BASKETBALL; The latest in specialization

Until recently, pro basketball hasn't felt the necessity to pigeonhole coaches into specialized slots. There were just head coaches and assistant coaches, none of this business with offensive and defensive coordinators, backfield coaches, linebacker coaches, etc. we find in football.

But now the National Basketball Association's Cleveland Cavaliers have taken the first step toward eroding this simplicity by hiring Bob Kloppenburg as the team's defensive coordinator. The Cavs thus become the first team to have a designated specialist.

There's no question the Cavaliers need help defensively (they ranked 20th among 23 teams in that category last season). To shore up this weakness, Kloppenburg will try to teach his system for playing team defense. When effectively executed, he says, it can hold an opponent 8 to 10 points below their season average for a single game." Kloppenburg, an assistant with the Seattle SuperSonics the past two season, spent 20 years testing his theories at Cal-Western University, now known as United States International University in San Diego.

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