Haywood enters the ABA as no worse than second-best center, after Indiana's MVP, Mel Daniels, so his Rockets must be considered a threat to the Caps. So must Bill Sharman's young L.A. Stars, especially if Simmie Hill plays up to his potential, and if the team is not discouraged by empty seats; most of the Stars' games are scheduled when the Lakers are in town.
Indiana is the prize franchise in the ABA, the only one to make a profit. Ii averaged larger crowds than all but five NBA clubs and has a good radio-TV package to go with a big team that should repeat in the East, if only because no one else is much improved. Kentucky, Carolina and New York failed to sign any of their first five picks. Miami still needs help in the corners, so the biggest challenge may come from the Pipers, back in Pittsburgh minus Hawkins and three-quarters of a million dollars, but with a highly touted young coach, John Clark, and some good rookies.