Highlights of Memphis Grizzlies Third Season

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The 1997-98 season marked Memphis Grizzlies’ (Vancouver Grizzlies) third year playing in the NBA. Their first two seasons didn’t end well, as they finished with the worst record in the league.

At the start of their third season, the Grizzlies hired Brian Hill as head coach.

For the season, they added black alternate road uniforms, which later became their primary road jerseys for the 2000-01.

The Grizzlies first draft pick for the 1997-98 season was Antonio Daniels, which was the fourth overall pick while Calvin Bruton was their second pick, coming in as the 52nd pick in Round 2.

During the offseason, they acquired Otis Thorpe from the Detroit Pistons, Sam Mack from the Houston Rockets, and got free agent Tony Massennburg.

The Grizzlies started the season with an early 6-7, playing around .500 which was their best start since they started playing in the NBA. However, the team slumped and struggled afterwards posting a 13-game losing streak between December and January.

On October 31, 1997, Violet Palmer made history in Vancouver when she officiated the NBA season opener between the Grizzlies and the Dallas Mavericks in British Columbia.

Midseason, the Grizzlies traded Thorpe to the Sacramento Kings and Anthony Peeler was sent to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Grizzlies ended the third season away from the last position – 6th in Midwest division and 11th in the Western Conference; eight game better than Denver Nuggets. However, they failed to qualify for the playoffs.

The team recorded their first ever three game winning streak, as on January 20, they defeated the Denver Nuggets, followed by sweeping a home ad home series against the Golden State Warriors.

On January 15, 1998, the Grizzlies lost to the Washington Wizards 112-110, sending the Grizzlies to their thirteenth consecutive loss

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Shareef Abdur-Rahim

Between January 27 to April 5, in 31 games, the Grizzlies won only 3.

Second year star, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, led the way in scoring with an average of 22.3 points per game.

Following the season, Antonio Daniels was traded to the San Antonio Spurs, George Lynch signed as free agent with Philadelphia 76ers, and Blue Edwards was released.

The 1997-98 Roster included:
1. Shareef Abdur- Rahim (SF)
2. Chillcutt Pete (PF)
3. Antonio Daniels (PG)
4. Edwards Blue (SG)
5. Hurley Bobby (PG)
6. Lynch George (SF)
7. Sam Mack (SG)
8. Tony Massenburg (C)
9. Lee Mayberry (PG)
10. Ivano Newbill (PG)
11. Bryant Reeves (C)
12. Robinson Larry (SG)
13. Michael Smith (PF)
14. Doug West (SG) – West was acquired from Minnesota Timberwolves midseason. Due to a hip contusion, he couldn’t play for the Grizzlies in this season
During their third season, the Grizzlies didn’t win any awards – player or coach.

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