1996–97 Washington Bullets season

The 1996–97 NBA season was the Bullets' 36th season in the National Basketball Association.[1] During the offseason, the Bullets acquired Rod Strickland from the Portland Trail Blazers, and signed free agent Tracy Murray. Despite a stellar season last year, Juwan Howard signed a 7-year $100 million contract with the Miami Heat. However, the deal was voided claiming that Miami exceeded their salary cap. The Bullets quickly re-signed Howard, but would lose their first round draft pick next year.[2]

1996–97 Washington Bullets season
Head coachJim Lynam
Bernie Bickerstaff
ArenaUS Airways Arena
Baltimore Arena
Results
Record44–38 (.537)
PlaceDivision: 4th (Atlantic)
Conference: 8th (Eastern)
Playoff finishEast First Round
(eliminated 0-3)

Stats @ Basketball-Reference.com
Local media
TelevisionWDCA
Home Team Sports
RadioWTOP
< 1995–96 1997–98 >

With a record of 22–24 at midseason, the Bullets fired head coach Jim Lynam, then after playing one game under assistant Bob Staak, they hired Bernie Bickerstaff as their new coach. Under Bickerstaff, the Bullets finished the season winning 16 of their final 21 games. On the final day of the regular season, the Bullets defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 85–81 at the Gund Arena to capture the #8 seed in the Eastern Conference. They finished fourth in the Atlantic Division with a 44–38 record, ending an eight-year playoff drought. Chris Webber led the team in scoring, rebounding and block shots. He was also selected for the 1997 NBA All-Star Game.

In the first round of the playoffs, the Bullets were swept by the defending champion Chicago Bulls in three straight games. This would be their final playoff appearance until 2005. Game 3 of that series at US Airways Arena was officially their final game as the "Bullets". Following the season, the team changed its name to the "Wizards".[3]

Draft picksEdit

Round Pick Player Position Nationality College
2 55 Ronnie Henderson   United States LSU

RosterEdit

Washington Bullets roster
Players Coaches
Pos. No. Name Height Weight DOB (YYYY-MM-DD) From
SG 40   Cheaney, Calbert 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 209 lb (95 kg) Indiana
PF 44   Grant, Harvey 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 195 lb (88 kg) Oklahoma
SF 5   Howard, Juwan 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 240 lb (109 kg) Michigan
SG 32   Jackson, Jaren 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 190 lb (86 kg) Georgetown
SG 23   Legler, Tim 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 200 lb (91 kg) La Salle
C 77   Mureșan, Gheorghe 7 ft 7 in (2.31 m) 303 lb (137 kg) Romania
SF 35   Murray, Tracy 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 225 lb (102 kg) UCLA
PG 1   Strickland, Rod 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 175 lb (79 kg) DePaul
PF 30   Wallace, Ben 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 240 lb (109 kg) Virginia Union
PF 4   Webber, Chris 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 245 lb (111 kg) Michigan
PG 12   Whitney, Chris 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) 168 lb (76 kg) Clemson
C 43   Williams, Lorenzo 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 200 lb (91 kg) Stetson
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)

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

Roster

Regular seasonEdit

Season standingsEdit

Atlantic Division W L PCT GB Home Road Div
y-Miami Heat 61 21 .744 29–12 32–9 16–8
x-New York Knicks 57 25 .695 4 31–10 26–15 19–6
x-Orlando Magic 45 37 .549 16 26–15 19–22 13–11
x-Washington Bullets 44 38 .537 17 25–16 19–22 14–10
New Jersey Nets 26 56 .317 35 16–25 10–31 11–13
Philadelphia 76ers 22 60 .268 39 11–30 11–30 11–14
Boston Celtics 15 67 .183 46 11–30 4–37 1–23
# Eastern Conference
Team W L PCT GB
1 z-Chicago Bulls 69 13 .841
2 y-Miami Heat 61 21 .744 8
3 x-New York Knicks 57 25 .695 12
4 x-Atlanta Hawks 56 26 .683 13
5 x-Detroit Pistons 54 28 .659 15
6 x-Charlotte Hornets 54 28 .659 15
7 x-Orlando Magic 45 37 .549 24
8 x-Washington Bullets 44 38 .537 25
9 Cleveland Cavaliers 42 40 .512 27
10 Indiana Pacers 39 43 .476 30
11 Milwaukee Bucks 33 49 .402 36
12 Toronto Raptors 30 52 .366 39
13 New Jersey Nets 26 56 .317 43
14 Philadelphia 76ers 22 60 .268 47
15 Boston Celtics 15 67 .183 54
z – clinched division title
y – clinched division title
x – clinched playoff spot

Record vs. opponentsEdit

1996–97 NBA records
Team ATL BOS CHA CHI CLE DAL DEN DET GSW HOU IND LAC LAL MIA MIL MIN NJN NYK ORL PHI PHO POR SAC SAS SEA TOR UTA VAN WAS
Atlanta 3–1 1–3 1–3 3–1 2–0 1–1 1–3 2–0 1–1 3–1 2–0 1–1 1–2 4–0 2–0 3–1 1–3 3–1 4–0 1–1 2–0 2–0 2–0 1–1 4–0 1–1 2–0 2–1
Boston 1–3 0–4 0–4 1–2 1–1 1–1 0–4 1–1 0–2 1–2 0–2 1–1 0–4 1–3 0–2 0–4 0–4 0–4 1–3 1–1 1–1 0–2 1–1 0–2 3–1 0–2 0–2 0–4
Charlotte 3–1 4–0 0–4 3–1 1–1 2–0 2–2 2–0 2–0 2–2 1–1 1–1 1–2 2–2 2–0 4–0 3–1 1–2 4–0 1–1 0–2 2–0 2–0 2–0 2–2 0–2 2–0 3–1
Chicago 3–1 4–0 4–0 3–1 2–0 2–0 3–1 2–0 1–1 4–0 2–0 1–1 2–2 4–0 2–0 3–1 2–2 3–0 4–0 2–0 2–0 2–0 2–0 2–0 3–1 1–1 2–0 2–1
Cleveland 1–3 2–1 1–3 1–3 2–0 1–1 2–2 1–1 0–2 3–1 2–0 1–1 0–4 2–2 2–0 4–0 1–3 2–2 3–0 1–1 1–1 2–0 0–2 0–2 3–1 1–1 2–0 1–3
Dallas 0–2 1–1 1–1 0–2 0–2 3–1 0–2 0–4 0–4 1–1 2–2 0–4 0–2 0–2 1–3 1–1 1–1 1–1 2–0 1–3 1–3 2–2 1–3 1–3 0–2 1–3 3–1 0–2
Denver 1–1 1–1 0–2 0–2 1–1 1–3 0–2 1–3 1–3 0–2 1–3 0–4 0–2 1–1 0–4 1–1 0–2 0–2 1–1 2–2 0–4 2–2 2–2 0–4 1–1 0–4 3–1 1–1
Detroit 3–1 4–0 2–2 1–3 2–2 2–0 2–0 2–0 1–1 3–1 2–0 1–1 0–4 3–1 2–0 4–0 1–2 2–2 2–1 0–2 1–1 1–1 2–0 1–1 3–1 1–1 2–0 4–0
Golden State 0–2 1–1 0–2 0–2 1–1 4–0 3–1 0–2 0–4 1–1 1–3 0–4 0–2 1–1 1–3 2–0 0–2 1–1 2–0 0–4 2–2 1–3 4–0 0–4 2–0 0–4 3–1 0–2
Houston 1–1 2–0 0–2 1–1 2–0 4–0 3–1 1–1 4–0 1–1 3–1 3–1 0–2 1–1 4–0 2–0 1–1 0–2 2–0 2–2 2–2 4–0 3–1 3–1 1–1 2–2 3–1 2–0
Indiana 1–3 2–1 2–2 0–4 1–3 1–1 2–0 1–3 1–1 1–1 2–0 1–1 1–3 2–2 2–0 2–2 1–3 1–3 3–0 1–1 1–1 1–1 1–1 1–1 4–0 0–2 2–0 1–3
L.A. Clippers 0–2 2–0 1–1 0–2 0–2 2–2 3–1 0–2 3–1 1–3 0–2 2–2 0–2 2–0 1–3 1–1 0–2 1–1 1–1 2–2 0–4 2–2 4–0 1–3 2–0 1–3 4–0 0–2
L.A. Lakers 1–1 1–1 1–1 1–1 1–1 4–0 4–0 1–1 4–0 1–3 1–1 2–2 1–1 2–0 3–1 2–0 1–1 1–1 2–0 4–0 1–3 4–0 2–2 3–1 1–1 1–3 4–0 2–0
Miami 2–1 4–0 2–1 2–2 4–0 2–0 2–0 4–0 2–0 2–0 3–1 2–0 1–1 4–0 1–1 3–1 1–3 2–2 3–1 2–0 1–1 2–0 2–0 0–2 3–1 0–2 2–0 3–1
Milwaukee 0–4 3–1 2–2 0–4 2–2 2–0 1–1 1–3 1–1 1–1 2–2 0–2 0–2 0–4 0–2 2–1 1–2 2–2 3–1 1–1 0–2 0–2 1–1 1–1 3–1 1–1 2–0 1–3
Minnesota 0–2 2–0 0–2 0–2 0–2 3–1 4–0 0–2 3–1 0–4 0–2 3–1 1–3 1–1 2–0 2–0 1–1 1–1 1–1 3–1 2–2 0–4 4–0 0–4 1–1 1–3 4–0 1–1
New Jersey 1–3 4–0 0–4 1–3 0–4 1–1 1–1 0–4 0–2 0–2 2–2 1–1 0–2 1–3 1–2 0–2 2–2 1–3 2–2 1–1 0–2 1–1 2–0 1–1 0–3 0–2 2–0 1–3
New York 3–1 4–0 1–3 2–2 3–1 1–1 2–0 2–1 2–0 1–1 3–1 2–0 1–1 3–1 2–1 1–1 2–2 3–1 3–2 1–1 1–1 2–0 2–0 0–2 3–0 1–1 2–0 4–0
Orlando 1–3 4–0 2–1 0–3 2–2 1–1 2–0 2–2 1–1 2–0 3–1 1–1 1–1 2–2 2–2 1–1 3–1 1–3 2–2 1–1 2–0 1–1 1–1 1–1 4–0 0–2 1–1 1–3
Philadelphia 0–4 3–1 0–4 0–4 0–3 0–2 1–1 1–2 0–2 0–2 0–3 1–1 0–2 1–3 1–3 1–1 2–2 2–3 2–2 1–1 1–1 0–2 1–1 0–2 1–3 0–2 2–0 1–3
Phoenix 1–1 1–1 1–1 0–2 1–1 3–1 2–2 2–0 4–0 2–2 1–1 2–2 0–4 0–2 1–1 1–3 1–1 1–1 1–1 1–1 1–3 4–0 3–1 2–2 0–2 1–3 2–2 1–1
Portland 0–2 1–1 2–0 0–2 1–1 3–1 4–0 1–1 2–2 2–2 1–1 4–0 3–1 1–1 2–0 2–2 2–0 1–1 0–2 1–1 3–1 2–2 4–0 1–3 0–2 2–2 4–0 0–2
Sacramento 0–2 2–0 0–2 0–2 0–2 2–2 2–2 1–1 3–1 0–4 1–1 2–2 0–4 0–2 2–0 4–0 1–1 0–2 1–1 2–0 0–4 2–2 3–1 1–3 1–1 0–4 4–0 0–2
San Antonio 0–2 1–1 0–2 0–2 2–0 3–1 2–2 0–2 0–4 1–3 1–1 0–4 2–2 0–2 1–1 0–4 0–2 0–2 1–1 1–1 1–3 0–4 1–3 0–4 1–1 1–3 1–3 0–2
Seattle 1–1 2–0 0–2 0–2 2–0 3–1 4–0 1–1 4–0 1–3 1–1 3–1 1–3 2–0 1–1 4–0 1–1 2–0 1–1 2–0 2–2 3–1 3–1 4–0 2–0 1–3 4–0 2–0
Toronto 0–4 1–3 2–2 1–3 1–3 2–0 1–1 1–3 0–2 1–1 0–4 0–2 1–1 1–3 1–3 1–1 3–0 0–3 0–4 3–1 2–0 2–0 1–1 1–1 0–2 1–1 1–1 2–2
Utah 1–1 2–0 2–0 1–1 1–1 3–1 4–0 1–1 4–0 2–2 2–0 3–1 3–1 2–0 1–1 3–1 2–0 1–1 2–0 2–0 3–1 2–2 4–0 3–1 3–1 1–1 4–0 2–0
Vancouver 0–2 2–0 0–2 0–2 0–2 1–3 1–3 0–2 1–3 1–3 0–2 0–4 0–4 0–2 0–2 0–4 0–2 0–2 1–1 0–2 2–2 0–4 0–4 3–1 0–4 1–1 0–4 1–1
Washington 1–2 4–0 1–3 1–2 3–1 2–0 1–1 0–4 2–0 0–2 3–1 2–0 0–2 1–3 3–1 1–1 3–1 0–4 3–1 3–1 1–1 2–0 2–0 2–0 0–2 2–2 0–2 1–1

Game logEdit

Regular seasonEdit

1996–97 game log
Total: 44–38 (Home: 25–16; Road: 19–22)
1996–97 schedule

PlayoffsEdit

1997 playoff game log
1997 schedule

PlayoffsEdit

East First RoundEdit

(1) Chicago Bulls vs. (8) Washington Bullets

  • Last Playoff Meeting: This was the first meeting of the two teams in the playoffs.
Game Date Home Score Visitor Score Record

(CHI-WAS)

Venue Recap Television
1 April 25 Chicago 98 Washington 86 1-0 United Center, Chicago 1 TNT
2 April 27 Chicago 109 Washington 104 2-0 United Center, Chicago, Illinois 2 NBC
3 April 30 Washington 95 Chicago 96 3-0 US Airways Arena, Landover, Maryland 3 TNT
Chicago wins series 3–0

Player statisticsEdit

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

SeasonEdit

PlayoffsEdit

Awards and recordsEdit

TransactionsEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ 1996-97 Washington Bullets
  2. ^ "Howard: 2 Deals, 2 Teams, $200 Million". New York Times. August 6, 1996. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  3. ^ "For Bullets, 'Wizards' Casts Magic Spell". Washington Post. February 23, 1996. Retrieved July 21, 2017.

See alsoEdit