Starting Fives

November 04, 1993|By Jerry Bembry

FIVE TOP ROOKIES

1. Jamal Mashburn, Dallas Mavericks -- Playing with the worst team in the NBA does have its advantages. Mashburn should win Rookie of the Year honors.

2. Chris Webber, Golden State Warriors -- Because of injuries to teammates, he could find himself carrying too much of a load.

3. Isaiah "J. R." Rider, Minnesota Timberwolves -- Perhaps the most talented rookie, but could face problems playing alongside Chuck Person and Christian Laettner.

4. Anfernee Hardaway, Orlando Magic -- To some, the second coming of Magic Johnson. Not quite.

5. Lindsey Hunter, Detroit Pistons -- A scorer who will soon replace Isiah Thomas.

FIVE PLAYERS WHO SHOULD BECOME FIRST-TIME ALL-STARS

1. John Starks, New York Knicks -- Former CBA hothead is on the verge of becoming one of the most exciting players in the game. Fearless.

2. Kenny Anderson, New Jersey Nets -- Was having a great year until injury forced him to miss last month and half of the season.

3. Alonzo Mourning, Charlotte Hornets -- A more complete player than Shaquille O'Neal, and O'Neal made the All-Star team as a rookie.

4. Derrick Coleman, New Jersey Nets -- The most complete power forward in the game.

5. Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf (formerly Chris Jackson), Denver Nuggets -- Last season's most improved player reaches All-Star level.

FIVE MATCHUPS WE'D LIKE TO SEE

1. Gheorghe Muresan (7-7) vs. Shawn Bradley (7-6) -- The biggest matchup in NBA history could have happened tomorrow, but the Bullets' Muresan has chickenpox and won't face Bradley's 76ers.

2. Shaquille O'Neal vs. Alonzo Mourning -- The Chamberlain/Russell matchup of the '90s. When the Magic's O'Neal met the Hornets' Mourning for the first time last season, it made for one of the season's most exciting matchups.

3. Larry Johnson vs. Charles Barkley -- Have the first-aid ready when the Hornets' Johnson and the Suns' Barkley collide.

4. John Starks vs. Reggie Miller -- One of the game's best defenders against one of basketball's best shooters. The bad blood between the Knick and Pacer helps increase the interest.

5. Muresan vs. Muggsy Bogues (5-3) -- Wouldn't you love to see the Bullet and Hornet battle for a loose ball, then face off in a jump ball?

FIVE MOST OVERRATED PLAYERS

1. Dominique Wilkins, Atlanta Hawks -- Will probably lead the league in scoring, but won't win any friends among his teammates.

2. Chris Dudley, Portland Trail Blazers -- Scored 3.5 points and grabbed 7.2 rebounds last season as a backup in New Jersey. Why all the fuss?

3. Kendall Gill, Seattle SuperSonics -- Claims he's able to be one of the top five players in the league, but was unhappy playing in the shadows of Larry Johnson and Alonzo Mourning on a solid Charlotte team. Will have his ego tested as his minutes are cut with the deep Seattle team.

4. Danny Manning, Los Angeles Clippers -- Averaged 22.8 points last year, but can't take a game over and can't make his teammates better.

5. Charles Smith, New York Knicks -- Soft game. Will never live down missing shots from point-blank range in the Chicago series.

FIVE MOST UNDERRATED PLAYERS

1. Craig Ehlo, Atlanta Hawks -- Quietly helped keep Cleveland a competitive team.

2. Dell Curry, Charlotte Hornets -- Averaged 15.3 points off the bench.

3. Sedale Threatt, Los Angeles Lakers -- Lakers would not have challenged Phoenix in the playoffs if not for Threatt's production.

4. Blue Edwards, Milwaukee Bucks -- Can back up at guard or forward, explosive scorer and good rebounder.

5. Anthony Mason, New York Knicks -- Can score, can rebound. Probably should start in front of Charles Smith.

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