The question many have is what will the Jazz face this season? The answer is:
In the Midwest Division, with David Robinson storming his way to the NBA's Rookie of the Year award, the San Antonio Spurs return a supporting cast that includes Terry Cummings and new draftee 7-foot-1 Dwayne Schintzius of Florida.Despite their somewhat tenuous success, the Dallas Mavericks made some wholesale changes, including the addition of a couple of Denver Nuggets' veterans. All-star guard Fat Lever brings his 18.3 average to Dallas. where he'll team with Derek Harper and Rolando Blackman to give the Mavs one of the best three-guard rotations in the NBA.
The Rockets were busy in the off-season, trading veterans Tim McCormick and John Lucas to Atlanta for guards Kenny Smith and Roy Marble. The Rockets hope the two former Hawks can help solidify an inconsistent backcourt, while Akeem Olajuwon gets complementary flashes from forwards Otis Thorpe and Buck Johnson.
The Nuggets not only waved goodbye to veterans Alex English, Fat Lever and Danny Schayes, but new general manger Bernie Bickerstaff replaced longtime coach Doug Moe with former Layola Marymount coach Paul Westhead, who brings his run, run, run style back to the NBA.
The Minnesota Timberwolves got high marks with their first-round pick, 7-foot-0 center Felton Spencer, who averaged 14.9 points a game last season for Louisville. It's expected he'll step directly into a starting role.
With the top draft choice, the Orlando Magic came away with a projected winner - 6-foot-8 swingman Dennis Scot, who averaged 27.7 points a game at George Tech. Scott won provide all the answers, but his offensive prowess may help Magic fans forget more glaring deficiencies.
Those who didn't take notice of the Suns' 54-28 regular season, paid attention in the playoffs where Phoenix dispatched both favored Jazz and Lakers. Along with Kevin Johnson were co-stars Tom Chambers and Jeff Hornacek - and they're back.
Gone from the Lakers is coach Pat Riley and veteran mainstays like Michael Cooper. New coach Mike Dunleavey will have to mix his superstar core - Magic Johnson, James Worthy, Byron Scott - with some sweet acquisitions, most notably Sam Perkins and Terry Teagle.
Beyond the "big 5" - Clyde Drexler, Terry Porter, Buck Williams, Jerome Kersey and Kevin Duckworth - the Portland Trailblazers don't have a lot to work with. That's why Portland is hoping Danny Ainge, acquired in the off-season from Sacramento, will help.
Los Angeles Clippers new coach Mike Schuler inherits a team anxiously awaiting the return of two of its stars - Ron Harper and Gary Grant - after season-ending injuries last year. They'll be joined by highly touted rookie guard Bo Kimble.
Another old coach in a new position, K.C. Jones, takes over the Seattle Supersonics, a team in transition. The Sonics made only one major personnel move, adding 6-foo-4 1/2 guard Gary Payton.
The Sacramento Kings unloaed a pair of would-be stars, Pervis Ellison and Rodney McCray, for a bundle of draft picks - Lionel Simmons (LaSalle), Travis Mays (Texas), Duane Causewell (Temple) and Anthony Bonner (St. Louis University). The Kings also got two former Jazzmen - Eric Leckner and Bobby Hansen.
Golden State Warriors coach Don Nelson is hoping 7-foot center Alaton Lister can come back from an Achilles' tendon injury that limited him to only three games in 1989-90.
In the Atlantic Division, Philadelphia's still has Charles Barkley and Rick Mahorn who brought the bump-and-rump style to the 76ers game. Drafted was 6-foot-4 guard Brian Olvier, who is expected to help Johnny Dawkins and Hersey Hawkins.
It's settled. Brian Shaw will play his 1990-91 basketball in Boston. Now the Celtics can get about figuring out where their 1989-90 season went wrong. Shaw's signing did bring to an end the distinguished career of Dennis Johnson.
New York Knicks second-year Coach Stu Jackson has to find his star center, Patrick Ewing, some help. Walking relicslike Maurice Cheeks and Kiki Vanderwehge probably aren't the answer.
Besides Pervis Ellison, part of a trade that brought Jeff Malone to the Jazz, Washington added 7-foot center Greg Foster from UTEP.
In the Central Division, the world champion Detroit Pistons returns all its key players and picked up Lance Blanks in the draft . . . The Chicago Bulls got closer, but even with Michael Jordan missed the title again. The picked up Dennis Hopson from New Jersey to help this year . . . The Cleveland Cavaliers' are looking better since Danny Ferry escaped from Italy and landed on the Cavs roster . . . The Indiana Pacers have a solid nucleus returning - Reggis Miller, Detlef Schrempf and Chuck Person . . . Dominique Wilkins remains the human highlight for Atlanta . . . Milwaukee picked up Schayes and Frank Brickowski . . . and the Charlotte Hornets lack a big man, but have mid-size players who can shoot.