The Eastern Conference may be known for its half-court,
center-oriented style of play, but the best big men in the
league suit up in the West, according to the SI Player Rating
Formula.* At week's end Shaquille O'Neal (left) led the NBA in
shooting percentage (57.9) and scoring (26.5 points per game),
which explains why he topped the list by a Shaq-sized margin.
Hakeem Olajuwon and David Robinson, third and fourth,
respectively, are also having stellar years, especially on
defense--they were among the top 10 in blocks. The lone center
from the East in SI's top five is Alonzo Mourning, who has been
the Heat's hottest hand: Through Sunday he was among the
league's top 15 in blocks (first), rebounds (sixth), field goal
percentage (sixth) and points (14th).

A few teams have to be disappointed by their big off-season
acquisitions. At week's end Orlando's Ike Austin was shooting
just 41.2% from the field and grabbing only 4.8 rebounds per
game. The Clippers' Michael Olowokandi, last year's No. 1 draft
pick, has scored as many as 17 points only twice this season.

--David Sabino

RANK AMONG
SI RATING ALL PLAYERS

1. Shaquille O'Neal, Lakers 61 1
2. Alonzo Mourning, Heat 55.0 3
3. Hakeem Olajuwon, Rockets 49.0 13
4. David Robinson, Spurs 44.8 15
5. Vlade Divac, Kings 43.2 19
6. Dikembe Mutombo, Hawks 41.2 23
7. Arvydas Sabonis, Blazers 36.9 35
8. Patrick Ewing, Knicks 35.3 43
9. Rik Smits, Pacers 33.8 48
10. Matt Geiger, 76ers 31.1 56
11. Shawn Bradley, Mavericks 30.7 60
12. E. Campbell, Lakers-Hornets 28.9 68
13. Kevin Willis, Raptors 28.4 71
14. Olden Polynice, Sonics 27.4 78
15. Jayson Williams, Nets 26.7 85
16. Bison Dele, Pistons 25.9 90
17. V. Potapenko, Cavs-Celtics 25.8 92
18. Erick Dampier, Warriors 24.0 109

*SI Player Rating Formula: [2 x (3-Pts. Made + Assists + Blocks)
+ 1.5 x (OR + Steals) + Total Points + DR + FTM - (TOs x 2) -
(Missed FTs + Missed FGs)] [divided] Games Team Has Played.

COLOR PHOTO: JOHN W. MCDONOUGH
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)