You've heard how bad Cleveland is in January. Detroit can be a depressing place when it wants to be. Minneapolis? B-b-b-beautiful b-b-b-ut c-c-c-old.

But the worst stop in the NBA? Whenever NBA players are asked about their least favorite stop in the league, Salt Lake is mentioned. One NBA writer once termed Salt Lake City, "A Perry Como kind of town."The city now has a chance, though, to work on its image with NBA players and fans. Jazz officials say TNT plans to do a piece on all the playoff cities and what makes them enjoyable. The network is scheduled to be in town Monday to visit the sites and talk with Jazz President Frank Layden and rookies Andy Toolson and Walter Palmer - live from the Crossroads of the West.

The piece may include some tongue-in-cheek material from the Jazz representatives. Among the things the two rookies are considering is having Toolson - an accomplished musician - playing the organ at Temple Square. They also are talking about appearing in a meeting with Gov. Bangerter or at the This is the Place monument.

Whatever they do, Palmer and Toolson say they may joke around, but they want to go on the record at the end of the piece as saying that Salt Lake is truly a good place to live. Says Toolson, "What's wrong with low crime rates and clean streets?"The Jazz came close to signing veteran Alex English last summer before he was wooed away from the Dallas Mavericks.

But considering how awful the Mavs are, and how good the Jazz are, did he make the right choice? A Dallas Morning News report said recently that English had just finished dinner with Jazz front office personnel when he got a call from the Mavericks. English told the News that if he hadn't signed with the Mavs he would have inked his signature with the Jazz "probably the next day."

Asked if he thinks about the decision, English replied, "I think about it, but I prefer not to. The decision is made and done."He can be a jerk. He's mean. And besides that, he wears a plastic "Jason" mask. But Bill Laimbeer heads a recent list of Dallas Coach Richie Adubato's "All-Underrated Team."

Adubato was asked by the Dallas Mavericks Press to give his list of most underrated people.

"I know, I know, Laimbeer is the guy everyone loves to hate," he wrote. "But a lot of that has to do with the fact that he's a fierce competitor who'll do anything to win.

"Isiah Thomas, Joe Dumars and Dennis Rodman probably get more publicity, but I firmly believe Laimbeer is the most important player on the Pistons."

Other players he named were Phoenix's Jeff Hornacek, Washington's Darrell Walker, Chicago's Horace Grant and Washington's Harvey Grant and Miami Coach Ron Rothstein.They got married in Salt Lake City on Christmas Eve. But time limited Mr. and Mrs. Mailman's honeymoon to a one-day vacation before he had to return to practice.

But Karl Malone promised he'd make it up next summer when the couple goes to Alaska on a fishing expedition/honeymoon - far away from the maddening crowds.

Asked if his trip is planned and ready, the Mailman puts on his best game face and says he's just thinking about the end of the regular season and the start of the playoffs. "No, I haven't got it (the honeymoon) all planned . . . but my wife does."Speaking of rating the players, the April 8 edition of Sports Illustrated surveyed NBA coaches about who is the better point guard - John Stockton or Kevin Johnson.

The results? Sixteen picked Johnson, five Stockton and four abstained. Jazz Coach Jerry Sloan and Cotton Fitzsimmons were excluded.

Of those who voted for Johnson, they agreed that he was ahead as a shooter. Dallas coach Adubato said, "They both do so many things for you, but you know Kevin can always score."

The five Stockton voters said he was a better example of a true point guard.

One coach, who wasn't identified, said KJ is "a little better in every area. A little quicker, a little better shooter, a little better defender, a little more athletic."

"But," he added, "it almost hurts to pick one or the other."It is no secret where new Knicks' President Dave Checketts' bias lies. In a recent New York Daily News column, Checketts explained that he is partial to point guards.

In fact, he says, they are the key element to good teams.

"My bias is point guards," he said. "You take (John) Stockton off the Jazz, in my opinion, that's a team that wins 25 or 30 games. As terrific as the Mailman is, Stockton makes everybody around him good. You can't win in this league, you can't do it unless you've got a guy like that."

Checketts, who was briefly a front office executive with the Denver Nuggets, stayed only briefly - but long enough to make an offer sheet to Terry Porter.

"That's why when I was at Denver I was the guy that made Porter the offer sheet. I did everything I could to sign him, because I know what that does to a team."Siskel and Ebert will have to wait. So will anyone else who is curious about the movie "Rockwell," which includes the Jazz's Karl Malone. The release date still apparently isn't set.

Before the start of a game last week, Malone was asked when the movie will be out. "I think it's in June, but I don't know," said the Mailman. "I'm excited about it and I'm looking forward to it, but that's basically all I know."Magic Johnson is set to break Oscar Robertson's alltime career assist mark this week. But, says the Big O, from one classic to another, it doesn't bother him.

"I feel great about it," said Robertson. "I've known Magic for a long time. He's a quality individual."

While Robertson didn't do a lot of comparing basketball then and now, he did pay tribute to some of the greats in his era.

"Today," he said, "there are no players like Russell, Chamberlain, or Nate Thurmond who can get in there and do the things they did. Those people turned the game around."

The report includes materials gathered from outside news sources.