The 2001–02 NBA season was the 56th season of the National Basketball Association. The season ended with the Los Angeles Lakers winning their third straight championship, beating the New Jersey Nets 4–0 in the 2002 NBA Finals.
|2001–02 NBA season|
|League||National Basketball Association|
|Duration||October 30, 2001 – April 17, 2002 |
April 20 – June 2, 2002 (Playoffs)
June 5 – 12, 2002 (Finals)
|Number of teams||29|
|TV partner(s)||NBC, TNT, NBA TV, TBS|
|Top draft pick||Kwame Brown|
|Picked by||Washington Wizards|
|Top seed||Sacramento Kings|
|Season MVP||Tim Duncan (San Antonio)|
|Top scorer||Allen Iverson (Philadelphia)|
|Eastern champions||New Jersey Nets|
|Eastern runners-up||Boston Celtics|
|Western champions||Los Angeles Lakers|
|Western runners-up||Sacramento Kings|
|Champions||Los Angeles Lakers|
|Runners-up||New Jersey Nets|
|Finals MVP||Shaquille O'Neal (Los Angeles Lakers)|
|Team||2000–01 coach||2001–02 coach|
|Cleveland Cavaliers||Randy Wittman||John Lucas|
|Detroit Pistons||George Irvine||Rick Carlisle|
|Portland Trail Blazers||Mike Dunleavy, Sr.||Maurice Cheeks|
|Washington Wizards||Leonard Hamilton||Doug Collins|
|Team||Outgoing coach||Incoming coach|
|Chicago Bulls||Tim Floyd||Bill Berry|
|Bill Berry||Bill Cartwright|
|Denver Nuggets||Dan Issel||Mike Evans|
|Golden State Warriors||Dave Cowens||Brian Winters|
|New York Knicks||Jeff Van Gundy||Don Chaney|
|Phoenix Suns||Scott Skiles||Frank Johnson|
Teams in bold advanced to the next round. The numbers to the left of each team indicate the team's seeding in its conference, and the numbers to the right indicate the number of games the team won in that round. The division champions are marked by an asterisk. Home court advantage does not necessarily belong to the higher-seeded team, but instead the team with the better regular season record; teams enjoying the home advantage are shown in italics.
|First Round||Conference Semifinals||Conference Finals||NBA Finals|
* Division winner
Bold Series winner
Italic Team with home-court advantage
|Points per game||Allen Iverson||Philadelphia 76ers||31.4|
|Rebounds per game||Ben Wallace||Detroit Pistons||13.0|
|Assists per game||Andre Miller||Cleveland Cavaliers||10.9|
|Steals per game||Allen Iverson||Philadelphia 76ers||2.8|
|Blocks per game||Ben Wallace||Detroit Pistons||3.5|
|FG%||Shaquille O'Neal||Los Angeles Lakers||.579|
|FT%||Reggie Miller||Indiana Pacers||.911|
|3FG%||Steve Smith||San Antonio Spurs||.472|
The following players were named the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Month.
|Month||Eastern Conference||Western Conference|
|October – November||Jason Kidd (New Jersey Nets) (1/1)||Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers) (1/1)|
|December||Paul Pierce (Boston Celtics) (1/2)
Antoine Walker (Boston Celtics) (1/1)
|Tim Duncan (San Antonio Spurs) (1/2)|
|January||Allen Iverson (Philadelphia 76ers) (1/1)||Chris Webber (Sacramento Kings) (1/1)|
|February||Tracy McGrady (Orlando Magic) (1/1)||Kevin Garnett (Minnesota Timberwolves) (1/1)|
|March||Ben Wallace (Detroit Pistons) (1/1)||Shawn Marion (Phoenix Suns) (1/1)|
|April||Paul Pierce (Boston Celtics) (2/2)||Tim Duncan (San Antonio Spurs) (2/2)|
The following players were named the Eastern and Western Conference Rookies of the Month.
|Month||Eastern Conference||Western Conference|
|October – November||Jamaal Tinsley (Indiana Pacers) (1/2)||Pau Gasol (Memphis Grizzlies) (1/3)|
|December||Brendan Haywood (Washington Wizards) (1/1)||Shane Battier (Memphis Grizzlies) (1/1)|
|January||Richard Jefferson (New Jersey Nets) (1/1)||Pau Gasol (Memphis Grizzlies) (2/3)|
|February||Trenton Hassell (Chicago Bulls) (1/1)||Jason Richardson (Golden State Warriors) (1/1)|
|March||Jamaal Tinsley (Indiana Pacers) (2/2)||Pau Gasol (Memphis Grizzlies) (3/3)|
|April||Željko Rebrača (Detroit Pistons) (1/1)||Gilbert Arenas (Golden State Warriors) (1/1)|
The following coaches were named Coaches of the Month.
|October – November||Larry Brown (Philadelphia 76ers) (1/1)|
|December||Doug Collins (Washington Wizards) (1/1)|
|January||Rick Adelman (Sacramento Kings) (1/1)|
|February||Rick Carlisle (Detroit Pistons) (1/1)|
|March||Gregg Popovich (San Antonio Spurs) (1/1)|
|April||Lenny Wilkens (Toronto Raptors) (1/1)|
The 2001 NBA draft took place on June 27, 2001 in New York City, New York. Kwame Brown became the first high school player to be drafted with the first overall pick in the history of the NBA. The selection of Kwame Brown by the Washington Wizards, over players that have gone on to have more successful NBA careers, has been a source of great criticism, with Brown having been widely labeled one of the worst draft busts in NBA history. Several international players from this draft, Pau Gasol (Spain), Tony Parker (France) and Mehmet Okur (Turkey), became NBA All-Stars.
This was the last draft the Vancouver Grizzlies participated in while in their original city; their move to Memphis was finalized several weeks later. This was also the final draft participated by the Charlotte Hornets until 2014; the then-current team moved to New Orleans the following year as the future Pelicans, while an expansion Charlotte team (formerly the Bobcats) was later formed in 2004.
Minnesota Timberwolves forfeited their first-round pick due to salary cap violations. It would be the first of two first rounders that would have to forfeit their picks during the early 2000s.2001–02 Atlanta Hawks season
The 2001–02 NBA season was the Hawks' 53rd season in the National Basketball Association, and 34th season in Atlanta. In the 2001 NBA draft, the Hawks selected Spain basketball star Pau Gasol with the third pick, but soon traded him to the Memphis Grizzlies for Shareef Abdur-Rahim, then signed free agents Ira Newble and Jacque Vaughn during the offseason. Abdur-Rahim led the Hawks in scoring averaging 21.2 points per game, and was selected for the 2002 NBA All-Star Game. However, Theo Ratliff only played just three games due to an offseason hip injury. The Hawks struggled losing 12 of their 15 games in January as they held a 16–33 record before the All-Star break. However, they played around .500 for the remainder of the season while posting a 9–7 record in March. They showed slight improvement avoiding 50 losses by finishing sixth in the Central Division with a 33–49 record. Following the season, Toni Kukoč was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks, and Vaughn signed with the Orlando Magic.2001–02 Boston Celtics season
The 2001–02 NBA season was the 56th season for the Boston Celtics in the National Basketball Association. This season saw the Celtics select future All-Star Joe Johnson with the tenth pick in the 2001 NBA draft, but later on traded him at midseason to the Phoenix Suns for Rodney Rogers and Tony Delk. The Celtics struggled with a 5–6 start to the season, but then won 12 of their next 14 games. They won eight of their final nine games finishing second in the Atlantic Division with a 49–33 record, making their first playoff appearance since 1995. Paul Pierce averaged 26.1 points per game and was selected along with Antoine Walker for the 2002 NBA All-Star Game, which marked his first All-Star appearance.
In the first round of the playoffs, the Celtics defeated the Philadelphia 76ers in five games, advancing to the second round for the first time since 1992. In the semifinals, they defeated the 2nd-seeded Detroit Pistons four games to one, reaching the Conference Finals also for the first time since 1988. However, they would lose in six games to the New Jersey Nets in the Eastern Conference Finals after taking a 2–1 series lead.Following the season, Kenny Anderson was traded along with Vitaly Potapenko to the Seattle SuperSonics, and Rogers signed as a free agent with the New Jersey Nets.2001–02 Charlotte Hornets season
The 2001–02 NBA season was the fourteenth and final season for the Charlotte Hornets in the National Basketball Association. During the offseason, the Hornets acquired George Lynch and Robert Traylor from the Philadelphia 76ers in a three-team trade, and signed free agent Stacey Augmon. Despite Jamal Mashburn only playing just 40 games due to injury, the Hornets finished the season second in the Central Division with a 44–38 record, and qualified for their third straight playoff appearance. The Hornets finished twenty-ninth (last) in attendance for the season, a stark contrast to their earlier years in Charlotte. Baron Davis was selected to play in the 2002 NBA All-Star Game. The Hornets defeated the Orlando Magic 3–1 in the first round of the playoffs, but lost 4–1 in the semifinals to the New Jersey Nets.
Following the season, the Hornets relocated to New Orleans, Louisiana, and became the New Orleans Hornets. The city of Charlotte would return to the NBA two seasons later with the expansion Charlotte Bobcats, who began play in the 2004–05 season. That franchise changed its name to the Hornets in 2014 after the original franchise renamed itself the Pelicans, and also reclaimed the original Hornets' history from 1988 to 2002. As a result, the Hornets are now reckoned as having suspended operations after this season before returning as the Bobcats in 2004.2001–02 Chicago Bulls season
The 2001–02 NBA season was the Bulls' 36th season in the National Basketball Association. During the offseason, the Bulls re-acquired Charles Oakley from the Toronto Raptors. The Bulls struggled all season long finishing last place in the Central Division with a 21–61 record. Following the season, Oakley signed as a free agent with the Washington Wizards. (See 2001–02 Chicago Bulls season#Regular season)2001–02 Denver Nuggets season
The 2001–02 NBA season was the Nuggets' 26th season in the National Basketball Association, and 35th season as a franchise. During the offseason, the Nuggets signed free agents Isaiah Rider and Avery Johnson. However, Rider would play in just ten games before being waived on November 20. After finishing just two games below .500 the previous season, the Nuggets suffered another disastrous setback as Antonio McDyess suffered a preseason knee injury, which limited him to just ten games. Things would only get worse in December as head coach Dan Issel got into hot water after yelling a racial slur at a Mexican fan. Issel was suspended for four games and was forced to resign, being replaced by his assistant Mike Evans. At midseason, Nick Van Exel was traded along with Johnson, Raef LaFrentz and Tariq Abdul-Wahad to the Dallas Mavericks for Juwan Howard and Tim Hardaway. The Nuggets finished sixth in the Midwest Division with a 27–55 record.
Following the season, McDyess was traded to the New York Knicks, Voshon Lenard signed as a free agent with the Toronto Raptors, Calbert Cheaney signed with the Utah Jazz, Hardaway and George McCloud were both released, and Evans was fired as coach.2001–02 Detroit Pistons season
The 2001–02 NBA season was the Pistons' 61st season, the 54th in the National Basketball Association, and the 45th in the Detroit area. During the offseason, the Pistons acquired Clifford Robinson from the Phoenix Suns and Jon Barry from the Sacramento Kings. Under new head coach Rick Carlisle, the Pistons won 14 of their first 20 games, but then suffered a 7-game losing streak. However, after a 19–20 start, they would win 15 of their next 18 games, returning to the playoffs after a one-year absence, finishing first place in the Central Division with a 50–32 record, thanks to a 123–89 home victory over the Milwaukee Bucks to close out the season. Ben Wallace was named Defensive Player of The Year, Corliss Williamson was named Sixth Man of The Year, and Carlisle was named Coach of The Year.
In the first round of the playoffs, they would defeat the Toronto Raptors in five games, and advance to the second round for the first time since 1991. However, in the semifinals, they would lose in five games to the 3rd-seeded Boston Celtics after winning Game 1. Following the season, Jerry Stackhouse was traded to the Washington Wizards, and Dana Barros was released.
The season saw the team revert to its traditional color scheme of red, white and blue.2001–02 Golden State Warriors season
The 2001–02 NBA season was the Warriors' 56th season in the National Basketball Association, and 40th in the San Francisco Bay Area. The season saw the Warriors draft Jason Richardson from Michigan State with the fifth overall pick in the 2001 NBA draft. The acquisition of Richardson along with other rookies Troy Murphy, and Gilbert Arenas sought to help with the Warriors struggles the past seasons. Instead, their struggles continued as head coach Dave Cowens was fired and replaced with Brian Winters after an 8–15 start. The Warriors suffered a ten-game losing streak in March and finished last place in the Pacific Division with a 21–61 record. Despite their continuing struggles, Richardson won the Slam Dunk Contest, and was invited to play in the Rookie Game during the All-Star Weekend in Philadelphia. He was also selected to the All-Rookie First Team. Following the season, Larry Hughes signed as a free agent with the Washington Wizards, Winters was fired as coach and Mookie Blaylock retired.2001–02 Indiana Pacers season
The 2001–02 NBA season was the Pacers' 26th season in the National Basketball Association, and 35th season as a franchise. The Pacers won six of their first eight games, but then played around .500 for most of the first half of the season. At midseason, the team traded Jalen Rose and Travis Best to the Chicago Bulls for Ron Artest, Brad Miller and Ron Mercer. With a 37–40 record in mid April, the Pacers would win their final five games of the season, and sneak into the playoffs as the #8 seed in the Eastern Conference, finishing fourth in the Central Division with a 42–40 record. Jermaine O'Neal was named Most Improved Player of the season averaging 19.0 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game. He was also selected for the 2002 NBA All-Star Game. Rookie Jamaal Tinsley was selected to the All-Rookie Second Team. However, in the first round of the playoffs, the Pacers would lose in five games to the top-seeded New Jersey Nets, including a double overtime loss in Game 5, which the Nets won 120–109.2001–02 Memphis Grizzlies season
The 2001–02 NBA season was the Grizzlies’ 7th season in the National Basketball Association, and their first season in Memphis. After six years of struggling in Vancouver, the Grizzlies relocated to Memphis. Although it was the first NBA team for the city, Memphis played home to an American Basketball Association team from 1970–1975. During the offseason, the Grizzlies acquired rookie Pau Gasol, Brevin Knight and former University of Memphis star Lorenzen Wright from the Atlanta Hawks, while acquiring Jason Williams from the Sacramento Kings. However, Bryant Reeves missed the entire season due to a preseason back injury, while Michael Dickerson played just four games due to a groin injury.
The Grizzlies made their debut on November 1 at the Pyramid. The Grizzlies would lose to the Detroit Pistons by a score of 90–80. The Grizzlies lost their first 8 games of the season. Their first win would come in a victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers by a score of 98–83. The game was played at the Pyramid on November 17, for the franchise's first win in Memphis. The Grizzlies would finish in last place in the Midwest Division with a 23–59 record.
The highlight of the season was the contribution of two rookies. Gasol led the team with 17.6 points per game and was named Rookie of The Year. Top draft pick and Duke alumnus Shane Battier had a solid 14.4 points per game, while Wright led the team in rebounding with 9.0 boards per game. The highlight of the inaugural season for the Grizzlies came on December 21. The Grizzlies beat the eventual NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers at the Pyramid winning 114–108. Following the season, Reeves retired after six seasons in the NBA, and veteran forward Grant Long was released.2001–02 Miami Heat season
The 2001–02 NBA season was the 14th season for the Miami Heat in the National Basketball Association. During the offseason, the Heat re-acquired Chris Gatling from the Cleveland Cavaliers and signed free agents Rod Strickland, LaPhonso Ellis, Kendall Gill, then later on signed Jim Jackson in December. After dealing with a kidney disorder, Alonzo Mourning returned for a full season. However, he was not able to play up to the same level as the Heat struggled and lost 23 of their first 28 games, including a 12-game losing streak. They would recover from their awful start and play above .500 for the remainder of the season, as Mourning was selected for the 2002 NBA All-Star Game. However, the Heat finished sixth in the Atlantic Division with a 36–46 record, missing the playoffs for the first time since the 1994–95 season.
This season proved to be Mourning's last season in a Heat uniform, and although he was on the roster the following season, he was unable to play due to another kidney condition. He would return to the Heat midway through the 2004–05 season. This season also marks the first time in Pat Riley's coaching career that he failed to get his team into the playoffs. Following the season, Gill signed as a free agent with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Jackson and Strickland were both released, and Gatling retired.
For the season, the Heat added red alternate road uniforms for the second time.2001–02 Milwaukee Bucks season
The 2001–02 NBA season was the Bucks' 34th season in the National Basketball Association. During the offseason, the Bucks signed free agent Anthony Mason to shore up their front line. After advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals last year, the Bucks got off to a solid start winning nine of their first ten games, then posted an 8-game winning streak with a division-leading record of 26–13 as of January 21. Scoring leader Ray Allen was selected for the 2002 NBA All-Star Game. At midseason, the team signed free agent Greg Anthony, who was released by the Chicago Bulls. However, with a 35–25 record as of March 6, the Bucks would struggle and proceed to lose 16 of their final 22 games and miss the playoffs, finishing fifth in the Central Division with a 41–41 record, thanks to an embarrassing 123–89 road loss to the Detroit Pistons to close out the season. This was one of the biggest late-season collapses for a team that was contending for a Division title in March. Following the season, Glenn Robinson was traded to the Atlanta Hawks, and Anthony retired.2001–02 Minnesota Timberwolves season
The 2001–02 NBA season was the Timberwolves' 13th season in the National Basketball Association. A year after they were slapped by the NBA, the Timberwolves were able to re-sign Joe Smith, who played with the Detroit Pistons last season. The Timberwolves won nine of their first ten games, which led them to a 28–9 record as of January 15. However, Terrell Brandon sustained a knee injury after 32 games and was out for the remainder of the season, as the team suffered a 7-game losing streak in March. Meanwhile, Kevin Garnett continued to establish himself as one of the top players in the NBA averaging 21.2 points and 12.1 rebounds per game, as the Timberwolves finished third in the Midwest Division with a solid 50–32 record. Garnett and Wally Szczerbiak were both selected to play in the 2002 NBA All-Star Game.
However, in the first round of the playoffs, the Timberwolves were swept by the Dallas Mavericks in three straight games. Following the season, Chauncey Billups signed as a free agent with the Detroit Pistons, and Sam Mitchell retired.2001–02 Philadelphia 76ers season
The 2001–02 NBA season was the 76ers 53rd season in the National Basketball Association, and 39th season in Philadelphia. The 76ers were coming off of an NBA Finals defeat to the Los Angeles Lakers, in which they won Game 1, but lost the next 4 games. During the offseason, the Sixers re-acquired Derrick Coleman from the Charlotte Hornets in a three-team trade, acquired Matt Harpring from the Cleveland Cavaliers and signed free agent Derrick McKey. Having won the Eastern Conference Championship last season, reigning MVP Allen Iverson, Sixth Man Aaron McKie, and point guard Eric Snow were all sidelined due to injuries as the Sixers lost their first five games. Also just four games into the season, center Matt Geiger retired. However, when their players returned, they won seven in a row after their bad start, and climbed back into playoff connection finishing fourth in the Atlantic Division with a 43–39 record. Iverson and Dikembe Mutombo were both selected for the 2002 NBA All-Star Game, which Philadelphia hosted and Iverson wore number #6 in honor of Julius Erving.
However, the Sixers lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Boston Celtics in five games. Following the season, Mutombo was traded to the New Jersey Nets, Harpring signed as a free agent with the Utah Jazz and McKey retired.2001–02 Portland Trail Blazers season
The 2001–02 NBA season was the 32nd season for the Portland Trail Blazers in the National Basketball Association. During the offseason, head coach Mike Dunleavy was fired after four years and two trips to the Western Conference finals, and was replaced with Maurice Cheeks, as the Blazers acquired Derek Anderson and Steve Kerr from the San Antonio Spurs, and signed free agent Ruben Patterson. Kerr was a former teammate of Scottie Pippen on the Chicago Bulls, where they won three championships in the late 1990s. The Blazers struggled with a 13–18 start, but then went on a 12-game winning streak between February and March, finishing third in the Pacific Division with a 49–33 record, and making the playoffs for the 20th consecutive year.
As in the previous year, the Blazers faced the two-time defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the playoffs. And the result was identical: the Blazers were swept in three straight games by the Lakers, who would go on to win their third consecutive NBA championship. It was the fifth time in six years the Blazers' postseason run was ended by the Lakers. Following the season, Shawn Kemp was released and later signed as a free agent with the Orlando Magic, and Kerr was traded back to the San Antonio Spurs.2001–02 Sacramento Kings season
The 2001–02 NBA season was the Kings' 53rd season in the National Basketball Association, and 17th season in Sacramento. During the offseason, the Kings acquired Mike Bibby from the Vancouver Grizzlies, and second-year guard Mateen Cleaves from the Detroit Pistons. Despite Chris Webber missing the first 20 games due to an ankle injury, the Kings posted a 12-game winning streak between December and January, as they held a 37–12 record before the All-Star break. The team won eleven straight games near the end of the season, finishing with a 61–21 record (.744 winning percentage), the best record in the league, while winning their division for the first time since 1979, when the team was in Kansas City. The Kings also made the Western Conference finals for the first time since 1981 (also as the Kansas City Kings). Webber and Peja Stojaković were both selected for the 2002 NBA All-Star Game.
In the playoffs, the Kings defeated the Utah Jazz three games to one in the first round, and the Dallas Mavericks four games to one in the semifinals. In their first trip to the Western Conference Finals, they would take a 3–2 series lead over the 3rd-seeded Los Angeles Lakers, but went on to lose the final two games in one of the most controversial playoff series in NBA history.
The rap sheet of people claiming the series to be tampered with included former presidential candidate Ralph Nader, Stephen A Smith, Skip Bayless, and even some Lakers' beat reporters. Former NBA referee Tim Donaghy has overtly admitted to the series being fixed by the league to ensure the Lakers play in the NBA finals, furthering the NBA tradition of dominance in Los Angeles. It is also worth noting that David Stern was once quoted "Lakers versus the Lakers...I'd be lying if I told you there wasn't a special fascination with the Lakers" (when asked about his dream finals scenario). (See 2002 NBA Playoffs#(1) Sacramento Kings vs. (3) Los Angeles Lakers). It was also the third straight year that the Kings had their playoff run ended by the Lakers.
The team's season roster is featured in NBA 2K18.2001–02 Utah Jazz season
The 2001–02 NBA season was the Jazz's 28th season in the National Basketball Association, and 23rd season in Salt Lake City, Utah. During the offseason, the Jazz signed free agent John Amaechi. John Stockton continued to set new standards with 15,000 career assists and 3,000 career steals, as Karl Malone scored his 34,000th career point. However, the Jazz began to show their age as they played mediocre basketball all season finishing fourth in the Midwest Division with a 44–38 record. The Jazz also beat the Los Angeles Lakers' record of sixteen consecutive winning seasons, set between 1976–77 and 1991–92. Malone was selected for the 2002 NBA All-Star Game, but did not play due to an injury. Rookie Andre Kirilenko was selected to the All-Rookie First Team. In the first round of the playoffs, they lost in four games to the Sacramento Kings. Following the season, Bryon Russell signed as a free agent with the Washington Wizards, Donyell Marshall signed with the Chicago Bulls and John Starks retired.2002 NBA All-Star Game
The 2002 NBA All-Star Game was an exhibition basketball game which was played on February 10, 2002 at the First Union Center in Philadelphia, home of the Philadelphia 76ers. This game was the 51st edition of the North American NBA All-Star Game and was played during the 2001–02 NBA season.
The venue was originally scheduled for the 1998-99 NBA season, but was cancelled due to the 1998-99 NBA lockout and moved to 2002.
The West defeated the East 135-120, with Kobe Bryant of the L.A. Lakers winning the Most Valuable Player. Bryant scored 31 points, dished 5 assists, and grabbed 5 rebounds, despite being booed by the hometown crowd. Tracy McGrady led the way for the East, scoring 25 points off the bench. He also made one of the most memorable plays in All-Star Game history, the self pass off the backboard dunk.
This was also the last All-Star Game to feature players wearing their respective team jerseys, and thus far, the last to be seen on over-the-air television (all subsequent games have aired on the cable channel TNT).List of 2001–02 NBA season transactions
This is a detailed list of transactions during the 2001-02 NBA season.
2001–02 NBA season by team