BOSTON CELTICS

1957 record: won 44, lost 28; first in East. Top scorer: Bill Sharman, 1,413; 7th in league. Top rebounder: Bill Russell, 943; 4th in league.

The best team in pro basketball last year is this year's Boston Celtics; no changes. Coach Red Auerbach has the same superb combination of youth and experience, speed and height, savvy and stamina that swept to the eastern title by six games, eased up, and then beat the inspired Hawks in the playoffs. Playing in only 48 games (out of 72), Russell was still fourth in the league in rebounds, one reason for the great success of Boston's fast break. Another, of course, is Bob Cousy, who can move faster with the ball than most pros can without it, spot a free man (or a soonr-to-be-free man) with the merest corner of an eye and get the ball to him pronto. Add Bill Sharman, league leader in free-throw accuracy and a .400-plus hitter from the floor, and Tom Heinsohn, who earned his Rookie-of-the-Year award with a variety of spectacular shots. Finish with Jim Loscutoff, all spring and muscle under the boards, and you have, quite possibly, the best combination ever assembled on a pro team. Bullish Frank Ramsey and steady Arnie Risen, Andy Phillip and Jack Nichols make up a powerful bench. Only cloud on the Celtics' horizon is the advancing age of their veterans. But balancing this is Auerbach's concentration on conditioning and the pride that Sharman, Cousy, Risen and Phillip take in keeping in shape. Barring injuries to these older stars, who might recuperate slowly, the Celtics should again finish 1st

PHILADELPHIA WARRIORS

1957 record: won 37, lost 35; 3rd in East. Top scorer: Paul Arizin, 1,817; first in league. Top rebounder: Neil Johnston, 855; 6th in league.

The return of Tom Gola from the Army, now expected in early December, should make Philadelphia the only team in the East capable of beating Boston for the division title. He will inject spark in a backcourt whose slump last year (there were games in which the entire backcourt personnel didn't come up with a single field goal) was the reason for the Warriors' fall from their championship game of 1956. The set offense of Johnston in the pivot and Arizin in the corners and at the circle, will be even more effective with Gola supplying backcourt punch. Over-all rebounding should improve also, thereby affording the opportunity for fast breaks, which were seldom tried last year. Outstanding rookie so far is Woody Sauldsberry, 6-foot-7 former Harlem Globetrotter from Texas Southern, whose speed and size fit him for spelling Graboski and Arizin up front. All-America Len Rosenbluth (6 feet 5 and rather frail) cannot find a place in front court, must therefore beat out unsung but steady George Dempsey in backcourt if he is to avoid being cut by December 15. Team's strongest point is shooting; last year's 39.6% led in league. Weak points include lack of height in regular lineup and over-all defense. If Gola comes through as hoped; if Sauldsberry can fill in on defense against opponents' big men—and if the Celtics falter—then the Warriors can do it again. But, our prediction for Philadelphia in 1958 is 2nd

SYRACUSE NATIONALS

1957: won 38, lost 34; 2nd in East. Top scorer: Dolph Schayes, 1,617; 3rd in the league. Top rebounder: Dolph Schayes, 1,008; 3rd in NBA.

Syracuse finished strongly last year after a miserable start. If they improve their record this year, the reason will have to be the continued spark and inspiration provided by Player-Coach Paul Seymour, who took over when the Nats were in last place and going nowhere. Seymour deserved the credit last season and he will deserve it this season because he will have essentially the same team. Syracuse lost all four of their top draft choices—George BonSalle, Jim Morgan, Ron Tomsic and Vince Cohen are still amateurs. To his roster of veteran stars, Seymour adds only Larry Costello, in trade with Philadelphia. Costello's speed in the backcourt will help in Seymour's determination that "we are going to run every chance we get." But the Nats' offense will still consist mainly of the fast weave and give-and-go. Driving, deadeye-shooting Dolph Schayes is a tower of strength. Ed Conlin (due back from service in December) was last year's most-improved pro player. Solid pivotman Johnny Kerr should get a lot of help from Bob Hopkins, in his second pro season. Hopkins, incidentally, is a cousin of Boston's Bill Russell and, possibly for this reason, always does a fine defensive job on Russell. Backcourt men Al Bianchi and Bob Harrison have also looked good in preseason training, Harrison's set shot being razor-sharp. Certainly not least is Seymour himself, in top condition after 11 years of service, but Syracuse does not figure to finish higher than 4th

NEW YORK KNICKS

1957 record: won 36, lost 36; 4th in East. Top scorer: Ken Sears, 1,069; 15th in league. Top rebounder: Willie Naulls, 617; 16th in league.

Coach Vince Boryla's plight is a perfect illustration of the over-all strength of the NBA. With a flock of former All-Americas on his roster and the tallest squad in the league, he will be fortunate indeed if the Knicks make the playoffs—something they failed to accomplish last year. The big trade with Detroit—McGuire, Clifton and Gallatin for Mel Hutchins and Charlie Tyra—and the purchase of Willie Gardner from the Globetrotters, committed Boryla to fielding a team whose members will have a minimum of experience in playing together. Problem No. 2 involves Boryla's apparent plan to give Tyra every opportunity to make good at center. On the face of it, this sounds silly; any team would dearly love to have this powerful, 6-foot-8 22-year-old. But Tyra will have to supplement his fine rebounding and defensive skill with adequate scoring punch. Hutchins will of course be a big help on defense too. Gardner, also 6 feet 8 inches, seems to have everything but an eye for the basket at this stage. Second-year men Willie Naulls, Ron Sobie and Richie Guerin should be even better than last year. Last season, Ken Sears was good; it's time for his predicted greatness to become apparent. Carl Braun will be a steady hand in the backcourt, and Ray Felix, at 6 feet 11 inches, will be scrambling to hold his place and therefore playing at his very best. Every pro respects New York height and muscle, yet these should not bring the club higher than 3rd

PHOTOJIM LOSCUTOFF
F, 6'5", 225 lbs.
PHOTOBOB COUSY
G, 6'1", 175 lbs.
PHOTOBILL RUSSELL
C, 6'9", 215 lbs.
PHOTOTOM HEINSOHN
F, 6'7", 220 lbs.
PHOTOBILL SHARMAN
G, 6'2", 190 lbs.
PHOTORED AUERBACH
Coach
PHOTOJOE GRABOSKI
F, 6'8", 225 lbs.
PHOTOJACK GEORGE
G, 6'2", 195 lbs.
PHOTONEIL JOHNSTON
C, 6'8", 215 lbs.
PHOTOTOM GOLA
G, 6'6", 215 lbs.
PHOTOPAUL ARIZIN
F, 6'4", 200 lbs.
PHOTOGEORGE SENESKY
Coach
PHOTODOLPH SCHAYES
F, 6"8", 220 lbs.
PHOTOLARRY COSTELLO
G, 6'1", 180 lbs.
PHOTOAL BIANCHI
G, 6'3", 185 lbs.
PHOTOJOHNNY KERR
C, 6'9", 230 lbs.
PHOTOEARL LLOYD
F, 6'6", 230 lbs.
PHOTOPAUL SEYMOUR
Player-coach
PHOTOMEL HUTCHINS
G, 6'6", 205 lbs.
PHOTOKENNY SEARS
F, 6'9", 195 lbs.
PHOTOWILLIE NAULLS
F, 6'6", 225 lbs.
PHOTOCARL BRAUN
G, 6'5", 185 lbs.
PHOTOCHARLIE TYRA
C, 6'8", 235 lbs.
PHOTOVINCE BORYLA
Coach
FOUR ILLUSTRATIONS
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)