SI Vault
Jack McCallum
February 04, 1991
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February 04, 1991

The Nba

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Alabama coach Wimp Sanderson always claimed that Derrick McKey, rather than Danny Manning, would have been the No. 1 pick in the 1988 draft had McKey remained with the Tide for one more year instead of signing with an agent, therefore losing his college eligibility. As it was, McKey became the ninth choice in the '87 draft. At this point in their young professional careers, it appears that McKey, who plays for the Sonics, has passed the Clippers' Manning in the hierarchy of NBA forwards. Of the 22 teams (excluding Seattle. and the Clippers) that responded to SI's poll, McKey got 15 votes to Manning's seven.

Even considering Manning's bum right knee, the results are somewhat surprising because of McKey's reputation for sporadic lackadaisical play, a complaint that has never been leveled against the gritty Manning.

But the prevailing attitude is that McKey began to blossom after the Sonics traded Xavier McDaniel on Dec. 7. Said Laker coach Mike Dunleavy in casting a vote for McKey, "He's expanding as a player every game."

Those who voted for Manning praised his aggressiveness and versatility. Still, there are doubts about his talent. Said one Eastern Conference coach, "No way he has Number Oneā€”pick ability. We all overrated him."

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