Adrian Dantley may be playing for his fourth team in four seasons, but all of the moving around hasn't seemed to bother his play.
Now a teammate of Pistol Pete Maravich in Utah, the 6-4 Dantley is off to his best start ever. He is averaging 26.6 points a game and shooting 58 percent from the field. He is also averaging 8.1 rebounds a game. All are career bests if he keeps it up all season.
Dantley was just beginning to like it in Los Angeles when the Lakers figured that they couldn't win with two small forwards -- Dantley and Jamaal Wilkes. So Dantley was traded to the Jazz for Spencer Haywood. Dantley also has played for Buffalo and Indiana.
The Jazz probably have less talent than any other team in the league. So Coach Tom Nissalke has given Dantley a free hand to do as he pleases. He hasn't scored fewer than 20 points in any game this season.
As a result. Dantley does most of his work inside. Many teams have taken to putting big forwards on him; when that happens, Dantley moves outside.
The former De Matha High School and Notre Dame star said that he can't figure out whey he has been traded so often and added, "I can't worry about it. All I can do is play and try to show everyone who traded me that they were wrong."
Maravich has been hampered by nagging injuries all season and is averaging only 19.6 points a game. The Maravich of old surfaces in a game against Chicago last week, however, when he exploded for 15 points in a 2:59 span. He hit two straight three-point field goals in that stretch and made a 12-foot shot over his head without looking at the basket.
In San Diego they are calling injured center Bill Walton Excedrin Headache No. 32. He has yet to play a game for the Clippers and with the newly discovered stress fracture in his left foot, the "absolute earliest" he can play will be in late December.
Walton's injuries are killing the Clippers at the gate, but not necessarily in the pocketbook. Walton's contract calls for him to be paid $1 million a year for five years, but if he doesn't play in 65 games in any year, he is cut to $700,000, and if the team doesn't attract 310,000 customers a year, he is cut again.
Picking up the Walton slack is high-scoring guard Lloyd Free. Free is the league's leading scorer with a 30.4 average and he also leads his team in assists with a 4.9 average.
"Everybody loves Lloyd," said Coach Gene Shue. "Why shouldn't they? He's exciting and he's good."
Even Free isn't indestructible, though. He collided with Chicago's David Greenwood Friday night and suffered a bruised right shoulder, a bruised wrist and a bruised knee. He isn't expected to be out long.
Maurice Lucas has decided that he will play for the Portland Trail Blazers after all and has averaged 13.7 points in the nine games he has played.
Lucas demanded to have his contract renegotiated and then demanded to be traded before the season started, but when neither came about, he reluctantly decided to play.
Portland Coach Jack Ramsay is one of those coaches who doesn't adhere to the big forward-small forward lineup, as a rule. Last season he had success with the 6-9 Lucas and 6-11 Mychal Thompson as his forwards and this season, on occassion, has used Lucas and Kermit Washington.