2004–05 NBA season
The 2004–05 NBA season was the 59th season of the National Basketball Association (NBA). It began on November 2, 2004 and ended June 23, 2005. The season ended with the San Antonio Spurs defeating the defending-champion Detroit Pistons, 4–3, in the NBA Finals.
- The NBA made its return to Charlotte as the Charlotte Bobcats became the league's 30th franchise at the time. Ten years later, the Bobcats and the departed New Orleans Hornets would strike a deal with the New Orleans franchise renaming themselves the Pelicans, thereby restoring the Hornets' Charlotte history and name to the Charlotte franchise. The Bobcats played their first season at the Charlotte Coliseum.
- This season also was the first year of the NBA's new divisional alignments, separating the league into six divisions of five teams instead of the previous four divisions of varying numbers of teams. As part of this realignment, the New Orleans Hornets moved from the Eastern Conference to the Western Conference.
- The current schedule format also debuted this season:
- 16 games against teams in the same division (four against each team)
- 24 games against six of the remaining conference teams combined, three from each division (four against each team)
- 12 games against the remaining four conference teams, two from each division (three against each team)
- 30 games against teams in the other conference (two against each team)
- Over five seasons, each team will play each of the other conference teams outside its division a total of 18 times – 9 at home and 9 on the road.
- In February, Chris Webber was traded from the Sacramento Kings along with Michael Bradley to the Philadelphia 76ers for three forwards (Corliss Williamson, Kenny Thomas, and Brian Skinner). The Kings lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Seattle SuperSonics, 4–1, and failed to make the playoffs after 2006.
- The 2005 NBA All-Star Game was played on February 20, 2005, at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado, with the East winning, 125–115. Philadelphia's Allen Iverson was named the MVP of the game.
- During All-Star Weekend, Quentin Richardson won the Three-point Shootout, Steve Nash won the Skills Challenge, and Diana Taurasi, Dan Majerle and Shawn Marion won the Shooting Stars Competition—all Phoenix Suns victories. Amar'e Stoudemire made it to the final round of the Slam Dunk Contest but failed to complete the sweep for the Suns.
- Prior to the start of this season, Shaquille O'Neal was traded to the Miami Heat after his reported fallout with former Lakers teammate Kobe Bryant. Some fans[who?] sensed this, along with the Pistons championship, as a possible end of dominance by the Western Conference. The Lakers also witnessed the loss of head coach Phil Jackson and replacement Rudy Tomjanovich as the Lakers missed out on the NBA playoffs for the fifth time in their history. However, the Western Conference has continued its domination in the regular season; since then, all playoff-bound teams in the West have either won 50 or more games, or were above .500 at the end of the season, in contrast to the Eastern Conference, where on average, three teams have had sub-.500 records.
- During the off-season, the Phoenix Suns signed unrestricted free agent Steve Nash. With the addition of coach Mike D'Antoni and his offensive-minded strategy combined with Nash's play-making skills, Phoenix won 33 games more than the year before. The Suns had the best overall record in the NBA, Nash won the MVP Award and D'Antoni won the Coach of the Year Award.
- The Memphis Grizzlies played their first game at FedExForum. The Grizzlies were also the first NBA team to install see-through shot clocks. As of the 2011–12 NBA season, all 30 teams have see-through shot clocks.
- A November 19th game between Detroit and Indiana at The Palace of Auburn Hills was disrupted with 45.9 seconds to go as a major altercation broke out between players and fans. This resulted in record-breaking suspensions, most notable of which was Ron Artest who received the longest suspension in NBA history (73 games plus the playoffs). The NBA also overhauled its league-wide security policy. This became known as "The Malice at the Palace".
- On December 9th, Tracy McGrady of the Houston Rockets scored 13 points in the final 35 seconds of a game against the San Antonio Spurs to lead his team to an 81-80 victory after they trailed 76-68 with 42 seconds remaining.
- The Bulls made their first appearance in the playoffs since their 1998 championship season. The Bulls postseason berth followed an 0–9 start to the season with the Bulls having one of the youngest rosters in NBA history.
- The Washington Wizards made their first appearance in the playoffs since the team name was changed for the 1997–98 season.
- The Suns started an unofficial league tradition of a mostly exposed hardwood floor, with a darker varnish on the outside of the three-point area. They also put their team's website name on the sideline, which other teams followed suit in the coming seasons. Through the 2010–11 NBA season, all of the teams, save the Oklahoma City Thunder, had placed their team websites on the sidelines.
- The Seattle SuperSonics made the playoffs for the last time as a team from Seattle.
- Ben Gordon won the Sixth Man Award, making him the first rookie to ever win the award.
- The NBA Finals reached seven games for the first time since 1994, when the Houston Rockets faced the New York Knicks.
- On December 18, the Toronto Raptors traded five-time all-star Vince Carter to the New Jersey Nets for Eric Williams, Aaron Williams, Alonzo Mourning and a pair of first-round draft picks. Mourning was bought out of his contract on February 11 and re-signed with the Miami Heat, being paid a second salary, the veteran's minimum.
- Orlando Magic rookie Dwight Howard became the first and only player straight out of high school to start all 82 games in his rookie season. He also became the youngest to average a double-double, the youngest to average 10 rebounds in a season, and the youngest to record at least 20 rebounds in a game. However, Charlotte Bobcats rookie Emeka Okafor won Rookie of the Year that season.
- This was the final season for Reggie Miller, who spent his entire NBA career with the Pacers.
- The Minnesota Timberwolves did not make an appearance in the playoffs, which then started a 13-season playoff drought.
- z – Clinched home court advantage for the entire playoffs
- c – Clinched home court advantage for the conference playoffs
- x – Clinched playoff spot
- y – Clinched division title
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
- Most Valuable Player: Steve Nash, Phoenix Suns
- Rookie of the Year: Emeka Okafor, Charlotte Bobcats
- Defensive Player of the Year: Ben Wallace, Detroit Pistons
- Sixth Man of the Year: Ben Gordon, Chicago Bulls
- Most Improved Player: Bobby Simmons, Los Angeles Clippers
- Coach of the Year: Mike D'Antoni, Phoenix Suns
- Executive of the Year: Bryan Colangelo, Phoenix Suns
- Sportsmanship Award: Grant Hill, Orlando Magic
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 the Eastern and Western Conference Coaches of the Month.
The following is a list of notable players who played their first NBA game during the 2004–05 season, listed with their first team.