Son Knows Best
For what is believed to be the first time in professional basketball, a father matched X's and O's against his son last Saturday night. It happened in the CBA when 64-year-old Mauro Panaggio, coach of the Rock-ford Lightning, took on his son, Dan Panaggio, 37, coach of the Quad City Thunder. Dan defeated his dad 104-101, but that was to be expected—the Thunder is the CBA's best team, with a 34-10 record through last weekend, while the Lightning has been struggling (16-25).
It wasn't Dan's first success at his father's expense: He broke scoring records once held by his father at SUNY-Brock-port. The elder Panaggio, however, is still the CBA's alltime winningest coach, with a career record of 321-184 at week's end. He went 132-88 at Quad City from '87-88 to '90-91, and Dan was his assistant there for the last three of those seasons. Dan became the Thunder's coach when Mauro decided to retire at the end of last season. However, after Rockford got off to a 3-15 start this year, team owner Rick Holtzman put in a call to Mauro, who replaced former Celtic assistant Lanny Van Eman on Dec. 21. Since then the Lightning has gone 14-11.
Duck's Worth Plummeting
After the 1987-88 season, Trail Blazer center Kevin Duckworth won the NBA's Most Improved Player award. He averaged 15.8 points and 7.4 rebounds and was Portland's bright spot in an otherwise disappointing first-round loss to Utah in the playoffs. Having battled a weight problem for much of his life, Duck worked diligently to get into shape and seemed to have found a happy home in Portland. But though the Trail Blazers have taken a big step forward since then, Duckworth has gone backward. Through Sunday he was averaging only 10.8 points and 5.9 rebounds this season, and with increasing frequency he has found himself on the bench, watching Cliff Robinson play center for Portland in crunch time. At week's end, in fact, the Blazers were still trying to trade Duckworth before this 'Thursday's deadline, though takers were not lining up at the door.
And so it is that Portland's 7-foot, 290-pound tower of Jell-O emerged as the dubious winner of this week's SI poll, which asked the question: Who is the most disappointing nonrookie in the NBA? Duck had some competition—coaches and general managers nominated eight other heartbreakers—but he emerged with a clear plurality, garnering eight of 22 votes. A few teams, it should be noted, were skittish about answering the poll, possibly because the question hit too close to home.
" Duckworth is a guy who, if he's in shape and playing well, can be a tremendous force in the league," said one general manager from the Central Division. "The Blazers are getting by without a major contribution from him now, but if they're going to win a championship, Kevin's got to step up his game." An Eastern Conference coach was more blunt: " Duckworth has enormous talent, but he's not using it. He's on my all-Ken-L-Ration team."
The main challenges to Duckworth came from the 76ers' Charles Shackleford (four votes), whose alleged rebounding skills are but a distant rumor so far, and from the Timberwolves' Thurl Bailey (three votes). Benoit Benjamin of the Sonics got two votes. One vote each went to Eackles, Bo Kimble of the Clippers. Jon Koncak of the Hawks, Chuck Person of the Pacers and Brian Shaw, recently traded by the Celtics to Miami for Sherman Douglas.