The only other rookie who's playing almost as well as Richmond is San Antonio's Willie Anderson, who happens to be a friend of Richmond's; they plan to travel together after the season. Anderson, who played his college ball at Georgia, was averaging 17.9 points and 5.0 rebounds at week's end. At 6'1" and a mere 190 pounds, he has had to play small forward because of the Spurs' established backcourt as well as the lack of a true center, but he hopes to move to guard—or maybe even further.
"I admit coach [Larry] Brown and I don't have a smooth relationship," says Anderson. "In college I was given a chance to express myself, but now the style is different." He seems to envy his buddy: "Mitch came into a great situation, a team that fits his style."
Nelson has had one stormy moment with Richmond, whom he prefers to call Rook rather than Rock. After Richmond barked at Nelson in the second quarter of a 104-102 loss at San Antonio on Jan. 7, he found himself riding the bench for the rest of the half. (He came back after intermission and scored all 21 of his points.) "It was a real bad day for me when that happened," says Nelson. "I felt maybe I was losing him."
Little did he know that Richmond was also feeling lost. So Mitch phoned Altman after the game at 1:30 a.m. Richmond and Nelson have since talked out their differences. "Sometimes something like what they went through is good to see just for the fact that you know they both want to win," says Mullin. That combative chemistry helped lift Golden State to its longest winning streak since 1975-76 and a 21-19 record as of Sunday. The Warriors won only 20 games all of last season.
Richmond is not overly self-indulgent. He has some gold jewelry and a black BMW 735, but the main possessions in his two-bedroom apartment in Oakland are a TV and a La-Z-Boy recliner. He'll kick back in one to watch game tapes on the other, or just lie around and think. "I've always wanted a place of my own," says Richmond. He has worked hard enough to have two already: one to live in (his apartment) and another to grow in (the NBA).