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Central
William F. Reed
November 13, 1995
1 Bulls Loaded for one more run
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November 13, 1995

Central

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5 Bucks
A postseason at last?

?Top dog. No, it's not 1994's No. 1 overall draft choice, small forward Glenn (Big Dog) Robinson, despite last season's team-leading 21.9-point average. Rather, it's All-Star power forward Vin Baker, who led the NBA in minutes played (3,361), mainly because Milwaukee's glaring weakness at center forced him to pull extra duty in the post. Coach Mike Dunleavy hopes to give Baker more rest this season, even though the Bucks are still weak in the middle. Eric Mobley can rebound and block a few shots, but his offense is woeful.

?The key move. Milwaukee's hoping that rookie Shawn Respert, who played the point in high school, can make the transition from shooting guard, where he was a star (21.3-point average) at Michigan State. But so far Respert's efforts to upgrade his ball handling and passing seem to have hurt his shooting.

?Outlook. As Dunleavy enters the fourth year of an eight-year, $8 million deal, he's on schedule to rebuild the Bucks. Barely. Look for Milwaukee, 34-48 last season, to make a strong run at the playoffs.

6 Hawks
New logo, old problems

?The five-ringed question. Will Lenny Wilkens, the coach of Dream Team III in next year's Atlanta Olympics, be able to give the Hawks his full attention? "My Olympic work is mostly done," says Wilkens. "It shouldn't be a problem."

?New look. Was that a hawk or a Pac Man on Atlanta's old uniforms? No mistake about it, that's definitely a bird soaring across the redesigned Atlanta jersey.

?Good points. Point guard Mookie Blaylock has few peers at pushing the ball up the floor and distributing it, and shooting guard Steve Smith, who worked out with a private trainer last summer, should be stronger and more consistent. The Hawks hope the return of 5'7" veteran Spud Webb from the Sacramento Kings will keep Blaylock fresh.

?The weak front. Wilkens needs to find an inside player who regularly can fill it up. Center Alan Henderson, the first-round draft pick out of Indiana, may not be quick enough.

?Outlook. "We're not a contender yet," Wilkens says, "but we're moving in that direction." They may arrive in time for the Olympics—the 2000 Olympics.

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