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October 30, 2000 | Volume 93, Issue 17

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Darius Miles Cover - Sports Illustrated October 30, 2000

October 30, 2000 | S.L. Price
It's easy to mock Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy for his rumpled look and sad-dog demeanor. But don't be fooled any longer by the disguise. He's shrewd and he's fearless

October 30, 2000
How We Rank 'Em

October 30, 2000 | Phil Taylor
Bigger, deeper, tougher, hungrier: What it all adds up to is a new NBA champion

October 30, 2000 | Phil Taylor
Only 15 of the players who qualified for the league lead in field goal percentage last season shot better than 50%. Portland, with Arvydas Sabonis, Rasheed Wallace and newly acquired Dale Davis,...

October 30, 2000 | Phil Taylor
For NBA team pages, schedules, stats and rosters, plus the latest news and analysis from Phil Taylor and Marty Burns, go to cnnsi.com/basketball. For a complete list of PVRs by position, go to...

October 30, 2000 | Phil Taylor
"If I have to choose, I'll take Portland over the Lakers.... The Blazers don't just have numbers up front, they have quality. Shaquille O'Neal has never seen this many skilled big men coming at...

October 30, 2000 | Phil Taylor
Instead of getting fat and happy, the defending champs spent the summer getting better

October 30, 2000 | Phil Taylor
This season the Lakers stand an excellent chance of becoming the only active NBA franchise with an alltime winning record on the road. They enter 2000-01 with an away mark of 951-957 (.498).

October 30, 2000 | Phil Taylor
"There's really no clear way to attack this team. Your best chance is to get them in an up-tempo game; that lessens Shaquille O'Neal's impact a bit, and they don't have many guys who like to play...

October 30, 2000 | Ian Thomsen
The old center persuaded the young star who persuaded the new guard to play here and win

October 30, 2000 | Ian Thomsen
Derek Anderson's 4.2 free throws made per game in 1999-2000 ranked eighth in the league among shooting guards. Anderson sank 271 foul shots in 64 games; last year's Spurs' backcourt of Mario Elie...

October 30, 2000 | Ian Thomsen
"The thing that makes the Spurs tough is that they don't get lazy and just lob the ball in to the two big guys. They push it up because both Tim Duncan and David Robinson run the floor so well....

October 30, 2000 | Grant Wahl
Patrick Ewing will get plenty of shots in Seattle, but not the one he wants—a shot at a ring

October 30, 2000 | Grant Wahl
Two players have been traded after scoring more career points than Patrick Ewing's 23,665: Elvin Hayes (24,547), whom the Bullets sent to the Rockets in 1981, and Wilt Chamberlain (25,434), whom...

October 30, 2000 | Grant Wahl
"A hit-or-miss team. The Sonics either make the playoffs as, say, a six seed, or they don't jell and have a disastrous year.... Desmond Mason was very underrated in the draft. Defensively he's a...

October 30, 2000 | Mark Bechtel
The never-changing Jazz has actually made a change, and Donyell Marshall is darn happy about it

October 30, 2000 | Mark Bechtel
John Stockton, who has played 1,258 games for the Jazz, enters this season 12 games behind John Havlicek's NBA record of 1,270 games with one team. Karl Malone is 66 games behind Stockton, with 1,192.

October 30, 2000 | Mark Bechtel
"We're still talking about 50-plus wins for the Jazz. Utah has enough left to make things interesting against the Blazers, Lakers and Spurs.... Forget Karl Malone's age. He could lose a step and...

October 30, 2000 | Mark Bechtel
After last season's medical meltdown, the well-healed Suns are eager to operate at full force

October 30, 2000 | Mark Bechtel
With 483 boards last season, Jason Kidd became the first guard to lead his team in total rebounds since 1989-90, when three players did it: the Nuggets' Fat Lever, the Bucks' Alvin Robertson and...

October 30, 2000 | Mark Bechtel
"Even if they don't trade for Dikembe Mutombo, the Suns helped themselves by getting rid of Luc Longley and bringing in Chris Dudley. Dudley will rebound, contest shots, take charges and play good...

October 30, 2000 | Phil Taylor
They're the league's most entertaining team, but without more D, this show goes nowhere

October 30, 2000 | Phil Taylor
Last season the Kings hoisted a league-high 1,656 three-point shots but finished 28th in accuracy (32.2%). Only the Sonics' Gary Payton (6.3) put up more three-pointers per game than Sacramento's...

October 30, 2000 | Phil Taylor
"These guys lack toughness, especially in the frontcourt. They need somebody mean and physical inside, like a Dale Davis or a Charles Oakley. Chris Webber can't really be that guy because the...

October 30, 2000 | Mark Bechtel
A Tale of Twin Cities: tragedy, reunion and a hopeful newcomer with very large shoes to fill

October 30, 2000 | Mark Bechtel
The Timberwolves led the NBA with 26.9 assists per game last season. Terrell Brandon (8.9) and Kevin Garnett (5.0) also formed the league's best one-two punch.

October 30, 2000 | Mark Bechtel
"They're one of the tougher teams to prepare for because Flip Saunders doesn't settle for running the same offensive sets as everybody else. In a playoff series you can prepare for them, but in...

October 30, 2000 | Ian Thomsen
Will fancy chairs and stereo systems transform this club into a playoff team? Well, it's a start

October 30, 2000 | Ian Thomsen
If A.C. Green remains unsigned, Michael Finley will become the NBA's active iron man with 379 straight games played. Even with Finley, though, Dallas's total of 332 games missed due to injury and...

October 30, 2000 | Ian Thomsen
"You're always going to get something from Don Nelson that's either crazy or clever, depending on your point of view. You have to wonder if they'd be better off just doing the things they do well...

October 30, 2000 | Phil Taylor
With two good players in place, there's a sense of direction at last. And it's upward

October 30, 2000 | Phil Taylor
Antawn Jamison had the league's largest per-game scoring increase, from 9.6 points in '98-99 to 19.6 in 1999-2000. Larry Hughes's average made a huge jump during last season, from 10.0 in 50 games...

October 30, 2000 | Phil Taylor
"Instead of doing a lot of fancy stuff or running a lot of set plays, they'll rely mostly on transition and pick-and-roll if Dave Cowens coaches them the way he coached Charlotte.... They'll play...

October 30, 2000 | Mark Bechtel
In Denver, they've been thinking—and drafting—big, but have they cured their problems in the post?

October 30, 2000 | Mark Bechtel
The Nuggets led the league last year in blocked shots per game (7.54) and were the only team to have three players with triple figures in blocks: Raef LaFrentz (180), Antonio McDyess (139) and...

October 30, 2000 | Mark Bechtel
"It's more important to take away the transition game against the Nuggets than against most other teams. Do that, and you'll see that their half-court offense is pretty vanilla. They just run...

October 30, 2000 | Ian Thomsen
A promising youth movement has been launched, but in the West, growing up will be painful

October 30, 2000 | Ian Thomsen
Last season Steve Francis became only the third rookie in franchise history to lead the team in scoring. Ralph Sampson poured in 21.0 points per game for Houston in 1983-84, and Elvin Hayes...

October 30, 2000 | Ian Thomsen
"Here's how much this team has changed: It doesn't make sense to double-team Hakeem right off the bat anymore. The more shots he takes, the fewer that Steve Francis and Cuttino Mobley get, and...

October 30, 2000 | Phil Taylor
They're callow and they're clueless, but say this for them: They all want to be Clippers

October 30, 2000 | Phil Taylor
Last season marked the fourth time in the 16 years since the Clippers moved to Los Angeles that they've finished with the league's worst record. In three of those four seasons L.A.'s other team,...

October 30, 2000 | Phil Taylor
"Who's an established veteran on this club who can teach all these young kids about the league? Eric Piatkowski? C'mon.... Michael Olowokandi could be a solid NBA center, but when you watch him...

October 30, 2000 | Josh Elliott
There's a new brain trust in place. Now Grizzlies fans will find out if they can trust those brains

October 30, 2000 | Josh Elliott
Last season the Grizzlies became the first team since the 1991-92 Knicks to have four players (Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Mike Bibby, Michael Dickerson and Othella Harrington) start all 82 games.

October 30, 2000 | Josh Elliott
"The Grizzlies tend to come at you hard early, pushing the ball up the floor, but they don't sustain it. They usually slow down into a half-court team as the game goes on, and then they aren't as...

October 30, 2000 | Ian Thomsen
The Magic now has a go-to guy in Grant Hill, and in the weak East it can go to the top

October 30, 2000 | Ian Thomsen
A Magic player topped 30 points only four times last season. Off-season acquisition Grant Hill scored 30 or more 29 times for the Pistons in 1999-2000—including a season-high 42 against Orlando.

October 30, 2000 | Ian Thomsen
"As long as Grant Hill's ankle is healthy, the Magic has two of the league's best players in him and Tracy McGrady. Orlando added a lot of skill to a team that was already playing with more energy...

October 30, 2000 | Marty Burns
With abundant talent, they have eyes on the promised land, and a sixth man shall lead them

October 30, 2000 | Marty Burns
George Karl has led his team to the postseason each year since 1991-92 (the past two seasons with the Bucks and the previous seven with the Sonics). Only Utah's Jerry Sloan (12 seasons) has a...

October 30, 2000 | Marty Burns
"The reason The Bucks came so close to beating Indiana in the playoffs was that they abandoned many of the defensive gimmicks they've been using the last two years under George Karl and just got...

October 30, 2000 | Chris Ballard
There's a new old hand at point guard, and that should be a very good thing for Vince Carter

October 30, 2000 | Chris Ballard
Point guard Mark Jackson is fifth among active players with a career 3.27-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. His backup, Muggsy Bogues, is the NBA's alltime leader, with 4.70 assists for every turnover.

October 30, 2000 | Chris Ballard
"They were a wide-open, scrambling team under Butch Carter, and that was fine when they had Tracy McGrady running all over the place. Now, with Lenny Wilkens, they're going to be more traditional,...

October 30, 2000 | Tim Crothers
The Post-Patrick era finds them light at center, bloated at guard and far from the comfort zone

October 30, 2000 | Tim Crothers
Glen Rice is one of only two players to rank among the NBA's alltime top 10 in both three-point field goals made (1,353, third) and three-point field goal percentage (40.5%, seventh). Knicks...

October 30, 2000 | Tim Crothers
"They may have slipped a little, but the Knicks are mentally tougher than every team in the East except the Heat, and they're unselfish in a lot of ways. New York is one of the best-executing...

October 30, 2000 | Chris Ballard
Even with the world's least likely captain and a shaky second mate, this ship can sail in the playoffs

October 30, 2000 | Chris Ballard
Last season the 76ers played an NBA-leading 25 games decided by three points or fewer, and won 17 of them, also tops in the league.

October 30, 2000 | Chris Ballard
"It was a mistake for Allen Iverson to come to camp at only 155 pounds because he takes more hits than anybody else. Every team goes after him. We tell our players: Anytime you've got a chance to...

October 30, 2000
W.C. Heinz is a man who has confronted ail that life has given him the only way he knows how—deep into the late rounds.—TED STRICKLETT, Omaha

October 30, 2000
Letters to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED should include the name, address and home telephone number of the writer. They may be mailed to The Editor, Sports Illustrated, 135 West 50th Street, New York, N.Y....

October 30, 2000 | Tim Crothers
After a summer of healing and dealing, the buzz in Charlotte is all about a fresh start—again

October 30, 2000 | Tim Crothers
An assist was credited on 68.9% of the Hornets' field goals last season, an NBA high (as opposed to the Clippers' league-low 51.4%). It was the first time since 1992-93 that the Jazz didn't lead...

October 30, 2000 | Tim Crothers
"With the Pacers and the Knicks having traded their size, I see the Hornets making a move up this year. They have a lot of big men who are skilled.... Getting P.J. Brown and Jamal Mashburn for...

October 30, 2000 | Ian Thomsen
No 'Zo means the heat's on $86 Million Man Brian Grant, as well as some aging vets, to fill the void

October 30, 2000 | Ian Thomsen
Pat Riley, who enters the season with 999 regular-season victories, will join Toronto's Lenny Wilkens (1,179) as the only other coach to reach 1,000. Riley is the alltime leader in postseason...

October 30, 2000 | Ian Thomsen
"It may seem like the Heat overpaid Brian Grant, but Pat Riley was positioning himself for a three-year title run. If Miami wants to stay among the top two or three teams in the East without...

October 30, 2000 | Ian Thomsen
Last year's East champs sure look different. It will be interesting to see how well they play

October 30, 2000 | Ian Thomsen
Trey magnifique: Not only did the Pacers lead the NBA with 583 three-pointers last season, but they also allowed a league-low 329 baskets from beyond the arc.

October 30, 2000 | Ian Thomsen
"If team president Donnie Walsh knew two months ago what he knows now about Alonzo Mourning, I bet Dale Davis would still be with Indiana.... The Pacers have three high school kids. The way to do...

October 30, 2000 | Chris Ballard
Nets fans have seen a lot of misery, but at least they can watch the No. 1 pick do his shot blocking thing

October 30, 2000 | Chris Ballard
Last season's most turnover-prone teammates were Stephon Marbury (3.6 per game) and Keith Van Horn (3.1). Their fellow Nets, though, were so sure-handed that as a team New Jersey averaged a...

October 30, 2000 | Chris Ballard
"It will be interesting to see how Keith Van Horn and Kenyon Martin play together. They're definitely going to pose matchup problems. On the other hand, Van Horn can't guard anyone.... The Nets...

October 30, 2000 | Marty Burns
The curtain has fallen on the disappointing Shawn Kemp show—now it's Miller time

October 30, 2000 | Marty Burns
Cleveland held a halftime lead in 45 of its 82 games last year, but lost a league-high 21 of those. The Cavs weren't any better when trailing at the half, coming back only six times (in 34...

October 30, 2000 | Marty Burns
"General Manager Jim Paxson did the right thing by unloading Shawn Kemp. Last year the Cavs were trying to rebuild and be a playoff contender. It's difficult to do both. Now they have a better...

October 30, 2000 | Ian Thomsen
His team is headed nowhere again, but Rick Pitino could be headed elsewhere—like back to college

October 30, 2000 | Ian Thomsen
Kenny Anderson (5.1 assists last year) averaged a career-high 9.6 assists when he played for the Nets in 1993-94. The highest assists average in Celtics history is 9.5, by Bob Cousy in '59-60, the...

October 30, 2000 | Ian Thomsen
"They practice hard, and they're tough-minded. Otherwise I don't know where to begin with them. They are so bad.... They cannot defend against anybody. Rick Pitino can coach, but it's hard to be...

October 30, 2000 | Tim Crothers
Stymied by the salary cap, not even Michael Jordan can work the necessary miracles in D.C.

October 30, 2000 | Tim Crothers
Last season marked the first time Wizards president Michael Jordan was associated with a team that missed the NBA playoffs. Washington finished 29-53; Jordan's worst record as a player was 30-52...

October 30, 2000 | Tim Crothers
"With the way it has performed the last few years, this team needs to be blown up, but I would be surprised if anything changes.... I wonder if Michael Jordan will eventually want to go down and...

October 30, 2000 | Marty Burns
The good news: The Bulls will be better than they were last year. The bad news: not much better

October 30, 2000 | Marty Burns
Last season's NBA co-Rookie of the Year Elton Brand became the first Bulls player to average 20 points and 10 rebounds per game in a season since Artis Gilmore (23.7 ppg, 12.7 rpg in 1978-79).

October 30, 2000 | Marty Burns
"If they win 20 games this year, they've done pretty well. A lot of teams in the Eastern Conference haven't improved, which should make the Bulls feel optimistic, but I look at this team and see...

October 30, 2000 | Chris Ballard
JULY 7, 1975

October 30, 2000 | Marty Burns
Are the days of the Bad Boys back in Motown? Depends on what your definition of bad is

October 30, 2000 | Marty Burns
Lindsey Hunter, Christian Laettner, Terry Mills and Grant Hill started a total of 316 games for the Pistons last season. With their off-season departures, Detroit lost more games started than any...

October 30, 2000 | Marty Burns
"You don't want to let Jerry Stackhouse get to the middle of the floor. Channel him to the baseline, where you can cut off his angles by having your big guys ready to double-team him. He's a...

October 30, 2000 | Elizabeth Newman
Rookie coach. Few veterans. Lone star who may be dealt. Not good signs. Not a good team

October 30, 2000 | Elizabeth Newman
In Lenny Wilkens's first year in Atlanta, 1993-94, his 57-25 mark (.695) tied the franchise's alltime best. In his last season his record of 28-54 (.341) was the franchise's worst since 1953-54,...

October 30, 2000 | Elizabeth Newman
"I would have traded Dikembe Mutombo to the Knicks for Marcus Camby and Allan Houston, even if I thought Houston was going to leave as a free agent after a year. At least then you're taking a shot...

October 30, 2000 | Rick Reilly
The wife and I moved our family to New York City for the fall so we could experience firsthand the thrill of rude cashiers, cabs that smell like a goat fry and the $19 tuna sandwich.

October 30, 2000 | Steve Rushin
Psst! Here's the lowdown on Big Apple doings from the Series that Mr. and Mrs. America love to hate

October 30, 2000 | John Walters
Highlights

October 30, 2000 | John Walters
Do you know the second line to On Wisconsin"? On which septuagenarian coach's site can you hear the strains of Pearl Jam? Who let the dogs out down in Mississippi? The following college football...

October 30, 2000 | John Walters
An NFL Films special equates the gridiron and the hustings

October 30, 2000 | John Walters
Jay Walking popular Tonight Show bit in which host Jay Leno demonstrates the dumbing down of America by stumping random passersby with third-grade-level queries. Last Thursday, on the UCLA campus,...

October 30, 2000 | E.M. Swift
A Chicago-born Bostonian grudgingly concedes New York's sports primacy

October 30, 2000 | E.M. Swift
AtlantaWhat's more embarrassing—losing a team to Calgary (the Flames), adopting the tomahawk chop or cheering John Rocker?