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Around The Rim

Teams looking for immediate help from Europe in next June's draft
should focus on three players: 6'9" Sergei Monya and 6'9" Viktor
Khryapa from CSKA-Moscow and Anderson Varejao, the 6'10" forward
for Euroleague champion Barcelona. "Monya is the best--you can
plug him in right away as an NBA two guard," says an NBA
scout.... When the Board of Governors approved next season's
realignment, only one team voted against it: the Trail Blazers.
"We were in favor of maintaining the traditional rivalries," says
team president Steve Patterson, who wanted to stay with the
Lakers rather than join the Sonics in the no-man's-land Northwest
Division with the T-Wolves, the Nuggets and the Jazz.... If the
sorry Southeast Division was in place this year, its leader would
be the Wizards (7-12 at week's end), ahead of the Hawks (6-15),
the Heat (5-15) and the Magic (1-19).... Alonzo Mourning played
only 10 seasons, but he averaged 20.0 points and 9.7 rebounds,
and the Hall of Fame would be better for his presence, not only
in recognition of his ongoing charitable work in Miami, where his
community center has helped hundreds of children and families,
but also for the courage and resolve he showed while trying to
continue his career despite kidney disease.... After leading the
league in field goal defense last season, the Kings were 28th at
week's end, allowing opponents to shoot 45.4%.


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