1996–97 Los Angeles Lakers season

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1996–97 Los Angeles Lakers season
Kobe Bryant's rookie season
Head coach Del Harris
Owner(s) Jerry Buss
Arena Great Western Forum
Results
Record 56–26 (.683)
Place Division: 2nd (Pacific)
Conference: 4th (Western)
Playoff finish West Semifinals
(eliminated 1–4)

Stats @ Basketball-Reference.com
Local media
Television Fox Sports West, KCAL
Radio AM 570 KLAC
< 1995–96 1997–98 >

The 1996–97 NBA season was the Los Angeles Lakers' 49th season in the NBA and 37th in the city of Los Angeles.[1] The Lakers finished second in the Pacific Division with a 56–26 record. In the postseason, the Lakers defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 3–1 in the first round, but lost 4–1 in the semifinals to the Utah Jazz.

The preceding offseason was highlighted by the signing of Shaquille O'Neal to a seven-year, $120 million deal,[2] and the trade for the 13th pick of the 1996 NBA draft, Kobe Bryant, in exchange for Vlade Divac.[3]

Draft picks[edit]

Round Pick Player Position Nationality College
1 24 Derek Fisher Guard  United States Arkansas–Little Rock

Before he was chosen as the 13th overall draft pick by the Charlotte Hornets in 1996, the 17-year-old Bryant had made a lasting impression on then-Lakers general manager Jerry West, who immediately foresaw potential in Bryant's basketball ability during pre-draft workouts. He went on to state that Bryant's workouts were some of the best he had seen. Immediately after the draft, Bryant expressed that he did not wish to play for the Hornets and wanted to play for the Lakers instead. Fifteen days later, West traded his starting center, Vlade Divac to the Hornets for the young Kobe Bryant.

Roster[edit]

Starter

Backup

Reserve

Inactive

Regular season[edit]

Kobe’s Rookie Season[edit]

During his first season, Bryant mostly came off the bench behind guards Eddie Jones and Nick Van Exel. Initially, he played limited minutes, but as the season continued, he began to see some more playing time. He earned himself a reputation as a high-flyer and a fan-favorite by winning the 1997 Slam Dunk Contest.

Season standings[edit]

Pacific Division W L PCT GB Home Road Div
y-Seattle SuperSonics 57 25 .695 31–10 26–15 16–8
x-Los Angeles Lakers 56 26 .683 1 31–10 25–16 18–6
x-Portland Trail Blazers 49 33 .598 8 29–12 20–21 15–9
x-Phoenix Suns 40 42 .488 17 25–16 15–26 13–11
x-Los Angeles Clippers 36 46 .439 21 21–20 15–26 10–14
Sacramento Kings 34 48 .415 23 22–19 12–29 8–16
Golden State Warriors 30 52 .366 27 18–23 12–29 4–20
# Western Conference
Team W L PCT GB
1 c-Utah Jazz 64 18 .780
2 y-Seattle SuperSonics 57 25 .695 7
3 x-Houston Rockets 57 25 .695 7
4 x-Los Angeles Lakers 56 26 .683 8
5 x-Portland Trail Blazers 49 33 .598 15
6 x-Minnesota Timberwolves 40 42 .488 24
7 x-Phoenix Suns 40 42 .488 24
8 x-Los Angeles Clippers 36 46 .439 28
9 Sacramento Kings 34 48 .415 30
10 Golden State Warriors 30 52 .366 34
11 Dallas Mavericks 24 58 .293 40
12 Denver Nuggets 21 61 .256 43
13 San Antonio Spurs 20 62 .244 44
14 Vancouver Grizzlies 14 68 .171 50

Game log[edit]

Playoffs[edit]

West First Round[edit]

(4) Los Angeles Lakers vs. (5) Portland Trail Blazers Last Playoff Meeting: 1992 Western Conference First Round (Portland won 3–1)

Game Date Home Score Visitor Score Record

(LAL-POR)

Venue Recap Television
1 April 25 L.A. Lakers 95 Portland 77 1-0 Great Western Forum, Los Angeles, California 1 TNT
2 April 27 L.A. Lakers 107 Portland 93 2-0 Great Western Forum, Los Angeles, California 2 NBC
3 April 30 Portland 98 L.A. Lakers 90 2-1 Rose Garden, Portland, Oregon 3 TNT
4 May 2 Portland 91 L.A. Lakers 95 3-1 Rose Garden, Portland, Oregon 4 TNT
L.A. Lakers win series 3–1

West Conference Semifinals[edit]

(1) Utah Jazz vs. (4) Los Angeles Lakers Last Playoff Meeting: 1988 Western Conference Semifinals (Los Angeles won 4-3)

Game Date Home Score Visitor Score Record

(UTAH-LAL)

Venue Recap Television
1 May 4 Utah 93 Los Angeles 77 1-0 Delta Center, Salt Lake City, Utah 1 NBC
2 May 6 Utah 103 Los Angeles 101 2-0 Delta Center, Salt Lake City, Utah 2
3 May 8 Los Angeles 104 Utah 84 2-1 Great Western Forum, Los Angeles, California 3
4 May 10 Los Angeles 95 Utah 110 3-1 Great Western Forum, Los Angeles, California 4 NBC
5 May 12 Utah 98 Los Angeles 93 4-1 Delta Center, Salt Lake City, Utah 5 TNT
Utah wins series 4–1

Player stats[edit]

Note: GP= Games played; REB= Rebounds; AST= Assists; STL = Steals; BLK = Blocks; PTS = Points; AVG = Average

Season[edit]

Player GP REB AST STL BLK PTS AVG
Nick Van Exel 79 2.9 8.5 0.9 0.1 1206 15.3
Derek Fisher 80 1.2 1.5 0.5 0.1 309 3.9
Shaquille O'Neal 51 12.5 3.1 0.9 2.9 1336 26.2

Playoffs[edit]

Awards and records[edit]

Transactions[edit]

References[edit]