Last season: Won 19, lost 53; last in West
Top scorer: Jack Twyman, 25.8 average
Top rebounder: Jack Twyman, 9.0 average
Taking a long pull on the pipe that inspires happy dreams, one can believe, possibly, that this year's Royals will be better than the team that was unable to achieve a winning season's series against any other club in the league last year. But, even accepting that, an even stronger propulsion into euphoria is required for the belief that they will improve their place in the standings. To the long list of first-rate performers lost through illness, retirement and, to say the least, puzzling trades, must now be added the name of John McCarthy, formerly the team's best playmaker. On the plus side, there is the addition of Phil Jordan, who played the best ball of his career last season for Detroit, after somehow acquiring agility and a scoring touch previously undetectable in his makeup. He and the strong but slow-footed Wayne Embry are fair alternates in the pivot. To play the corner opposite Jack Twyman there are Jim Palmer, fast but erratic as the winds of March, and Dave Piontek, steady but seldom inspired. The backcourt includes players of real substance, if not top-grade ability. Former Hawks Med Park and Win Wilfong are experienced ball handlers, and Wilfong, especially, has an instinct for aggression that forces the play relentlessly toward the basket. Phil Rollins provides reasonable outside shooting, and Arlen Bockhorn understands what defense means. Which leaves Jack Twyman, an authentic pro, a magnificent shooter, a cinch for All-Star honors—but probably doomed to fire away all season in a losing cause. Every player in the NBA is among the 100 best in the country, no mean distinction, but some are just better than others. Like Minneapolis, this group requires the hypnosis of overwhelming team spirit to lift it up to the level of the rest of the league.