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:24 Questions
Phil Taylor
November 08, 1993
Before our pro basketball package winds down, we take a shot at answering some burning queries about the upcoming season
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November 08, 1993

:24 Questions

Before our pro basketball package winds down, we take a shot at answering some burning queries about the upcoming season

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Wilkens landed on his feet in Atlanta, but not with a title contender. Instead, new Cleveland coach Mike Fratello will celebrate when his team supplants the Bulls as Central Division champions. But they're simply not nasty enough to get by the Knicks in the Eastern finals.

:05 Why don't the Hawks—Team Mediocrity—clean house and trade Dominique Wilkins and Kevin Willis for youth while the two still have market value?

Atlanta is carrying too many big salaries to pull off a major shake-up. Wilkins and Willis are rumored to be going somewhere every summer, but finding a team willing to pick up either of their fat contracts is next to impossible. The 33-year-old Wilkins can still fill it up—he could win his second scoring title now that Jordan has abdicated the throne—but the Hawks are still running in place in the middle of the pack.

:04 Who's the best point guard?

A couple of years ago the NBA had so many stellar playmakers at the top of their games that that question would have started a Willie-Mickey-or-Duke type of debate, but most of the leading candidates for the throne are now showing signs of slippage. Kevin Johnson of Phoenix was injured for part of 1992-93 and inconsistent for the rest; Utah's John Stockton had by his own admission a subpar season; Mark Price of Cleveland struggled in the playoffs against Chicago and was the subject of trade rumors most of the summer; and the injured Tim Hardaway looked too much for his shot and not enough for his teammates. So at the moment the league just doesn't have a best point guard.

:03 Has time passed for the Jazz?

Not necessarily, but this could be the team's last chance to seize it. Power forward Karl Malone is 30 and Stockton is 31, and they've given Utah the best years of their careers with nothing to show for it except one trip to the Western Conference finals. Stockton and Malone still have some good years left in them, but the supporting cast—including off-guard Jeff Malone, who slipped last season and slid right into coach Jerry Sloan's doghouse—is extremely weak.

:02 With Rider and forwards Chuck Person and Christian Laettner, Minnesota has the three biggest egos ever assembled on a terrible team. Is there a Timberwolf worth admiring?

We recommend off-guard Doug West, whose improvement has gone mostly unnoticed outside Minnesota. In his four pro seasons West has progressed from scoring fewer than four points a game as a part-time player to averaging 19.3 points last season as a starter. Minnesota coach Sidney Lowe says he thinks his team needs players with "attitude" like Person, Laettner and Rider. It also needs more players like West.

:01 What has new Dallas Maverick coach Quinn Buckner gotten himself into?

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