The 1997NBA draft took place on June 25, 1997 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Although the Celtics had the second worst record in the 1996-97 season and the best odds (36 percent) of winning the lottery with two picks, the Spurs, usually a model of winning and consistency, lost David Robinson and Sean Elliott to injury early in the season and finished with the third worst record, subsequently winning the lottery. Leading up to the draft, there was no doubt that Tim Duncan would be selected at No. 1 by the Spurs, and in fact the rest of the draft was regarded with some skepticism. The Celtics would end up with the third and sixth picks selecting Chauncey Billups and Ron Mercer, both of whom were traded in the next two years.
Note: The Washington Wizards forfeited their 1997 first-round pick in connection with the signing of Juwan Howard. Washington would have had the 17th pick.