6 Golden State
WHINE COUNTRY: It seems there's always someone unhappy at Golden State. Two years ago there was the Chris Webber-Don Nelson dispute, last season Tim Hardaway and Latrell Sprewell continued their feud, and this season center Rony Seikaly kept up the tradition by demanding to be traded. Golden State finally accommodated him last Saturday when it sent Seikaly and forward Clifford Rozier to Orlando for centers Felton Spencer and Jon Koncak and forward Donald Royal. Without Seikaly, the Warriors still won't be winners, but they will no longer be whiners.
THE GOOD NEWS: Sprewell is back to playing like an All-Star shooting guard. He and second-year forward Joe Smith are solid cornerstones for the Warriors to build on, and guard Mark Price looks sufficiently recovered from foot problems to be a free-agent steal.
INFERIOR INTERIOR: The addition of journeyman Spencer gives the Warriors experience at center but little distinction. With Spencer, rookie Todd Fuller and second-year man Andrew DeClercq, Golden State won't get much from the middle except 18 fouls.
7 Los Angeles
TOUGHEST MAN ON THE TEAM: It might be coach Bill Fitch, 62, who was ready for the start of training camp despite suffering a mild heart attack and undergoing triple-bypass surgery in August. "I haven't gone through all this just to fish and play golf the rest of my life," he says. If his players are as ornery, the Clippers might continue on the upswing that saw them increase their victory total by 12 (to 29) last season.
BRAND-NEW CUPS: Guard Brent Barry, winner of last year's All-Star slam-dunk contest, could be the exciting player the Clippers historically have lacked. Barry and forward Rodney Rogers proved that the deal that brought them to L.A. from Denver in June 1995 for Antonio McDyess and Randy Woods wasn't another one of the Clippers' front-office blunders. Power forward Loy Vaught continues to give the Clippers solid scoring and rebounding.
SAME OLD CUPS: With free-agent center Brian Williams far from certain to re-sign, the Clips will rely more on rotund (290-pound) Stanley Roberts. After his last three seasons were shortened by Achilles tendon injuries, Roberts celebrated his return with a 14-day suspension after shouting profanities at Fitch during a preseason practice. That's just the kind of thing that makes the Clippers the Clippers.