Gregg Popovich watched Tim Duncan play in summer league and immediately noted that, “If I try to coach this guy, the only thing I can do is screw him up”, effectively saying that Duncan NBA Jerseys Australia was very gifted, very intelligent, and had a keen knowledge of the game.
Duncan quickly emerged as a dominant force in the NBA during the 1997–98 season, averaging 21.1 points and 11.9 rebounds per game as a power forward. He was named First Team All-NBA while winning Rookie of the Year honors. The team ended up at 56–26, breaking their own record from 1989–90 for the biggest single-season improvement for wins, but once again lost to the Jazz in the Western Conference semi-finals. While both Duncan and Robinson played low-post roles, the two seamlessly meshed on the court.
With a healthy Robinson and Duncan cheap jerseys sydney and the additions of playoff veterans such as Mario Elie and Jerome Kersey, the Spurs looked forward to the 1998–99 season. Prior to the beginning of training camps, however, the NBA owners, led by commissioner David Stern, locked out the players in order to force a new collective bargaining agreement with the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA). The season was delayed for over three months until resolution on a new labor agreement was reached in January 1999.
Playing a shortened 50-game season, the Spurs earned an NBA-best 37–13 record (.740 win percentage, and only season since Duncan was drafted the Spurs did not win at least 50 games in a season as of 2016). The team was just as dominant in the playoffs, rolling through the Western Conference with a record of 11–1. In the NBA Finals, they faced the New York Knicks, who had made history by becoming the first eighth seed to ever make the NBA Finals. The Spurs won the series and the franchise’s first NBA Championship in Game 5 at the Knicks’ home arena, Madison Square Garden. Duncan was named the NBA Basketball Jerseys Australia Finals MVP. The Spurs became the first former ABA team to reach and to win the NBA Finals. They also won the 1999 McDonald’s Championship in the off-season and were the last champions of that tournament as it was disbanded right after.