1977–78 Phoenix Suns season

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1977–78 Phoenix Suns season
Head coach John MacLeod
General manager Jerry Colangelo
Owner(s) Richard Bloch
Arena Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
Results
Record 49–33 (.598)
Place Division: 2nd (Pacific)
Conference: 3rd (Western)
Playoff finish Lost in first round to Milwaukee (0–2)

Stats @ Basketball-Reference.com
Radio KTAR
< 1976–77 1978–79 >

The 1977–78 Phoenix Suns season was the tenth season for the Phoenix Suns of the National Basketball Association. The team finished second in a Pacific division that did not have a team finish below .500, as the Suns returned to the playoffs for the third time in franchise history. The Suns were led by head coach John MacLeod and played all home games in Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Both Paul Westphal and Walter Davis, a rookie from the University of North Carolina, were selected to participate in the All-Star Game and by the end of the season, both were members of the All-NBA Second Team. Davis became the second Sun in three years to be selected as Rookie of the Year, an award teammate Alvan Adams had collected after the 1975–76 season.

Both Westphal and rookie Davis averaged career-highs in scoring, averaging 25.2 and 24.2 points a game. The combined averaged of 49.4 points made for the league's highest-scoring duo on the season. Additionally, Westphal and Davis broke a franchise record of 45.9 points a game, a mark set by Connie Hawkins and Dick Van Arsdale during the 1969–70 season.

Offseason[edit]

NBA Draft[edit]

Main article: 1977 NBA Draft
Round Pick Player Position Nationality College
1 5 Walter Davis Guard  United States North Carolina
3 66 Mike Bratz Guard  United States Stanford
4 71 Greg Griffin Forward  United States Idaho State
5 93 Cecil Rellford Forward  United States St. John's
6 115 Billy McKinney Guard  United States Northwestern
7 136 Alvin Scott Forward  United States Oral Roberts
8 156 Alvin Joseph Center  United States California-Riverside

The Suns used their first-round pick to select swingman Walter Davis from North Carolina. Davis averaged 15.7 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game in four years with the Tar Heels. He would make an immediate impact with the Suns, helping the team make a 15-game improvement and return to the playoffs. Averaging 24.2 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game his first season, Davis was named Rookie of the Year, receiving 49 1/4 of 66 votes.[1] He would also be named to the All-NBA Second Team, and would finish fifth in Most Valuable Player voting, behind winner Bill Walton, George Gervin, David Thompson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.[2] Davis spent his first eleven seasons with the Suns before joining the Denver Nuggets as the league's second unrestricted free agent in 1988. He left as the Suns' all-time leading scorer (15,666 points), and had his #6 jersey retired by the franchise in 1994.

Roster[edit]

Phoenix Suns roster
Players Coaches
Pos. # Nat. Name Height Weight DOB (Y-M-D) From
C 33 United States Adams, Alvan 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 210 lb (95 kg) 1954-07-19 Oklahoma
C 21 United States Awtrey, Dennis 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 235 lb (107 kg) 1948-02-22 Santa Clara
G 23 United States Bratz, Mike 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) 185 lb (84 kg) 1955-10-17 Stanford
G 10 United States Buse, Don 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 190 lb (86 kg) 1950-08-10 Evansville
G/F 6 United States Davis, Walter 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 193 lb (88 kg) 1954-09-09 North Carolina
C 35 United States Forrest, Bayard 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 235 lb (107 kg) 1954-07-08 Grand Canyon
F 25 United States Griffin, Greg 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 190 lb (86 kg) 1952-09-06 Idaho State
F 24 United States Heard, Garfield 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 219 lb (99 kg) 1948-05-03 Oklahoma
G 30 United States Lee, Ron 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 193 lb (88 kg) 1952-11-02 Oregon
F 18 United States Perry, Curtis Injured 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 220 lb (100 kg) 1948-09-13 Missouri State
F 14 United States Scott, Alvin 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 185 lb (84 kg) 1955-09-14 Oral Roberts
F 32 United States Terrell, Ira Injured (IN) 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 200 lb (91 kg) 1954-06-19 Southern Methodist
G 44 United States Westphal, Paul 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 195 lb (88 kg) 1950-11-30 Southern California
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)
Athletic trainer(s)

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Unsigned draft pick
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (S) Suspended
  • Injured Injured

Depth chart[edit]

Pos. Starter Bench Reserve Inactive
C Alvan Adams Dennis Awtrey Bayard Forrest
PF Gar Heard Greg Griffin Curtis Perry Injured
Ira Terrell Injured
SF Walter Davis Alvin Scott
SG Paul Westphal Ron Lee
PG Don Buse Mike Bratz

Regular season[edit]

Standings[edit]

Pacific Division W L PCT GB Home Road Div
y-Portland Trail Blazers 58 24 .707 36–5 22–19 13–3
x-Phoenix Suns 49 33 .598 9 34–7 15–26 8–8
x-Seattle SuperSonics 47 35 .573 11 31–10 16–25 8–8
x-Los Angeles Lakers 45 37 .549 13 29–12 16–25 6–10
Golden State Warriors 43 39 .524 15 30–11 13–28 5–11
# Western Conference
Team W L PCT GB
1 z-Portland Trail Blazers 58 24 .707
2 y-Denver Nuggets 48 34 .585 10
3 x-Phoenix Suns 49 33 .598 9
4 x-Seattle SuperSonics 47 35 .573 11
5 x-Los Angeles Lakers 45 37 .549 13
6 x-Milwaukee Bucks 44 38 .537 14
7 Golden State Warriors 43 39 .524 15
8 Chicago Bulls 40 42 .488 18
9 Detroit Pistons 38 44 .463 20
10 Indiana Pacers 31 51 .378 27
10 Kansas City Kings 31 51 .378 27



Game log[edit]

1977–78 game log
Total: 49–33 (Home: 34–7; Road: 15–26)
1977–78 season schedule

Playoffs[edit]

Game log[edit]

1978 playoff game log
1978 playoff schedule

Awards and honors[edit]

All-Star[edit]

  • Paul Westphal was voted as a starter for the Western Conference in the All-Star Game. It was his second consecutive All-Star selection. Westphal finished second in voting among Western Conference guards with 264,006 votes.
  • Walter Davis was selected as a reserve for the Western Conference in the All-Star Game. It was his first All-Star selection.

Season[edit]

Player statistics[edit]

Legend
  GP Games played   GS Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  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

Season[edit]

Player GP GS MPG FG% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
Alvan Adams 70 49 27.3 .485 .730 8.1 3.2 1.2 .9 15.5
Dennis Awtrey 81 34 20.0 .424 .633 3.7 2.0 .2 .3 3.6
Mike Bratz 80 0 11.7 .403 .824 1.4 1.5 .5 .1 4.7
Don Buse 82 82 31.1 .458 .824 3.0 4.8 2.3 .2 8.4
Walter Davis 81 81 32.0 .526 .830 6.0 3.4 1.4 .2 24.2
Bayard Forrest 64 0 13.9 .466 .476 3.9 2.0 .4 .5 4.2
Greg Griffin 36 0 11.7 .361 .639 2.9 0.7 .4 .0 4.0
Garfield Heard 80 73 26.2 .424 .612 8.2 1.7 1.6 1.3 7.8
Ron Lee 82 2 23.5 .439 .746 3.1 3.7 2.7 .2 12.2
Curtis Perry 45 4 18.2 .453 .785 5.6 1.1 .8 .5 6.0
Alvin Scott 81 5 19.0 .488 .691 4.4 1.1 .6 .5 6.1
Paul Westphal 80 80 31.0 .516 .813 2.1 5.5 1.7 .4 25.2

Playoffs[edit]

Player GP GS MPG FG% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
Alvan Adams 2 2 35.5 .455 1.000 8.0 2.0 1.0 .5 16.0
Dennis Awtrey 2 0 12.0 .250 1.000 1.0 1.5 .5 .0 1.5
Mike Bratz 2 0 4.5 .200 . 0.0 0.5 .0 .0 1.0
Don Buse 2 2 38.0 .364 . 2.5 2.0 2.0 .0 4.0
Walter Davis 2 2 33.0 .475 .750 8.5 4.0 1.5 .0 25.0
Bayard Forrest 1 0 3.0 1.000 . 0.0 0.0 .0 .0 2.0
Greg Griffin 2 0 12.5 .429 . 2.0 1.5 .5 .5 3.0
Garfield Heard 2 2 31.0 .353 .500 8.0 2.5 1.0 2.0 6.5
Ron Lee 2 0 20.5 .313 1.000 3.0 1.5 2.0 .0 6.0
Alvin Scott 2 0 18.5 .500 .833 3.0 1.5 1.0 .0 6.5
Paul Westphal 2 2 33.0 .468 .889 3.0 9.5 .5 .0 26.0

Transactions[edit]

Trades[edit]

July 15, 1977
To Portland Trail Blazers---- To Phoenix Suns----
September 6, 1977
To Indiana Pacers---- To Phoenix Suns----

Free agents[edit]

Additions[edit]

Date Player Contract Old Team
July 23, 1977 Freeman Blade Undisclosed
February 16, 1978 Greg Griffin Undisclosed Phoenix Suns

Subtractions[edit]

Date Player Reason Left New Team
April 10, 1977 Tom Van Arsdale Retired
May 12, 1977 Dick Van Arsdale Retired
June 6, 1977 Keith Erickson Retired
August 23, 1977 Billy McKinney Waived Kansas City Kings
October 17, 1977 Freeman Blade Waived
October 17, 1977 Butch Feher Waived
November 14, 1977 Greg Griffin Waived Phoenix Suns

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Suns' Walter Davis Named NBA Rookie Of The Year". nba.com/history. 
  2. ^ "1977-78 NBA Awards Voting". basketball-reference.com.