, Defensive Player Of The Year, All-NBA, All Star, All Defensive)

-This might be the greatest season of all time honestly and that's not an exaggeration. It is truly tough to win MVP, truly tough to win a NBA Championship, tough to win Finals MVP, and just as tough to win Defensive Player Of The Year. Now, imagine doing all of those things in the same season. Exactly. Hakeem was amazing from the start of the season to the final minute of the NBA Finals. Winning all these awards, leading the Rockets to the NBA Finals and coming back from the 3-2 deficit to beat the Knicks was a special moment in his career and winning the Finals MVP with excellent numbers and outplaying Patrick Ewing by far was special. This is one of the greatest seasons in NBA history by far, and it is easily the the best Hakeem season period.



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