1978–79 Portland Trail Blazers season

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1978–79 Portland Trail Blazers season
Head coach Jack Ramsay
Arena Memorial Coliseum
Results
Record 45–37 (.549)
Place Division: 4th (Pacific)
Conference: 6th (Western)
Playoff finish West First Round (eliminated 1-2)

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

The 1978–79 season was the ninth season of the Portland Trail Blazers in the National Basketball Association (NBA).

During the offseason, MVP Bill Walton demanded to be traded, citing unethical and incompetent treatment of his and other players' injuries by the Blazers' front office. He did not get his wish and sat out the 1978–79 season in protest, signing with the San Diego Clippers when he became a free agent in 1979.[1]

Before the draft, Larry Bird had just finished his junior year at Indiana State. However, he was eligible to be drafted without applying for "hardship" because his original college class at the Indiana University had graduated.[2][3] He initially enrolled at Indiana in 1974 but dropped out before the season began. After sitting out a year, he enrolled at Indiana State.[4] Despite being eligible for the draft, he stated that he would return to college for his senior season. His hometown team, the Indiana Pacers, initially held the first overall pick. However, when they failed to persuade him to leave college early, they traded the first pick to the Blazers, who also failed to convince him into signing; ultimately the Blazers used the first pick on Minnesota standout center Mychal Thompson.[5][6]

As a result, the Blazers fell 13 games from their franchise-best record of the previous year, barely squeezing into the playoffs with a 45–37 record that earned them the sixth and final seed, only two games better than the Clippers.

The Blazers were ousted from the 1979 NBA Playoffs after losing their best-of-three series to the Phoenix Suns, two games to one.

Draft picks[edit]

Main article: 1978 NBA Draft

Note: This is not a complete list; only the first two rounds are covered, as well as any other picks by the franchise who played at least one NBA game.

Round Pick Player Position Nationality School/Club Team
1 1 Mychal Thompson F/C  Bahamas Minnesota
1 7 Ron Brewer G  United States Arkansas
2 24 Keith Herron G/F  United States Villanova
2 44 Clemon Johnson F/C  United States Florida A&M
5 110 Clay Johnson G  United States Missouri

Roster[edit]

Regular season[edit]

The Trail Blazers played their home games at Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Season 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


z - clinched division title
y - clinched division title
x - clinched playoff spot

Game log[edit]

Playoffs[edit]

West First Round[edit]

(3) Phoenix Suns vs. (6) Portland Trail Blazers: Suns win series 2-1

  • Game 1 @ Phoenix: Phoenix 107, Portland 103
  • Game 2 @ Portland: Portland 96, Phoenix 92
  • Game 3 @ Phoenix: Phoenix 101, Portland 91

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

Playoffs[edit]

Player GP GS MPG FG% 3FG% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG

Awards and honors[edit]

Transactions[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Love, Matt (2007). Red Hot and Rollin': A Retrospection of the Portland Trail Blazers' 1976–77 NBA Championship Season. Pacific City, Oregon: Nestucca Spit Press. p. 119. ISBN 978-0-9744364-8-7. 
  2. ^ "Larry Bird Bio". NBA.com. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. Archived from the original on 1 September 2010. Retrieved September 27, 2010. 
  3. ^ "If Blazers draft Bird, they won't wait year to sign him". The Bulletin (Bend, Oregon). June 6, 2010. Retrieved October 1, 2010. 
  4. ^ Deford, Frank (March 21, 1988). "A Player for the Ages". Sports Illustrated. Time Warner Company. Retrieved October 1, 2010. 
  5. ^ Sachare, Alex (June 11, 1978). "Thompson picked first". Daily News (Bowling Green, Kentucky). Retrieved October 1, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Blazers Get No. 1 Pick". Sarasota Journal (Sarasota, Florida: Lindsay Newspapers Inc). June 9, 2010. Retrieved October 1, 2010.