2001–02 NBA season

2001–02 NBA season
League National Basketball Association
Sport Basketball
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, TBS
Top draft pick Kwame Brown
Picked by Washington Wizards
Regular season
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 (L.A. Lakers)
NBA seasons

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.

Notable occurrences

  • The 2002 NBA All-Star Game was held at First Union Center in Philadelphia. Kobe Bryant of the Lakers took MVP honors amidst boos from the Philadelphia fans following a 135–120 victory by the West. Philadelphia was originally slated to host the 1999 All-Star Game, but was awarded the 2002 game instead due to the 1998 lockout.
  • Prior to the start of the season, NBA and Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan, then part-owner of the Washington Wizards, announced his second comeback to the NBA, this time with the Wizards.
  • The Dallas Mavericks played their first game at the American Airlines Center, not to be confused with the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida.
  • This was the last season that both NBC and TBS televised NBA games.
  • NBA teams wore patches on their jerseys with the American flag and a red-white-and-blue ribbon, in honor of the victims of the September 11 attacks. The Raptors wore the American and Canadian flags on theirs.
  • The only Canadian team left in the NBA, the Toronto Raptors, after losing seventeen of eighteen to drop to 30–38, win twelve of their last fourteen to finish at 42–40 and go to the NBA playoffs as the seventh seed in the East.
  • The New Jersey Nets, who had never won fifty games in a season and had only been to the second round of the playoffs once, won 52 games to reach the Finals. With the Nets appearing in the Finals, the Denver Nuggets remain as of 2017–18 the only former ABA team to have never reached the NBA Finals.
  • 2001–02 is one of the most memorable seasons in the history of the Milwaukee Bucks. The team got off to a division-leading 26–13 start, and were 10 games over .500 as late as March 6. However, the Bucks would proceed to lose 16 of their last 22 games and miss the playoffs, one of the biggest late-season collapses for a team that was contending for a division title in March.
  • For the first time since 1985–86, no team won fewer than twenty games. The Chicago Bulls and Golden State Warriors shared the league's worst record of 21–61. This had however previously occurred during every season between 1973–74 and 1978–79 and again from 1983–84 to 1985–86 inclusive.[1]
  • Former All-Star Jayson Williams was charged with the murder of his limousine driver on February 14. He was immediately fired from his spot on NBC's Verizon Wireless at the Half shortly after appearing on TV during the All-Star Game the previous week.
  • Marv Albert and Mike Fratello were involved in a limousine crash prior to the start of the 2002 Playoffs and were unable to announce for NBC. Albert returned to announce the 2002 Western Conference Finals and NBA Finals.
  • This season marked the first time the league's scoring leader (in this case Allen Iverson) failed to make the All-NBA First Team.

2001–02 NBA changes


By division

By conference


  • z – Clinched home court advantage for the entire playoffs
  • c – Clinched home court advantage for the conference playoffs
  • y – Clinched division title
  • x – Clinched playoff spot


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
E1 New Jersey* 3  
E8 Indiana 2  
  E1 New Jersey* 4  
  E4 Charlotte 1  
E4 Charlotte 3
E5 Orlando 1  
  E1 New Jersey* 4  
Eastern Conference
  E3 Boston 2  
E3 Boston 3  
E6 Philadelphia 2  
  E3 Boston 4
  E2 Detroit* 1  
E2 Detroit* 3
E7 Toronto 2  
  E1 New Jersey* 0
  W3 LA Lakers 4
W1 Sacramento* 3  
W8 Utah 1  
  W1 Sacramento* 4
  W4 Dallas 1  
W4 Dallas 3
W5 Minnesota 0  
  W1 Sacramento* 3
Western Conference
  W3 LA Lakers 4  
W3 LA Lakers 3  
W6 Portland 0  
  W3 LA Lakers 4
  W2 San Antonio* 1  
W2 San Antonio* 3
W7 Seattle 2  

* Division winner
Bold Series winner
Italic Team with home-court advantage

Statistics leaders

Category Player Team Stat
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


Yearly awards

Players of the month

The following players were named the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Month.

Rookies of the month

The following players were named the Eastern and Western Conference Rookies of the Month.

Coaches of the month

The following coaches were named Coaches of the Month.

Month Coach
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)


  1. ^ See Berri, David J., Brook, Stacey L., Frick, Bernd, Fenn, Aju J. and Vicente-Mayoral, Roberto; 'The Short Supply of Tall People: Competitive Imbalance and the National Basketball Association'; Journal of Economic Issues, Vol. 39, No. 4 (Dec., 2005), pp. 1029–1041