Steve Francis: Wikis

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Steve Francis
Steve Francis cropped.jpg
Point guard/shooting guard
Born February 21, 1977 (1977-02-21) (age 32)
Takoma Park, Maryland
Nationality American
Listed height 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Listed weight 210 lb (95 kg)
High school Montgomery Blair
College Maryland
Draft 2nd overall, 1999
Vancouver Grizzlies
Pro career 1999–present
Former teams Houston Rockets (1999–2004, 2007–2008)
Orlando Magic (2004–2006)
New York Knicks (2006–2007)
Memphis Grizzlies (2008–2009)
Awards 1999-00 NBA Co-Rookie of the Year
3-Time NBA All-Star[1]

Steven D'Shawn Francis (born February 21, 1977, in Takoma Park, Maryland,[2] U.S.) is an American professional basketball player, who is currently a free agent. Nicknamed "Stevie Franchise"[1] and self-described as "Steve-O",[3] he was known early in his career for his crossover dribble, driving ability, and flashy dunks.[4][5]

Contents

Early years

Francis grew up in Takoma Park, Maryland, with little money and no father. He was nicknamed "Wink" as a child.[2] After his mother died of cancer in 1995, his grandmother raised him. He stopped playing schoolboy basketball for two years after his mother's death.[6]

Francis attended the San Jacinto College of Texas in 1996/97, and the Allegany College of Maryland in 1997/98. Francis became the first player to take two unbeaten teams into the National Junior College Tournament.[6]

University of Maryland

Francis transferred to the University of Maryland in 1998 for his junior season. The addition of Francis helped propel the Terrapins to a #5 preseason ranking. Francis made an instant impact as Maryland's starting shooting guard, scoring 17 points in the season opener against Western Carolina. Francis and the Terps gained national attention with impressive showings in the Puerto Rico Shootout and a 62-60 win over #5 Stanford in the BB&T Classic. The Terps climbed to a #2 national ranking by early December.[7]

The Terrapins finished second in the ACC and Francis was named to the All-ACC first team and the All ACC Tournament team. The Terrapins were a number 2 seed in the NCAA tournament but were defeated by St. John's in the Sweet 16. Under Francis' leadership, Maryland finished with a school record-setting 28 wins and only 6 losses and were ranked #5 in the final Associated Press poll.

Francis finished the season averaging 17 points per game, 4.5 assists per game, and 2.8 steals per game. He was a consensus second-team All-American and was named a finalist for the Wooden and Naismith Player of the Year Awards. Although he stated he was "99% sure" he would return to Maryland for his senior season, he opted to enter the NBA draft.

On February 17, 2002, Francis' #23 jersey was honored (but not retired) by Maryland in a ceremony preceding the game against the #1 ranked Duke Blue Devils.[8] Francis sat on the team's bench during the game and cheered as the Terrapins upset the Blue Devils 87-73.

NBA career

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Houston Rockets (1999–2004)

Francis was selected second in the 1999 NBA Draft by the Vancouver Grizzlies. He publicly announced that he did not want to play for the Grizzlies, citing the distance from his Maryland home, taxes, endorsements, and God's will. Heavily criticized for his antics, especially in Vancouver,[9] he relented and briefly considered joining the Grizzlies before contentious negotiations and an incident at the Vancouver airport convinced both the franchise and Francis they needed to go separate ways.[10]

Francis got his wish, being traded before the 1999-2000 season began to the Houston Rockets in a three-team, 11-player deal that brought Michael Dickerson, Othella Harrington, Antoine Carr and Brent Price, plus first- and second-round picks to the Grizzlies. It was the largest trade in NBA history.[11]

Despite sharing Rookie of the Year honors with Elton Brand[12] and finishing as runner-up to Vince Carter in the 2000 Slam Dunk Contest,[13] the Francis-led Rockets finished with a 34-48 record.

The next season the Rockets improved to 45-37 but still missed the playoffs. In his 3rd year, Francis upped his game and was chosen by fans to start the 2002 NBA All-Star contest, but ended up playing only 55 games due to a foot injury and recurring Meniere's induced migraines.[14] As a result the Rockets posted a dismal 28-54 record, propelling them into the lottery, where they selected 7'6" Chinese center Yao Ming with the first pick in the 2002 NBA Draft. Francis and Yao gelled their first season together, being selected as 2003 All-Star Game starters. Francis scored a career-high 44 points in a nationally televised home win against the Lakers on January 17, 2003.[14] The team, though, fell to 43-39 in and failed to make the playoffs.

Rockets head coach Rudy Tomjanovich stepped down in 2003, the team selecting ex-Knick coach Jeff Van Gundy as his successor. Unfortunately for Francis, Van Gundy's coaching style did not fit the speedy shooting guard's style of play. Even though Francis made the All Star game for a third straight year his stats declined in 2003-04 , dropping from 21.0 PPG 6.2 APG 6.2 RPG to 16.6 PPG 5.5 RPG 6.2 APG. The team, however, made the playoffs for the first time since 1999, which would prove Francis's only post-season experience. Despite his averaging 19.2 ppg, 8.4 rpg, and 7.6 apg, the Rockets lost to the heavily favored Los Angeles Lakers, in five games.

As Francis' relationship with Van Gundy deteriorated it was apparent that the Rockets wanted to go in a different direction. While the coach sought to focus the Rockets offense on Yao, the team ended up trading Francis, along with his best friend on the team Cuttino Mobley and Kelvin Cato, for then scoring champ Tracy McGrady, Juwan Howard, and Reece Gaines.

During Francis' first tenure in Houston, he averaged 19.3 points, 6.4 assists, 6.1 rebounds, and 1.63 steals in 374 games (372 starts).

Orlando Magic (2004–2006)

On June 29, 2004, Francis was traded to the Orlando Magic along with Cuttino Mobley and Kelvin Cato in a seven-player deal that sent Tracy McGrady, Juwan Howard, Tyronn Lue, and Reece Gaines to Houston.[15]

At first, Francis was unhappy with the trade, but adapted to his new environment. Francis flourished in the "run n' gun" offense of interim head coach Chris Jent. After posting a career-low 16.6 points per game the previous year with the Rockets, Francis averaged 21.3 PPG, 7.0 APG and 5.8 RPG in his first season with the Magic. The Magic started out the year fast in the 2004-05 season, with Francis hitting several game-winning shots early in the season.[16][17][18] In the middle of the season, Mobley was traded to the Sacramento Kings, which upset Francis.[19] The Magic slumped late and missed the playoffs.

The following season, a disgruntled Francis was suspended for conduct detrimental to the team.[20] On February 5, 2006, there were rumors that he could be traded to the Denver Nuggets for Earl Watson but they were later dismissed and GM Otis Smith publicly announced that he would not trade Francis.[21] However, rumors persisted that Francis would be traded to the New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Denver Nuggets.[6]

New York Knicks (2006–2007)

On February 22, 2006, one day before the NBA's trade deadline, Steve Francis was traded to the New York Knicks for small forward Trevor Ariza and the expiring contract of shooting guard Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway.[20] Prior to the trade, the Denver Nuggets reportedly offered both Watson and Kenyon Martin for Francis, but the deal never took place.[22] He made his Madison Square Garden debut on Friday, February 24 when the New York Knicks faced the New Jersey Nets, and scored 16 points in a 94-90 loss for the Knicks. He wore jersey #1 with the Knicks as his usual #3 was already assigned to Stephon Marbury.[1] Francis has endured a recurring injury, tendinitis in his right knee, and as a result began the 2006-07 season averaging only 11.3 ppg, as opposed to his career 18.4 ppg. He returned on February 10, 2007 vs the Utah Jazz. On March 10, Francis hit a game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer against the Washington Wizards, ending one of his best games as a Knick in front of his hometown. On 2007 draft night, June 28, the Knicks traded Francis and Channing Frye to the Portland Trail Blazers for Zach Randolph, Dan Dickau, and Fred Jones,[23] who then bought out the remaining two years of Francis's contract for a reported $30 million, making him an unrestricted free agent.[24]

Return to Houston (2007–2008)

The Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, and the L.A. Clippers pursued Francis.[24] On July 20, Francis chose the Rockets; signing a two-year $6 million contract with them, although the Heat offered the most money.[24] However, he failed to make Rick Adelman's rotation coming out of the preseason. He averaged 5.5 points and 3 assists in ten games before undergoing season-ending surgery stemming from an earlier left quadriceps tendon injury.[25]

Francis used his contract option to come back to the Houston Rockets for the 2008–09 NBA season. He lost 15 pounds for training camp, but he was not able to play in the beginning of the season due to the recovery period of his injury.[26] On election day 2008, Francis supported presidential candidate Barack Obama by wearing a red velvet sports jacket with "Barack Obama" spelled on the back in sequins. Francis said he's followed the presidential race closely. "It's important that there is an African-American candidate running," Francis said. "I never thought I'd see the day that would happen. Right now, we're at a pivotal point. It's a great feeling for me." .[27]

Memphis Grizzlies (2008–2009)

The Houston Rockets traded Francis to the Grizzlies on Christmas Eve, 2008. The Rockets sent Francis and a 2009 draft pick that Houston had previously received from the Grizzlies for a conditional pick in 2011. The move allowed the Rockets to drop under the luxury tax threshold. [28]

On January 27, 2009, it was reported that the Grizzlies waived Francis.[29]

Career transactions

NBA career statistics

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field-goal percentage  3P%  3-point field-goal percentage  FT%  Free-throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high

Regular season

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
1999–00 Houston 77 77 36.1 .445 .345 .786 5.3 6.6 1.5 .4 18.0
2000–01 Houston 80 79 39.9 .451 .396 .817 6.9 6.5 1.8 .4 19.9
2001–02 Houston 57 56 41.1 .417 .324 .773 7.0 6.4 1.2 .4 21.6
2002–03 Houston 81 81 41.0 .435 .354 .800 6.2 6.2 1.7 .5 21.0
2003–04 Houston 79 79 40.4 .403 .292 .775 5.5 6.2 1.8 .4 16.6
2004–05 Orlando 78 78 38.2 .423 .299 .823 5.8 7.0 1.4 .4 21.3
2005–06 Orlando 46 45 37.7 .433 .257 .797 4.8 5.7 1.1 .2 16.2
2005–06 New York 24 15 27.5 .442 .538 .761 3.0 3.5 1.0 .2 10.8
2006–07 New York 44 30 28.1 .408 .378 .829 3.6 3.9 .9 .3 11.3
2007–08 Houston 10 3 19.9 .333 .235 .565 2.3 3.0 .9 .5 5.5
Career 576 543 37.6 .429 .341 .797 5.6 6.0 1.5 .3 18.1
All-Star 3 3 24.3 .552 .500 .500 2.7 5.3 .7 .0 12.0

Playoffs

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2003–04 Houston 5 5 44.4 .429 .412 .725 8.4 7.6 1.4 .2 19.2
Career 5 5 44.4 .429 .412 .725 8.4 7.6 1.4 .2 19.2

References

  1. ^ a b c Associated Press (2007-07-20). "Francis hoping new-found maturity helps strengthen Rockets' title hopes". ESPN. http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=2943970. Retrieved 2008-08-28.  
  2. ^ a b Rockets Training Camp Bios
  3. ^ Mike Tulumello (2005-01-09). "Inside the NBA - Blazers have lost an estimated $147M in last 2 years". East Valley Tribune. http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/story/34474. Retrieved 2008-08-28.  
  4. ^ Frank Isola (1998-12-07). "FRANCIS CARRIES MARYLAND". New York Daily News. http://www.nydailynews.com/archives/sports/1998/12/07/1998-12-07_francis_carries_maryland.html. Retrieved 2008-08-28.  
  5. ^ Jackie MacMullan (1999-05-18). "Lottery Bound?: Francis Aims to Be Top Pick". Sports Illustrated. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/inside_game/magazine/basketball/nba/news/1999/05/18/nba0524/#2. Retrieved 2008-08-28.  
  6. ^ a b c Howard Beck (2006-03-01). "As Francis Starts Over, Knicks Seem a Good Fit". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/01/sports/basketball/01francis.html?_r=1&oref=slogin. Retrieved 2008-08-29.  
  7. ^ Associated Press (1998-12-07). "COLLEGE BASkETBALL: MEN'S ROUNDUP -- BB&T CLASSIC; Maryland Edges Past Stanford And Answers Many Questions". New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C01E0DE173AF934A35751C1A96E958260. Retrieved 2008-08-28.  
  8. ^ Joe White (2002-02-18). "Rockets light up Wizards". USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/sports/nba/games/2002-02-18-wizards-rockets.htm. Retrieved 2008-08-28.  
  9. ^ "Say It Ain't So: Vancouver Grizzlies". CNNSI.com. 2001. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/basketball/nba/news/2001/07/04/sayitaintso_grizzlies/. Retrieved 2008-08-28.  
  10. ^ "Selling Steve Francis". washingtonian.com. 2000. http://www.washingtonian.com/articles/people/6648.html. Retrieved 2009-04-15.  
  11. ^ Associated Press (1999-09-01). "Rockets Sign Steve Francis". CBS News. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/1999/09/01/archive/main60791.shtml. Retrieved 2008-08-29.  
  12. ^ Associated Press (2000-05-09). "Bull, Rocket Win Rookie Award". CBS News. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2000/05/09/archive/main193490.shtml. Retrieved 2008-08-29.  
  13. ^ "Vinsational - Carter captures slam dunk championship". cnnsi.com. 2000-02-13. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/basketball/nba/2000/all_star/news/2000/02/12/slamdunk_contest_/. Retrieved 2008-12-20.  
  14. ^ a b David DuPree (2003-02-04). "Francis has Rockets soaring". USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/sports/basketball/nba/rockets/2003-02-04-cover-francis_x.htm. Retrieved 2008-08-29.  
  15. ^ John Denton (2004-06-29). "McGrady-Francis swap official, finally". USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/sports/basketball/nba/2004-06-29-mcgrady-francis-deal_x.htm. Retrieved 2008-10-08.  
  16. ^ Associated Press (2004-11-04). "Hill, Francis Spark Orlando". Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A24150-2004Nov3.html. Retrieved 2008-10-08.  
  17. ^ Associated Press (2004-11-05). "Francis hits second game-winner to lift Magic". USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/sports/basketball/games/2004-11-05-magic-hornets_x.htm. Retrieved 2008-10-08.  
  18. ^ John Denton (2005-02-01). "Magic survive refs' call to edge Cavs". Florida Today. USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/sports/basketball/games/2005-02-01-cavs-magic_x.htm. Retrieved 2008-10-08.  
  19. ^ John Denton (2005-01-11). "Magic, Kings swap Mobley for Christie, miffing Francis". USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/sports/basketball/nba/2005-01-10-magic-kings-trade_x.htm. Retrieved 2008-08-28.  
  20. ^ a b Michael Lee (2006-02-23). "Magic Ships Francis to the Knicks". Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/22/AR2006022201615.html. Retrieved 2008-08-28.  
  21. ^ Chris Tomasson (2006-02-06). "Magic shoots down Francis report". Rocky Mountain News. http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/nba/article/0,2777,DRMN_23922_4444404,00.html. Retrieved 2008-08-28.  
  22. ^ Howard Beck (2006-02-23). "Knicks Deal 2 Backups for Another Star Guard". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/23/sports/23knicks.html. Retrieved 2008-08-28.  
  23. ^ Marc Stein (2007-06-29). "Randolph heading to Knicks, Francis shipped to Blazers in draft-day trade". ESPN. http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=2919929. Retrieved 2008-08-29.  
  24. ^ a b c Chris Broussard (2007-07-19). "Francis' deal with Rockets worth $6 million". ESPN. http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=2942354. Retrieved 2008-08-29.  
  25. ^ Associated Press (2008-02-07). "Rockets' Francis to have season-ending knee surgery". ESPN. http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=3235647. Retrieved 2008-08-29.  
  26. ^ "Rockets notes: T-Mac criticizes Nowitzki's flagrant foul". Houston Chronicle. 2008-03-05. http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/sports/bk/bkn/5593170.html. Retrieved 2008-08-29.  
  27. ^ "Rockets' Steve Francis makes pro-Obama fashion statement before Celtics game". Projo Sports Blog. 2008-11-05. http://sportsblog.projo.com/2008/11/rockets-steve-f.html. Retrieved 2009-11-8.  
  28. ^ Fran Blinebury (2008-12-24). "Rockets trade guard Francis to Grizzlies". Houston Chronicle. http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/6180662.html. Retrieved 2008-12-24.  
  29. ^ Ronald Tillery (2009-01-27). "Grizz waive recently-acquired Francis". Commercial Appeal. http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=3864959. Retrieved 2009-01-27.  
  30. ^ NBA.com - Player Movement 2004
  31. ^ Magic Acquire Ariza, Hardaway for Francis
  32. ^ Knicks Acquire Randolph, Dickau and Jones
  33. ^ Trail Blazers Acquire James Jones and Draft Rights to Rudy Fernandez, Waive Steve Francis
  34. ^ Francis, a three-time All-Star, returning to Rockets
  35. ^ Grizzlies reacquire 2nd round pick from Houston
  36. ^ Grizzlies waive guard Steve Francis

External links

Preceded by
Vince Carter
Co-NBA Rookie of the Year
2000 with Elton Brand
Succeeded by
Mike Miller

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