WESTERN DIVISION

November 04, 1957

ST. LOUIS HAWKS

1957; won 34, lost 38; tied for first in West. Top scorer: Bob Pettit, 1,755; 2nd in league. Top rebounder: Bob Pettit, 1,037; 2nd in league.

When Alex Hannum took over the floundering Hawks in midseason last year, he changed their style of offense from deliberate to go-go-go. In addition, he charged up a group of veterans to the point where they rose from last place to first and just missed winning the NBA title by a handful of points. As a bonus for Hannum's efforts, Rookie Cliff Hagan began playing like an All-Star. These three items-inspired veterans, a running game and Hagan's improvement—are the backbone of the Hawks' chances this year. They still need another good, big man and can't get one. To their superb but shallow backcourt, they add top draft choice Win Wilfong, who can spell Slater Martin and Jack McMahon. Up front, service returnee Frank Selvy should improve the efficiency of veterans Ed Macauley and Jack Coleman simply by being available. In his own right, it is enough to quote Hannum's opinion: "Selvy's one of the finest shooters ever to play the game. It'll be a great day for us when he comes back." Finally, the Hawks' greatest personal asset is superstar Bob Pettit. If Pettit had not broken a wristbone late last season, there is little doubt that he would have been first, not second, in scoring. He and Chuck Share supply the Hawks' height—and could use help. This year, Hannum is going to wear a business suit on the bench; he says his playing days are over. A fine coach, a fine man, he should once again prove that nice guys can finish 1st

MINNEAPOLIS LAKERS

1957: won 34, lost 38; tied for first. Top scorer: Dick Carmaker, 1,177; 10th in league. Top rebounder: V. Mikkelsen, 630; 15th in league.

It is somewhat difficult to offer real encouragement to the "new" Lakers, especially in relation to over-all NBA power, except to point to the home-town enthusiasm which oversubscribed the fund necessary to keep the team in Minneapolis. If this imbues new Coach George Mikan's flock of fresh Lakers with all-out spirit, they may rise above their paper potential. Only four holdovers are left from last year's club: Vern Mikkelsen, Dick Schnittker, Bob Leonard and Dick Garmaker. The first two may be past their peak, though Mikkelsen is still his old aggressive, highly competitive self. Leonard, a good ball handler and playmaker and getting better, will start in the backcourt with new man Ed Fleming, who is quick on defense but erratic. Lakers' offense will be based on the pivot play of tradee Larry Foust and Rookie Jim Krebs at center. Krebs, it appears certain, will have to take over eventually here; it will be all-important to discover if his speed and stamina are up to pro requirements. The celebrated Rod Hundley can play up front or in the backcourt and is a much better player than his reputation as a clown suggests. His weakness is defense but he has the natural ability to learn. How quickly, is the key. Possible ace in the hole is Rookie George Brown, a 6-foot-6~ forward with the spring of a jumper and the drive of a sprinter. Both Mikan and his team lack experience for their separate tasks; it is impossible this year to rate them higher than 4th

DETROIT PISTONS

1957: won 34, lost 38; tied for first in West. Top scorer: George Yardley, 1,547. Top rebounder: Walt Dukes, 794; 8th in league.

One thing the Pistons do not lack is an enthusiastic spokesman. Listen to the rasping, rapid-fire referee-turned-coach Charlie Eckman: "We got a great chance. The guys are hustling and it communicates. I've got real veteran ballplayers—don't call them old pros—and they're trying like kids out of college. We're versatile. I can put a half dozen guys in the pivot—Walt Dukes, George Yardley, Bill Thieben, Harry Gallatin, Bob Houbregs or Sweets Clifton. I got good defense. I got rebounding, which I didn't have last year. And I got great feeders in Gene Shue, Chuck Noble and Dick McGuire. The big thing is rebounding and I got six guys can do that." Eckman's enthusiasm does him credit, and he will need it, because his collection of old pros—that's what they are—must all have good individual seasons to make the Pistons a threat. His men are big and strong, but only McGuire can keep them from being sluggish as well. Only the balding, agile Yardley can be expected to produce 20 points a game with fair frequency. In-and-outer Clifton, who has never been the player it seems he should be, workhorse Gallatin, and moody, erratic Dukes can hardly be considered awesome scoring threats. The Pistons will undoubtedly play a slow, deliberate game, winning when their remembered skills come easily and losing—too often—to superior speed. Eckman will still be enthusiastic on the last day of the season, but the Pistons should finish 3rd

CINCINNATI ROYALS

1957: won 31, lost 41; 4th in West. Top scorer: Clyde Lovellette, 1,434; 6th in league. Top rebounder: Maurice Stokes, 1,256.

When Si Green gets out of the Army this could become the best team in the NBA. The statement is provisional because the Royals have suffered from two serious lacks—a good, really big man and ball-handling skill in the backcourt. They have solved the first with the acquisition of Clyde Lovellette from Minneapolis and made a start on the second by buying George King from Syracuse. When the slick, speedy Green joins King, Richie Regan, Tom Marshall and Rookie Gerry Paulson in the backcourt, the balance of personnel should be near perfect. It would be up to Coach Bobby Wanzer to nurse this group up to its potential. In Lovellette they now have one of the top scorers and rebounders in the league. He and Stokes give the Royals tremendous strength under the boards. Up front with Stokes are deadeye Jack Twyman (second in field-goal percentage), the versatile Dick Ricketts, rugged Dave Piontek and newcomer Jim Paxson, who has been impressive in preseason work. King is 29, Lovellette is 28 and all the others are 26 or under—a young team that can run and will use the fast break as its chief offensive weapon. In moving to Cincinnati (this is their first year) the Royals have also acquired territorial draft rights in an area perennially loaded with good college teams, which should pay off well at the gate this year and in talent in the future. The Royals may go all the way next season, and this year should finish no worse than 2nd

PHOTOED MACAULEY
C, 6'8", 195 lbs.
PHOTOCLIFF HAGAN
F, 6'4", 215 lbs.
PHOTOBOB PETTIT
F, 6'9", 210 lbs.
PHOTOJACK McMAHON
G, 6'1", 190 lbs.
PHOTOSLATER MARTIN
G, 5'10", 170 lbs.
PHOTOALEX HANNUM
Coach
PHOTOBOB LEONARD
G, 6'3", 185 lbs.
PHOTOROD HUNDLEY
G, 6'4", 185 lbs.
PHOTOLARRY FOUST
C, 6'9", 245 lbs.
PHOTODICK GARMAKER
F, 6'3", 205 lbs.
PHOTOVERN MIKKELSEN
F, 6'7", 230 lbs.
PHOTOGEORGE MIKAN
Coach
PHOTOHARRY GALLATIN
C, 6'6", 212 lbs.
PHOTOGEORGE YARDLEY
F, 6'5", 190 lbs.
PHOTOCHUCK NOBLE
G, 6'4", 195 lbs.
PHOTONAT CLIFTON
F, 6'7", 220 lbs.
PHOTODICK McGUIRE
G, 6', 180 lbs.
PHOTOCHARLIE ECKMAN
Coach
PHOTOJIM PAXSON
F, 6'6", 205 lbs.
PHOTOCLYDE LOVELLETTE
C, 6'9", 235 lbs.
PHOTOGEORGE KING
G, 6', 175 lbs.
PHOTOMAURICE STOKES
F, 6'7", 230 lbs.
PHOTOJACK TWYMAN
G, 6'6", 210 lbs.
PHOTOBOBBY WANZER
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)