Jerry Bembry's picks
Tim Duncan, power forward, San Antonio Spurs: As a rookie, was one of the NBA's top five players.
Scottie Pippen, small forward, Houston Rockets: Has to overcome off-season back surgery.
Shaquille O'Neal, center, Los Angeles Lakers: ers: Game's most dominant big man.
Rod Strickland, point guard, Washington Wizards: Last year's assists leader.
Latrell Sprewell, shooting guard, New York Knicks: Michael Jordan's retirement makes him the game's top shooting guard.
Theo Ratliff, forward, Philadelphia 76ers: Hard work earned him long-term deal with Sixers.
Sherman Douglas, point guard, Los Angeles Clippers: les Clippers: Was hoping to go to Washington as a starter, but settled for L.A.
Bo Outlaw, forward, Orlando Magic: A workaholic.
Howard Eisley, point guard, Utah Jazz: With this likely being John Stockton's final season, he's the Utah point guard of the future.
Loy Vaught, power forward, Detroit Pistons: tons: Provides needed toughness for team lacking a physical center.
Wilting under the pressure
Karl Malone, Utah Jazz: Still waiting for him to show for the duration of an NBA Finals.
Alonzo Mourning, Miami Heat: Immaturity cost Miami in last year's playoff series against New York.
Cliff Robinson, Phoenix Suns: Shot 27.3 percent in last year's playoffs.
Del Harris, Los Angeles Lakers: After two postseason disappointments, pressure is on this coach to win.
Rookies to watch
Vince Carter, forward, Toronto Raptors: After averaging 12.3 points in three years at North Carolina, the true skills of the No. 5 pick of the NBA draft will surface in the NBA.
Larry Hughes, guard, Philadelphia 76ers: The skills of the draft's No. 8 pick are there. And fans will see them on the nights that Allen Iverson is in a sharing mood.
Dirk Nowitzki, center, Dallas Mavericks: Playing for a horrible team will allow the 6-foot-11 German (ninth pick) to get plenty of playing time.
Mike Bibby, guard, Vancouver Grizzlies: Drafted second, there's no pressure on Bibby with this young team.
Pub Date: 2/05/99