SU's Anthony could follow James in draft



By STEPHEN A. SMITH
KNIGHT RIDDER NEWSPAPERS
With high school phenom LeBron James projected as the consensus No. 1 overall pick in June's NBA draft, the next guy in line may well be Syracuse freshman sensation Carmelo Anthony, who hasn't yet confirmed that he will leave the Orangemen after one season.
It's difficult to say whether George Karl is in trouble, since the Milwaukee Bucks coach still has two years at $7 million per year remaining on his deal.
But this much is clear. The Bucks were 13-19 entering this weekend. They had lost three of their last four games. They have had two three-game losing streaks this season, but have yet to win three straight.
And if the postseason were to begin today, the same team that came within one game of advancing to the NBA Finals two years ago would be in the lottery for a second straight season.
Meanwhile, $66 million man Tim Thomas had replaced Glen Robinson's 20-point production with just 13.3 points per game, looking soft and disinterested on most occasions. And the rest of the team appears to have tuned Karl out so much, they barely listen to him during time-outs.
If that doesn't spell trouble, what does?
Interestingly, the one person who doesn't have those problems these days is Portland's Maurice Cheeks. The Blazers have won nine of 10 and were fourth in the West (19-12) entering this weekend.
Forgive the prejudice, but the former Sixers point guard is doing a terrific job, for the second straight season.
Just thought that was worth noting, in case some unforeseen occurrence has us all looking for Larry Brown's successor sometime in the near future.

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