The steady leadership of point guard Maurice Cheeks? Maybe. The renewed enthusiasm and creativity of Mark Jackson, the Knicks' other point guard? Maybe. The health of forward Kiki Vandeweghe and the wealth of his outside shooting? Maybe. The rebounding and all-around gamesmanship of the sometimes pouty power forward Charles Oakley? Another maybe. Patrick, here's the ball. See how far you can take 'em.
The joke here is obvious: Moses Malone playing in a passing game. Ha, ha, ha. For Moses, passing has traditionally been something to do in the left lane of the freeway. The offense installed by new coach Bob Weiss is more properly called a motion offense. "Run correctly, it actually requires easier passes," says Weiss. It might be ideal for this talent-rich team that could never distribute the ball well enough to make ex-coach Mike Fratello's system work.
Is the core group of Reggie Miller, Chuck Person, Rik Smits and Detlef Schrempf strong enough to play with the big boys in the East? It isn't. Indiana won 42 games last season and will probably do a little better in '90-91, but the Pacers simply aren't strong enough to go deep into the playoffs.
Every year the Bucks are candidates for the NBA's most forgettable team, not because they're bad—they're not—but because they're so darned, well, unexciting. This year's additions include center Danny Schayes (from Denver) and forward Brickowski (from San Antonio). Need we say more?
The most talked-about player in the draft, after the Clippers' Kimble, was Kendall Gill, whom the Hornets got at No. 5. He will bring some defensive toughness to a team (Kelly Tripucka, Rex Chapman, Muggsy Bogues, ex-Knick Johnny Newman) that has trouble spelling the word defense.
The Nets, whose 17-65 record was the worst in the league last season, finally signed No. 1 pick Derrick Coleman Sunday for about $15 million over five years. Even when he gets in shape, it won't help. That's because the Nets' other key acquisition, guard Reggie Theus (18.5 career scorer), is 33 and always has been a one-dimensional player.
Slow and steady. That was the expansion philosophy set by the Heat, and that's what Miami has held to. Fifteen wins in '88-89 and 18 in '89-90. Figure between 21 and 24 wins for '90-91. Pity the Miami fans. The Heat desperately needs continued improvement from its young Syracuse connection—guard Sherman Douglas and center Rony Seikaly.
The Bullets spent more time whale-watching this summer than Greenpeace did. The object of their attention was 300-plus-pound forward John (Thar She Blows) Williams, who had not reported to Bulletland as of Monday. With Jeff Malone gone, the Bullets must now give the green light to third-year guard Ledell Eackles, a career .437 shooter, who also was unsigned.