TOUGHEST TO DOUBLE-TEAM?

February 10, 1997

Here's a tip for Houston's upcoming opponents: Take the double
team out of your defensive game plan. Nearly two thirds of the
ballots from this week's poll--which queried a coach or
executive from each team about the player they most feared as a
passer when he draws two defenders in the low post--came back
with a Rocket on them. Said Sacramento vice president Geoff
Petrie, "When you get down to it, Houston has three of the best
in Hakeem Olajuwon, Charles Barkley and Clyde Drexler."

Olajuwon was deemed most effective, with 11 votes, followed by
Barkley, with seven. Drexler got one. Portland center Arvydas
Sabonis, the only other multiple vote getter, was the pick on
five ballots. "Most guys, when it comes in, it doesn't come back
out, does it?" says Jazz vice president Scott Layden. "But
Sabonis passes like a guard. And then he's got those little
trick passes, behind-the-backs and flips." Chris Webber and Karl
Malone also received one vote each.

The Rockets, though, had the clear edge at dishing off under
pressure. According to the pollees, Barkley relies on his
experience to make sound snap decisions, while the 7-foot
Olajuwon's athleticism enables him to be the best at negating a
double team. And, says one coach, "he has the rings to prove
it."

--David Fleming

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)