The NBA lockout has now been going on for 89 days, or about 88 days more than I can handle knowing Brian Cardinal is locked out of the gym. That said, I've been looking back at the last extended NBA lockout for clues as to what might be in store for us basketball fans when the owners and players get everything together.
The 1998-99 NBA season, for those that don't remember, included a shortened 50 game schedule that didn't begin until early February. The current lockout isn't close to reaching that point yet. If the NBA's meetings this week go horribly wrong, however, there's a chance that this offseason could get that bad.
So, in anticipation of the worst, the 1998-99 opening day rosters should provide a good indication of exactly what to expect for the (hopefully) upcoming season. The players on the court are the biggest impactors, as SB Nation's Tom Ziller wisely noted Monday morning, though the always excellent Zach Lowe recently wrote about issues during the last lockout for Sports Illustrated (he went further in-depth on the back-to-back-to-back issues here, for those interested).
Since there has been quite a bit of data accumulated during my research, this is going to turn into a series of posts throughout the week (or the next few weeks, and maybe months, if the lockout persists). For this post, I've just decided to look at the basics gleaned from the 1998-99 rosters. NBA teams were allowed to begin signing players on January 21, 1999, with the NBA season officially beginning February 5, 1999.
- Between those two dates, 176 players (by my count) were signed to populate NBA training camps in hopes of making NBA rosters for the remainder of the season.
- Of those 176 players, 61 ended the previous season on an NBA roster, including such luminaries as God Shammgod, Oliver Miller, Jamie Feick and Rick Brunson.
- 44 of the training camp invites played abroad during the prior season including Thurl Bailey, Fred Vinson and Stacey King.
- 27 of the players making up training camp rosters were undrafted rookies like Earl Boykins, Anthony Carter and Brad Miller.
- 39 of the players were playing in either the CBA or IBA -- the two minor leagues at the time -- including Stephen Jackson, Adrian Griffin, Mikki Moore, Moochie Norris, Jeff McInnis and Troy Hudson.
- The remaining five players didn't play basketball during the 1997-98 season as far as I can tell, though for varying reasons: Percy Miller apparently picked up the game that year after previously being best known as rapper Master P; Dwayne Schintzius, he of the golden locks, sat out that season with an ankle injury; and Mark Randall returned from a brief retirement. I haven't the slightest idea what Jerald Reiner and Jason Wallace did that season.
As I said at the top, there's plenty of data to be gleaned from the information I gathered, but I wanted to get a start published in case the next couple of days yield enough good news that there will be actual basketball to talk about.