COACH: CARL BRAUN
LIFETIME NBA RECORD: WON 19, LOST 29
There is no better example than the Knicks of the fact that a winner in pro ball must: have a big, mobile, intelligent center. The Knicks have everything else, and they have finished last in their division in three of the past four seasons despite excellent use of their strength and fine tactical attempts to cover up this one weakness. They now have rookie Darrall Imhoff to alternate with Charlie Tyra, but all Imhoff's training has been in West Coast control-style ball and he has a lot to learn. Tyra improved considerably last year, especially in his outside shooting, but still does not handle the ball well. Elsewhere, this club is certainly sound. Willie Naulls and Kenny Sears shoot and rebound with the best. Sears put on some weight during the summer, should not weaken by midseason as he has in the past. Rookie Dave Budd and Mike Farmer are strong alternates. Richie Guerin is one of the highest-scoring guards in the league, defends well and is beginning to fill the role of playmaker with speed and deception. Jack George is a capable sidekick for him, and rookie Bob McNeill has a nice outside shot. Kelly Coleman comes to pro ball from Kentucky Wesleyan with the reputation of being hard to handle and a marvelous shooter. In exhibitions thus far he has shown neither trait. The Knicks will do well to finish third.
[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]