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Let's Play :24 Questions
Jack McCallum
November 09, 1992
As the clock ticks down to an NBA season that opens with more questions than answers, here are enough of both to satisfy inquiring minds
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November 09, 1992

Let's Play :24 Questions

As the clock ticks down to an NBA season that opens with more questions than answers, here are enough of both to satisfy inquiring minds

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Barring an injury to the Shackster, there's no contest. The best dark-horse candidate is Houston's Robert Horry, the 11th pick of the draft, who will get major minutes at small forward.

:14 Is Harold Miner the next Michael Jordan? Is Clarence Weatherspoon the next Charles Barkley?

No and no. Jordan and Barkley are once-in-a-lifetimers. But Miner and Weatherspoon are better than advertised. The explosive Miner can take it to the hole a la Jordan, but he needs to work on his perimeter game in order to earn the freedom to operate. And the 6'6" Weatherspoon is, like Barkley, a high-rise leaper who explodes off the floor. They will both be big-time players. Remember that Miner was not picked until No. 12, and a few teams—Milwaukee and Atlanta, in particular—will be sorry they didn't grab him.

:13 Can the Boston Celtics be a good team without Larry Bird?

Of course. They were a good team without him last season, when they won 15 of their last 16 games, all with Bird, and his bad back, on the pine. But they're still no better than fourth in the East. Robert Parish (at 39, the oldest player in the league) and McHale (who, at 34, played in only one preseason game because of chronic ankle problems) are bound to wear down. And a Sherman Douglas-Dee Brown combo is not the answer at point guard: before long, Douglas will wear out his welcome.

:12 Charlotte's Kendall Gill is frequently mentioned as a superstar-to-be. Is there any other young player you'd rather have?

Yes, Miami's Glen Rice. There are distinct differences—Rice plays more at the three-spot, while Gill is a two-guard—but they're similar; Rice can certainly swing to the backcourt. Gill is awfully good, and there's no doubting his athleticism, but there's a premium on pure shooters who are also tough defenders and team players. Rice fits that description.

:11 Who put up big, big numbers last season but is still a question mark with many NBA people?

Atlanta's Kevin Willis, who got just about every rebound that Rodman did not get in 1991-92, finishing with 15.5 per game, to go with his 18.3 scoring average. Those numbers suggest that Willis finally lived up to the promise shown during the '86-87 season, when he averaged 16.1 points and 10.5 rebounds at power forward. But there's still too much inconsistency, far too many periods of brooding and playing soft and, well, not much overthinking. In fact, not even the Hawks know quite what to make of the eight-year veteran, and neither does the rest of the league. Willis will need another full season like his last one—maybe not scoring as much, because Dominique Wilkins is back after suffering a torn Achilles tendon midway through last season, but certainly on the boards—to solidify his reputation.

:10 Who is "Coach Tarkenton"?

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