?The absence of other good Utah passers. Even Magic had to compete for assists with Kareem, Byron Scott and James Worthy, but Stockton has no rivals. Neither of the Malones is known as a passer, and center Mark Eaton gets the ball on offense only by accident.
Front and Center
They shook hands in the center circle on Sunday as the reigning kings of the paint in their conferences—the Knicks' Ewing for the East and the Spurs' David Robinson for the West. But which player is really the main man in NBA circles?
It's Robinson, according to this week's SI poll, which asked the question: Would you rather have Ewing, 29, or Robinson, 26, as your pivotman? Twenty of 25 coaches and general managers answered Robinson, with surprisingly little equivocation. And no one said, as we feared might happen: "Forget both of them. I'll take Hakeem Olajuwon." True, at the All-Star break Olajuwon led both players in rebounding (12.6 per game, compared with Robinson's 12 and Ewing's 11) and led Ewing in blocks (Olajuwon had 4.25 per game, Robinson a league-high 5.02 and Ewing 2.89). Still, Robinson and Ewing have more versatile offensive games, and that moves them ahead of Olajuwon.
And what moves Robinson ahead of Ewing? Youth and quickness, to name two factors mentioned by most respondents. And defense, to name a third. One Eastern Conference coach felt Robinson's defensive edge was pronounced: "When you get right down to it, Patrick's defensive principles are awful."
Summing up Robinson's game, a Western Conference coach said, "His size, quickness and touch make him unique on both ends of the floor. He's Bill Russell, only four inches taller and with a great shooting touch."
The most frequently heard complaint about Robinson's game is that he doesn't play hard all the time. His supporters, however, don't agree. Said one Western Conference general manager, "If it's true that Patrick is more competitive than David, all I can say is that it hasn't shown up in David's productivity."