He didn't go to college, but Timberwolves forward Kevin Gamett is the man to lead the NBA into the 21st century. At least that's the answer we got when we asked one representative from each of the league's 29 teams to name the player he would pick if he were building a team for the year 2000. Gamett, the 6'11" man-child who was drafted last year out of high school, received 10 votes to beat Pistons forward Grant Hill (seven) and Lakers center Shaquille O'Neal (four), the only other players named on more than one ballot.
In choosing Gamett over current MVP candidate Hill and O'Neal, poll respondents pointed to his ability to defend big men inside (at week's end he was the seventh-leading shot-blocker in the league) yet run the floor like a small forward. Several also mentioned his team-first attitude, and that at age 20 he may just be scratching the surface of his potential. "In the next three years his game is going to keep exploding," says Portland assistant G.M. Jim Paxson. Adds veteran Hawks scout Gary Wortman: "He can play three or four positions and not hurt his team."
Other players mentioned included Magic guard Penny Hardaway, Suns guard Jason Kidd, Bulls guard Michael Jordan (even though he will be 37 by the 2000 Finals) and Wake Forest senior center Tim Duncan.