?Tiresome topic. Guards Latrell Sprewell and Tim Hardaway are going through a rough patch in their relationship right now. Seems Hardaway implied last season that Sprewell didn't hustle, which offended Sprewell, who in fact didn't hustle last season. Here's hoping those crazy kids can work things out.
?Golen State. That's right, no D. The Warriors gave up 111.1 points per game last season, dead last in the league. (No wonder they were 26-56.) New coach Rick Adelman must rectify that.
?Exclamation points. Adelman has four players who have been All-Stars—Hardaway, Sprewell, forward Chris Mullin and guard B.J. Armstrong—plus the No. 1 pick of the draft, forward Joe Smith, and last year's No. 4, forward Donyell Marshall.
?Question marks. How soon will it be before Smith makes Warrior fans forget Chris Webber? Have injuries diminished Hardaway and Mullin? Did the Chicago Bulls know something when they discarded Armstrong?
?Outlook. The Warriors will be awesome, then horrid. A .500 record sounds right.
6 Trail Blazers
The path leads down
?Bad trend. The Blazers' win totals the past five seasons have been 63, 57, 51, 47 and 44 last year.
?Too bad he can't recruit. In his first season in the NBA, ex- Seton Hall coach P.J. Carlesimo found out about the temperamental nature of NBA players. He got on point guard Rod Strickland's bad side by disciplining him for missing a team flight. "I don't like him," Strickland said of his coach. "And you can print that." Then there was forward Clifford Robinson, the Blazers' leading scorer, who lobbied not only for a contract extension but also star status in the team's marketing efforts.
?Two-headed pivot. Together, Chris Dudley and Arvydas Sabonis could add up to one complete center. Dudley is a good rebounder and defender whose offensive repertoire consists of the dunk and the layup. Sabonis, the 30-year-old rookie who starred for the Lithuanian national team, is an excellent shooter and passer who is too immobile to be of much use defensively.
?Outlook. Strickland and Robinson are the only Blazers who scare anyone offensively. The win total may keep dropping.