Snapshot: A look back at Steve Francis, the bouncy, shifty point guard

When Steve Francis elevated off the floor and hung in the air, he was prepared to posterize someone if necessary.

Francis, who played his first five NBA seasons with the Houston Rockets, was one of the bounciest and most athletic guards of his day. He had a shifty dribble that helped him regularly skirt past his opponents, ready to finish at the rim.

As the league’s 2000 Rookie of the Year, Francis made an immediate impact. He averaged 18.0 points per game, 6.6 assists and shot 34.5% from the 3-point line in his rookie season.

He made the 1999-00 All-Rookie first team, joining Elton Brand, Andre Miller, Lamar Odom and Wally Szczerbiak.

Francis’ scoring ability was the best attribute of his game. Francis had three seasons where he scored 20 or more points a game — two of those seasons were with Houston. The 2001-02 campaign marked the first of his three All-Star appearances, and it was also his best season scoring-wise.

During that season, Francis scored a career-high 21.6 points per game, grabbed a career-best 7.0 rebounds and dished 6.4 assists. According to NBA.com stats, Francis was fourth in rebounds per game among guards that season.

He played nine seasons, and the only time he didn’t average double figures in scoring was his last season in 2007-08, which was with the Rockets.

Though Francis had individual success, he didn’t go to the playoffs often. He made it to the postseason once in 2004, and the Rockets lost in five games against the Los Angeles Lakers during the first round.

Francis led the Rockets in scoring and assists during the series; he was second in rebounds behind Jim Jackson. Francis averaged 19.2 points per game, 7.6 assists and 8.4 rebounds in those five games.

After starting his career in Houston, Francis then played a season and a half for the Orlando Magic.

Francis was traded to the New York Knicks from Orlando during the 2005-06 season, and he played with New York through the 2006-07 season. Francis finished his career with averages of 18.1 points per game, 6.0 assists and 5.6 rebounds. He shot 42.9% from the field and 34.1% from deep.

Despite not having many playoff appearances, Francis was one of the most talented guards of his era.

Perhaps more importantly, he was a predecessor for players like Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook, two of the most explosive and athletic guards of all time.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s