1997–98 New Jersey Nets season

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1997–98 New Jersey Nets season
Keith Van Horn's rookie season
Head coach John Calipari
Arena Meadowlands Arena
Results
Record 43–39 (.524)
Place Division: 3rd (Atlantic)
Conference: 8th (Eastern)
Playoff finish Lost 1st Round
Local media
Television SportsChannel New York, WPXN
Radio WOR
< 1996–97 1998–99 >

The 1997–98 NBA season was the Nets' 22nd season in the NBA.[1] 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. [2]

The Nets new logo and home uniforms lasted until 2012, while the road jerseys lasted until 2009.

Offseason[edit]

NBA Draft[edit]

Main article: 1997 NBA Draft
Round Pick Player Position Nationality School/Club Team
1 7 Tim Thomas (traded to Philadelphia) SF  United States Villanova
1 21 Anthony Parker (from L.A. Lakers) SG  United States Bradley

Roster[edit]

New Jersey Nets roster
Players Coaches
Pos. No. Name Height Weight DOB (YYYY–MM–DD) From
PF 45 United States Cage, Michael 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 224 lb (102 kg) San Diego State
PG 10 United States Cassell, Sam 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 185 lb (84 kg) Florida State
PG 20 United States Douglas, Sherman 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) 180 lb (82 kg) Syracuse
SF 11 United States Evans, Brian 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 220 lb (100 kg) Indiana
PF 15 United States Gatling, Chris 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 220 lb (100 kg) Old Dominion
SF 13 United States Gill, Kendall 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 195 lb (88 kg) Illinois
C 54 United States Haley, Jack 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 240 lb (109 kg) UCLA
SG 12 United States Harris, Lucious 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 190 lb (86 kg) Long Beach State
SG 30 United States Kittles, Kerry 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 179 lb (81 kg) Villanova
PF 24 United States MacLean, Don 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 235 lb (107 kg) UCLA
C 2 Lebanon Seikaly, Rony 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m) 230 lb (104 kg) Syracuse
PF 44 United States Van Horn, Keith 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 220 lb (100 kg) Utah
PF 42 United States Vaughn, David 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 240 lb (109 kg) Memphis
C 55 United States Williams, Jayson 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 240 lb (109 kg) St. John's
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Unsigned draft pick
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (S) Suspended
  • Injured Injured

Regular season[edit]

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.[3] Williams became the first Net to appear in an All-Star Game since 1994.[3] 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.[3] 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.[3] 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.

Season standings[edit]

Atlantic Division W L PCT GB Home Road Div
y-Miami Heat 55 27 .671 30-11 25–16 18–6
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
Washington Wizards 42 40 .512 13 24–17 18–23 12–13
Orlando Magic 41 41 .500 14 24–17 17–24 11–13
Boston Celtics 36 46 .439 19 24–17 12–29 12–23
Philadelphia 76ers 31 51 .378 24 19–22 12–29 7–17


Schedule[edit]

Game Date Opponent Result Nets points Opponents Record Streak Notes
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

[4]

Playoffs[edit]

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.[3] 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[edit]

(1) Chicago Bulls vs. (8) New Jersey Nets Last Playoff Meeting: This is the first meeting between the Bulls and Nets.

Game Date Home Score Visitor Score Record

(CHI-NJN)

Venue Box score Television
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

Player stats[edit]

Note: GP= Games played; MIN= Minutes; STL= Steals; REB = Rebounds; AST = Assists; BLK = Blocks; PTS = Points

Player GP MIN STL REB AST BLK PTS

Awards, Records and Honors[edit]

References[edit]