The houston rockets are an american professional basketball team based in houston, texas. the team plays in the southwest division of the western conference in the national basketball association (nba). the team was established in 1967, and played in san diego, california, for four years, before moving to houston. in the rockets' debut season, they won only 15 games. but after drafting elvin hayes first overall in the 1969 nba draft, they made their first appearance in the playoffs in 1969.