Five years ago, repeating as NBA champion was news. Now it's old news.
Will it be Chicago's turn this season? Michael Jordan and the Bulls fulfilled their quest for an NBA title last season and will be favored to reach the top again.
Other questions: Can new New York Coach Pat Riley take some slick off his hair and put it back in the Knicks? How long before Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish get senior-citizen discounts in Boston? Can Magic Johnson lead the Lakers to the NBA's version of a gold medal? Will Mr. Robinson move into a first-place neighborhood in San Antonio? Will Don Nelson's wacky Golden State Warriors fall about seven feet short again?
And what about the Clippers? No questions there. Some things you can count on.
OLD FACES Moses Malone
No one has played for more professional teams than the 36-year-old, 6-10 center. He's making his ninth stop, with the Milwaukee Bucks. His resume: Utah and St. Louis in the ABA, Portland (though he never played), Buffalo, Houston, Philadelphia, Washington and Atlanta.
At 38, the Celtic center is the league's oldest player. He needs 14 rebounds to become the 12th player to reach 12,000, 48 blocks to become the fifth to reach 2,000 and 481 points to become the 16th player to reach 20,000.
In his 21 years, the 60-year-old has coached more games than anyone in the NBA. His 849-845 record gives him more victories, and more losses, than any active coach. With 16 victories, no small task with Sacramento, he'll move into second place on the all-time list behind Red Auerbach (938).
An off-season without a lot of blockbuster deals. The major changes:
Name Old Team New Team Michael Adams Nuggets Bullets Antoine Carr Kings Spurs Moses Malone Hawks Bucks Xavier McDaniel Suns Knicks Blair Rasmussen Nuggets Hawks Doc Rivers Hawks Clippers Darrell Walker Bullets Pistons Spud Webb Hawks Kings Orlando Woolridge Nuggets Pistons
By the time the exhibition season started, only two of the top 10 draft choices had signed, No. 4 Dikembe Mutombo with the Nuggets and No. 9 Stacey Augmon with the Hawks. Mutumbo, in particular, has made the most of signing quickly, providing unexpected scoring and the rebounding that was sorely missing last season in Paul Westhead's sputtering fast break.
Only one team has had three 20-point scorers who averaged more points than the Warriors' Chris Mullin, Mitch Richmond and Tim Hardaway did last season. The top five 20-point trios in NBA history:
1. 76.7 points: Nuggets, 1982-83: Alex English (28.4), Kiki Vandeweghe (26.7), Dan Issel (21.6) 2. 72.5 points: Warriors, 1990-91: Chris Mullin (25.7), Mitch Richmond (23.9), Tim Hardaway (22.9) 3. 72.0 points: Hawks, 1960-61: Bob Pettit (27.9), Cliff Hagan (22.1), Clyde Lovellette (22.0) 4. 71.7 points: Hawks, 1959-60: Pettit (26.1), Hagan (24.8), Lovellette (20.8) 5. 71.2 points: Lakers, 1968-69: Jerry West (25.9), Elgin Baylor (24.8), Wilt Chamberlain (20.5)