1978–79 Phoenix Suns season

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1978–79 Phoenix Suns season
Head coach John MacLeod
General manager Jerry Colangelo
Owner(s) Richard Bloch
Arena Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
Results
Record 50–32 (.610)
Place Division: 2nd (Pacific)
Conference: 3rd (Western)
Playoff finish Lost in Conference Finals to Seattle (3–4)

Stats @ Basketball-Reference.com
Radio KTAR
< 1977–78 1979–80 >

The 1978–79 Phoenix Suns season was the 11th season for the Phoenix Suns of the National Basketball Association and the first time they reached the 50-win mark to end the regular season. The team repeated a second-place finish in an expanded Pacific division and the Western Conference's second-best record, thus earning a spot in the playoffs, the franchise's first time extending the season in back-to-back seasons. For the first time since the '75–'76 team, the Suns returned to the Western Conference Finals, before being dispatched by Pacific division champion Seattle in seven games. The Suns were led by head coach John MacLeod and played all home games in Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Paul Westphal, whom led the Suns with his 24 points per game, made his third straight appearance in the All-Star Game and was again named to the All-NBA First Team. Walter Davis followed up his Rookie of the Year Award performance from the previous season with his second consecutive All-Star selection and by season's end, voted to the All-NBA Second Team. Fourth-year big man Alvan Adams hauled in a career-high 9.2 rebounds a game to go with an average of 17.8 points.

Offseason[edit]

NBA Draft[edit]

Main article: 1978 NBA draft
Round Pick Player Position Nationality College
1 19 Marty Byrnes Forward  United States Syracuse
3 63 Joel Kramer Forward  United States San Diego State
4 85 Bob Miller Center  United States Cincinnati
4 88 Wayne Smith Guard  United States California-Irvine
5 107 Andre Wakefield Guard  United States Loyola (IL)
6 128 Charles Thompson Forward  United States Houston
7 149 Steve Malovic Center  United States San Diego State
8 167 George Fowler Center  United States Pacific
9 184 Nate Stokes Forward  United States Grand Canyon
10 199 Lewis Cohen Guard  United States Cal Poly

Roster[edit]

Phoenix Suns roster
Players Coaches
Pos. # Nat. Name Height Weight DOB (Y-M-D) From
F/C 33 United States Adams, Alvan 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 210 lb (95 kg) 1954-07-19 Oklahoma
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 24 United States Heard, Garfield 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 219 lb (99 kg) 1948-05-03 Oklahoma
F 50 United States Kramer, Joel 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 203 lb (92 kg) 1955-11-30 San Diego State
G 12 United States McClain, Ted 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 180 lb (82 kg) 1946-08-30 Tennessee State
F 21 United States Robinson, Leonard 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 225 lb (102 kg) 1951-10-04 Tennessee State
F 14 United States Scott, Alvin 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 185 lb (84 kg) 1955-09-14 Oral Roberts
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)

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 Bayard Forrest
PF Truck Robinson Gar Heard
SF Walter Davis Joel Kramer
SG Paul Westphal Alvin Scott
PG Don Buse Mike Bratz Ted McClain

Regular season[edit]

Standings[edit]

Pacific Division W L PCT GB Home Road Div
y-Seattle SuperSonics 52 30 .634 31-10 21-20 11–9
x-Phoenix Suns 50 32 .610 2 32–9 18–23 11–9
x-Los Angeles Lakers 47 35 .573 5 31–10 16–25 11–9
x-Portland Trail Blazers 45 37 .549 7 33–8 12–29 8–12
San Diego Clippers 43 39 .524 9 29–12 14–27 11–9
Golden State Warriors 38 44 .463 14 23–18 15–26 8–12
# Western Conference
Team W L PCT GB
1 z-Seattle SuperSonics 52 30 .634
2 y-Kansas City Kings 48 34 .585 4
3 x-Phoenix Suns 50 32 .610 2
4 x-Denver Nuggets 47 35 .573 5
5 x-Los Angeles Lakers 47 35 .573 5
6 x-Portland Trail Blazers 45 37 .549 7
7 San Diego Clippers 43 39 .524 9
8 Indiana Pacers 38 44 .463 14
8 Milwaukee Bucks 38 44 .463 14
8 Golden State Warriors 38 44 .463 14
11 Chicago Bulls 31 51 .378 21



Record vs. opponents[edit]

1978–79 NBA records
Team ATL BOS CHI CLE DEN DET GSW HOU IND KCK LAL MIL NJN NOJ NYK PHI PHO POR SAS SDC SEA WAS
Atlanta 2–2 3–1 3–1 3–1 3–1 1–3 3–1 1–3 2–2 1–3 3–0 2–2 2–2 2–2 2–2 2–1 2–2 3–1 3–1 1–3 2–2
Boston 2–2 1–2 2–2 1–3 2–2 2–1 1–3 3–1 1–3 1–3 1–3 1–3 2–2 3–1 2–2 0–4 1–3 0–4 1–3 2–2 0–4
Chicago 1–3 2–1 1–3 2–2 2–2 3–1 2–2 2–2 0–4 1–3 1–3 2–2 2–2 3–1 1–3 1–3 4–0 0–3 0–4 0–4 1–3
Cleveland 1–3 2–2 3–1 1–2 1–3 2–1 2–2 1–3 1–3 2–2 1–3 3–1 2–2 2–2 2–2 0–4 0–4 0–4 2–2 2–2 0–4
Denver 1–3 3–1 2–2 2–1 2–2 4–0 1–3 3–1 1–3 3–1 2–2 4–0 3–1 3–1 0–3 3–1 1–3 3–1 2–2 3–1 1–3
Detroit 1–3 2–2 2–2 3–1 2–2 1–3 2–2 2–2 2–2 2–2 2–1 0–4 2–2 1–3 1–3 0–4 1–3 1–3 2–2 0–3 1–3
Golden State 3–1 1–2 1–3 1–2 0–4 3–1 2–2 2–2 2–2 1–3 2–2 1–3 3–1 3–1 3–1 1–3 2–2 1–3 1–3 3–1 2–2
Houston 1–3 3–1 2–2 2–2 3–1 2–2 2–2 0–4 3–1 2–1 2–2 3–1 4–0 4–0 0–4 2–2 3–1 3–1 2–1 2–2 2–2
Indiana 3–1 1–3 2–2 3–1 1–3 2–2 2–2 4–0 1–3 0–4 2–2 1–2 2–1 2–2 2–2 2–2 3–1 3–1 1–3 0–4 1–3
Kansas City 2–2 3–1 4–0 3–1 3–1 2–2 2–2 1–3 3–1 2–2 2–2 3–1 3–1 2–1 2–2 2–2 1–3 1–3 2–2 2–2 3–0
Los Angeles 3–1 3–1 3–1 2–2 1–3 2–2 3–1 1–2 4–0 2–2 3–1 2–2 2–2 3–0 1–3 2–2 2–2 2–2 2–2 2–2 2–2
Milwaukee 0–3 3–1 3–1 3–1 2–2 1–2 2–2 2–2 2–2 2–2 1–3 2–2 3–1 1–3 2–2 2–2 2–2 1–3 1–3 2–2 1–3
New Jersey 2–2 3–1 2–2 1–3 0–4 4–0 3–1 1–3 2–1 1–3 2–2 2–2 3–1 1–3 2–2 3–0 2–2 0–4 2–2 0–4 1–3
New Orleans 2–2 2–2 2–2 2–2 1–3 2–2 1–3 0–4 1–2 1–3 2–2 1–3 1–3 2–2 2–2 1–3 1–3 2–2 0–4 0–3 0–4
New York 2–2 1–3 1–3 2–2 1–3 3–1 1–3 0–4 2–2 1–2 0–3 3–1 3–1 2–2 2–2 0–4 1–3 1–3 2–2 2–2 1–3
Philadelphia 2–2 2–2 3–1 2–2 3–0 3–1 1–3 4–0 2–2 2–2 3–1 2–2 2–2 2–2 2–2 1–3 1–2 3–1 3–1 1–3 3–1
Phoenix 1–2 4–0 3–1 4–0 1–3 4–0 3–1 2–2 2–2 2–2 2–2 2–2 0–3 3–1 4–0 3–1 3–1 3–1 2–2 1–3 1–3
Portland 2–2 3–1 0–4 4–0 3–1 3–1 2–2 1–3 1–3 3–1 2–2 2–2 2–2 3–1 3–1 2–1 1–3 2–1 2–2 1–3 3–1
San Antonio 1–3 4–0 3–0 4–0 1–3 3–1 3–1 1–3 1–3 3–1 2–2 3–1 4–0 2–2 3–1 1–3 1–3 1–2 4–0 2–2 1–3
San Diego 1–3 3–1 4–0 2–2 2–2 2–2 3–1 1–2 3–1 2–2 2–2 3–1 2–2 4–0 2–2 1–3 2–2 2–2 0–4 2–2 0–3
Seattle 3–1 2–2 4–0 2–2 1–3 3–0 1–3 2–2 4–0 2–2 2–2 2–2 4–0 3–0 2–2 3–1 3–1 3–1 2–2 2–2 2–2
Washington 2–2 4–0 3–1 4–0 3–1 3–1 2–2 2–2 3–1 0–3 2–2 3–1 3–1 4–0 3–1 1–3 3–1 1–3 3–1 3–0 2–2

Game log[edit]

1978–79 game log
Total: 50–32 (Home: 32–9; Road: 18–23)
1978–79 season schedule

Playoffs[edit]

Game log[edit]

1979 playoff game log
1979 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 third consecutive All-Star selection. Westphal finished second in voting among Western Conference guards with 251,829 votes.
  • Walter Davis was selected as a reserve for the Western Conference in the All-Star Game. It was his second consecutive All-Star selection. Davis finished fifth in voting among Western Conference forwards with 118,546 votes.

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 77 74 30.7 .530 .799 9.2 4.7 1.4 .8 17.8
Mike Bratz 77 0 16.8 .454 .818 1.8 2.3 .8 .1 8.1
Don Buse 82 82 31.0 .495 .769 2.6 4.3 1.9 .2 7.8
Marty Byrnes* 43 1 17.1 .489 .730 2.3 1.4 .3 .0 6.8
Walter Davis 79 78 30.8 .561 .831 4.7 4.3 1.9 .3 23.6
Bayard Forrest 75 7 16.6 .434 .539 4.2 2.2 .4 .5 4.0
Garfield Heard 63 37 19.3 .441 .689 5.6 1.0 .8 .9 6.3
Joel Kramer 82 1 17.1 .489 .710 4.1 1.1 .5 .3 5.9
Ron Lee* 43 1 22.0 .452 .712 2.6 3.1 1.6 .1 9.8
Ted McClain 36 0 12.9 .470 .913^ 1.9 1.7 .5 .0 4.6
Truck Robinson* 26 20 29.1 .508 .642 8.7 1.5 .7 .5 16.0
Alvin Scott 81 28 21.4 .535 .714 4.4 1.6 1.0 .8 6.7
Paul Westphal 81 81 32.6 .535 .837^ 2.0 6.5 1.4 .3 24.0

* – Stats with the Suns.
^ – Minimum 125 free throws made.

Playoffs[edit]

Player GP GS MPG FG% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
Alvan Adams 12 12 31.0 .475 .710 7.5 4.4 .9 1.0 12.8
Mike Bratz 15 0 19.5 .496 .763 1.4 2.0 1.0 .2 10.6
Don Buse 15 15 34.1 .405 .727 3.7 3.5 1.5 .3 7.9
Walter Davis 15 15 32.7 .520 .813 4.6 5.3 1.7 .3 22.1
Bayard Forrest 14 0 7.9 .556 .200 2.1 0.8 .3 .1 1.6
Garfield Heard 15 9 21.3 .372 .600 7.1 0.9 .8 1.7 5.5
Joel Kramer 15 3 17.1 .542 .722 3.8 1.3 .6 .5 6.0
Ted McClain 14 0 7.4 .441 .813 1.1 0.9 .4 .0 3.1
Truck Robinson 15 6 26.1 .403 .652 8.1 0.7 .4 .8 10.5
Alvin Scott 15 0 14.5 .385 .619 2.8 1.5 .4 1.1 3.5
Paul Westphal 15 15 35.6 .495 .788 2.2 4.3 1.0 .3 22.4

† – Minimum 20 field goals made.

Transactions[edit]

Trades[edit]

October 11, 1978
To Boston Celtics
To Phoenix Suns
January 12, 1979
To New Orleans Jazz
To Phoenix Suns

Free agents[edit]

Additions[edit]

Date Player Contract Old Team
January 15, 1979 Ted McClain Undisclosed Philadelphia 76ers

Subtractions[edit]

Date Player Reason Left New Team
August 23, 1978 Greg Griffin Suspended for signing overseas
August 23, 1978 Wayne Smith Waived
September 13, 1978 Curtis Perry Retired
October 12, 1978 Ira Terrell Waived New Orleans Jazz
October 12, 1978 Andre Wakefield Waived Chicago Bulls

References[edit]