By Michael Lee
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 20, 2008
ATLANTA, Nov. 19 -- Dee Brown and JaVale McGee didn't know what to expect when Washington Wizards Coach Eddie Jordan walked into the locker room on Wednesday and summoned the two players into his office.
"Coach never really called me into the office before," Brown said. "I said, 'Here we go.' Like I was going to meet the principal."
Brown and McGee weren't in trouble. Jordan was just informing them that they were going to make their first career starts against the Atlanta Hawks. To help get his team out of its rut, Jordan tweaked the starting lineup once more, inserting rookie center McGee and second-year point guard Brown into the starting lineup while pushing Etan Thomas and Juan Dixon to the bench.
Dixon had started three of the past four games for the injured Antonio Daniels, but Jordan felt that Dixon best served the team as an aggressive, offensive-minded reserve. McGee entered the game as the Wizards' third-leading scorer, second-leading rebounder and leading shot blocker in just more than 21 minutes per game. Jordan spoke with Thomas and Dixon before he made the change.
"I think JaVale is going to give us some athleticism at the rim," Jordan said. "Etan, he's suited in his own way to come off the bench and give us some force with the way he plays. He has filled that role for years."
After leaving Jordan's office, McGee joked with Brown, "That was scary."
Upon hearing he would start, Brown, who spent last season in Turkey, later said: "A smile came across my face automatically. It's an unbelievable feeling. I appreciate being in the NBA."
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