1997–98 New Jersey Nets season
|1997–98 New Jersey Nets season|
|Keith Van Horn's rookie season|
|Head coach||John Calipari|
|Place||Division: 3rd (Atlantic)
Conference: 8th (Eastern)
|Playoff finish||Lost 1st Round|
|Television||SportsChannel New York, WPXN|
The 1997–98 NBA season was the Nets' 22nd season in the NBA. The Nets had a new look and a new logo. A youth movement began to pay off as the Nets made the playoffs by finishing third in the Atlantic Division with a 43–39 record, as rookie Keith Van Horn shook off an early season injury to lead the team in scoring at 19.7 points per game, while being selected to the All-Rookie First Team. However, in the first round of the playoffs, the Nets were given a quick exit by the Chicago Bulls in three straight games. 
The Nets new logo and home uniforms lasted until 2012, while the road jerseys lasted until 2009.
|1||7||Tim Thomas (traded to Philadelphia)||SF||United States||Villanova|
|1||21||Anthony Parker (from L.A. Lakers)||SG||United States||Bradley|
New Jersey Nets roster
The Nets began the season by winning their first four games, and maintained a winning record through all 82 games for the first time in the franchise's NBA history. The Nets clinched a playoff berth with a victory over the Detroit Pistons on the final day of the season. It was the Nets first postseason appearance since 1994, and the season brought excitement back to the Meadowlands. The heart and soul of the Nets was center Jayson Williams, who averaged 13.6 rebounds, (2nd in the NBA), and 12.9 points per game. Williams became the first Net to appear in an All-Star Game since 1994. After missing the first 17 games of the season due to injury, rookie Keith Van Horn quickly acclimated himself to the NBA game and led the Nets in scoring at 19.7 points per game. Another strong presence in the frontcourt was forward Kendall Gill, who averaged 13.4 points per game.
The Nets backcourt consisted of Sam Cassell and Kerry Kittles in the backcourt. Cassell ranked second on the team in scoring, behind Van Horn at 19.6 ppg, and led the Nets in assists with 8.0 apg. Kittles was in his second NBA season, and was third on the team in scoring with 17.2 ppg. The Nets bench included Sherman Douglas (8.0 ppg, 4.0 apg) and Chris Gatling (11.5 ppg, 5.9 rpg). Late in the season, the Nets added depth with the trade for Rony Seikaly, who joined the Nets in a five-player trade with the Orlando Magic on Feb. 19. Seikaly played in only nine games for New Jersey, because of a nagging injury to his right foot.
|x-New York Knicks||43||39||.524||12||28–13||15–26||13–11|
|x-New Jersey Nets||43||39||.524||12||26–15||17–24||12–12|
|1||Fri, Oct 31, 1997||Indiana Pacers||Win||97||95||1-0||Won 1|
|2||Sat, Nov 1, 1997||@ Milwaukee Bucks||Win (OT)||113||109||2-0||Won 2|
|3||Wed, Nov 5, 1997||Golden State Warriors||Win||112||96||3-0||Won 3|
|4||Fri, Nov 7, 1997||Miami Heat||Win||99||87||4-0||Won 4|
Injuries would become a problem in the playoffs for the Nets. In Game 1 against Chicago, Cassell nursed a strained groin and Williams played despite a broken thumb. Williams would manage to get 21 rebounds in the game. The Nets forced overtime at the United Center before falling by a score of 96-93. The Bulls ultimately swept the series, but the Nets' effort suggested that the team had a bright future.
East First Round
|1*||April 24||Chicago||96||New Jersey||93||1-0||United Center, Chicago||1||TNT 8:00et|
|2||April 26||Chicago||96||New Jersey||91||2-0||United Center, Chicago, Illinois||2||NBC 5:30et|
|3||April 29||New Jersey||101||Chicago||116||3-0||Continental Airlines Arena, East Rutherford, New Jersey||3||TNT 7:00et|
|Chicago wins series 3–0
Note: GP= Games played; MIN= Minutes; STL= Steals; REB = Rebounds; AST = Assists; BLK = Blocks; PTS = Points