Strickland claimed that he was provoked into fighting at the nightclub. But a point guard's most important attribute is judgment, and, whatever the circumstances at the club, Strickland did not exercise much of it when he chose to get involved in the fisticuffs instead of walking away. Sadly, that did not surprise a lot of NBA people.
The Heat's On
According to the standings, the worst of the NBA's four expansion teams at All-Star break was the Heat, with a record of 13-34 (.277). The Hornets and the Magic had 14-33 marks (.298), while the Timberwolves were the best of the new kids, with a 16-29 season (.356). And keep in mind that Miami (along with Charlotte) is in its third year of existence, while Minnesota and Orlando are only in their second seasons.
Yet, SI's poll of NBA team executives and coaches revealed that a majority of them believe the Heat to be the most successful expansion operation. Discounting the votes of the four new franchises, as well as an unusually high number of fence sitters, Miami received 11 first-place votes, Minnesota got three, Charlotte two and Orlando none.
"I appreciate what Miami has done, not so much for the talent but for the way they've gone about building a team," said Denver general manager Bernie Bicker-staff, sounding a familiar theme. "I like their patience—not panicking, always thinking for the long term, making the money available to pick up a free agent if it's a guy they think can help." Added another Western Conference general manager, "The basketball side and the business side are superb in Miami." Another executive praised the Heat's "player development and drafting."
Those who selected the Timberwolves liked Minnesota's on-the-court competitiveness, while those who favored Charlotte saw the Hornets as the most talented and potentially successful team. Then again, one Eastern Conference coach called the Hornets "a bunch of prima donnas."
The Magic got the strongest negative comments. Said one general manager, "It really is a Mickey Mouse operation. A paper house. All show and no substance."
The site of the 1992 All-Star Game, by the way? Orlando.