1997–98 San Antonio Spurs season

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1997–98 San Antonio Spurs season
Tim Duncan's rookie season
Head coach Gregg Popovich
Owner(s) Peter Holt
Arena Alamodome
Results
Record 56–26 (.683)
Place Division: 2nd (Midwest)
Conference: 4th (Western)
Playoff finish West Semifinals
(eliminated 1–4)

Stats @ Basketball-Reference.com
Local media
Television Fox Sports Southwest, KRRT
Radio KRIO
< 1996–97 1998–99 >

The 1997–98 San Antonio Spurs season was the 31st as a franchise, the 25th in San Antonio, and the 22nd season in the National Basketball Association (NBA).[1] The Spurs finished second in the Midwest Division with a 56–26 record. The Spurs defeated the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference First Round, but lost to the Utah Jazz in the semifinals.

After finishing with the third-worst record in 1996–97, the Spurs won the 1997 NBA Draft Lottery, dubbed as the “Tim Duncan sweepstakes.”[2]

NBA Draft[edit]

Round Pick Player Position Nationality College
1 1 Tim Duncan Forward/Center  United States Virgin Islands Wake Forest

Roster[edit]

Starter

Backup

Reverse

Inactive

Regular season[edit]

Tim Duncan[edit]

The Spurs were coming off a poor 1996–97 NBA season; in which their best player, David Robinson—himself a number one draft pick in 1987—was sidelined for most of the year with an injury. The Spurs had finished with a 20–62 win-loss record.[3] However, as the 1997-98 NBA season approached, the Spurs were considered a notable threat in the NBA. With both an experienced center in Robinson and the number one pick in Duncan, the Spurs featured one of the best frontcourts in the NBA. Duncan and Robinson became known as the "Twin Towers", having earned a reputation for their exceptional defense close to the basket, forcing opponents to take lower percentage shots from outside. From the beginning, Duncan established himself as a quality player: in his second-ever road game, he grabbed 22 rebounds against opposing Chicago Bulls power forward Dennis Rodman, a multiple rebounding champion and NBA Defensive Player of the Year.[4] Later, when Duncan played against opposing Houston Rockets Hall-of-Fame power forward Charles Barkley, Barkley was so impressed he said: "I have seen the future and he wears number 21 [Duncan's jersey number]."[5] In his rookie season, Duncan lived up the expectations of being the number one draft pick, starting in all 82 regular-season games, and averaging 21.1 points, 11.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.5 blocks per game. His defensive contributions ensured that he was elected to the All-Defensive Second Team and was also named NBA Rookie of the Year. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich lauded Duncan's mental toughness, stating his rookie's "demeanor was singularly remarkable", Duncan always "put things into perspective" and never got "too upbeat or too depressed."[6] Center Robinson was equally impressed with Duncan: "He's the real thing. I'm proud of his attitude and effort. He gives all the extra effort and work and wants to become a better player."[7]

Season standings[edit]

Midwest Division W L PCT GB Home Road Div
y-Utah Jazz 62 20 .756 36–5 26–15 22–2
x-San Antonio Spurs 56 26 .683 6 31–10 25–16 18–6
x-Minnesota Timberwolves 45 37 .549 17 26–15 19–22 14–10
x-Houston Rockets 41 41 .500 21 24–17 17–24 14–10
Dallas Mavericks 20 62 .244 42 13–28 7–34 9–15
Vancouver Grizzlies 19 63 .232 43 14–27 5–36 4–20
Denver Nuggets 11 71 .134 51 9–32 2–39 3–21


Game log[edit]

Playoffs[edit]

West First Round[edit]

(4) Phoenix Suns vs. (5) San Antonio Spurs Last Playoff Meeting: 1996 Western Conference First Round (San Antonio won 3-1)

Game Date Home Score Visitor Score Record

(PHO-SAS)

Venue Box score Television
1 April 23 Phoenix 96 San Antonio 102 0-1 America West Arena, Phoenix, Arizona 1 TNT 10:30et
2 April 25 Phoenix 108 San Antonio 101 1-1 America West Arena, Phoenix, Arizona 2 NBC 3:30et
3 April 27 San Antonio 100 Phoenix 88 1-2 Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas 3 TNT 9:30et
4 April 29 San Antonio 99 Phoenix 80 1-3 Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas 4 TBS 8:00et
San Antonio wins series 3–1

West Conference Semifinals[edit]

(1) Utah Jazz vs. (5) San Antonio Spurs Last Playoff Meeting: 1996 Western Conference Semifinals (Utah won 4-2)

Game Date Home Score Visitor Score Record

(UTA-SAS)

Venue Box score Television
1 May 5 Utah 83 San Antonio 82 1-0 Delta Center, Salt Lake City, Utah 1 TNT 10:30et
2 May 7 Utah 109 San Antonio 106 2-0 Delta Center, Salt Lake City, Utah 2 TNT 10:30et
3 May 9 San Antonio 86 Utah 64 2-1 Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas 3 NBC 3:30et
4 May 10 San Antonio 73 Utah 82 3-1 Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas 4 TNT 9:00et
5 May 12 Utah 87 San Antonio 77 4-1 Delta Center, Salt Lake City, Utah 5 TNT 8:00et
Utah wins series 4–1

Player statistics[edit]

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

Season[edit]

Player GP GS MPG FG% 3FG% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
Cory Alexander
Vinny Del Negro
Tim Duncan
Sean Elliott
Carl Herrera
Jaren Jackson
Avery Johnson
Brad Lohaus
Will Perdue
Chuck Person
David Robinson
Malik Rose
Monty Williams

Playoffs[edit]

Player GP GS MPG FG% 3FG% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
Vinny Del Negro
Tim Duncan
Reggie Geary
Carl Herrera
Jaren Jackson
Avery Johnson
Brad Lohaus
Will Perdue
Chuck Person
David Robinson
Malik Rose
Monty Williams

Award winners[edit]

  • Tim Duncan, Forward, NBA Rookie of the Year
  • Tim Duncan, Forward, All-NBA First Team
  • Tim Duncan, Forward, All-NBA Rookie First Team
  • Tim Duncan, Forward, All-NBA Second Defensive Team
  • David Robinson, Center, All-NBA Second Team
  • David Robinson, Center, All-NBA Second Defensive Team

Transactions[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 1997-98 San Antonio Spurs
  2. ^ "Spurs Win the Tim Duncan Sweepstakes". New York Times. May 19, 1997. 
  3. ^ 1996-97 Standings, nba.com/history, accessed 19 April 2007.
  4. ^ Kernan, Kevin (2000). Slam Duncan. p. 47. ISBN 978-1-58261-179-2. 
  5. ^ Kernan, Kevin (2000). Slam Duncan. p. 13. ISBN 978-1-58261-179-2. 
  6. ^ Kernan, Kevin (2000). Slam Duncan. p. 25. ISBN 978-1-58261-179-2. 
  7. ^ Kernan, Kevin (2000). Slam Duncan. p. 44. ISBN 978-1-58261-179-2.