Now that Elvin Hayes has his game in shape, Bullet coach Dick Motta may turn to swing man Kevin Grevey to straighten out another of the team's lingering problems: lack of aggressiveness at guard.
Grevey, who never knows from game to game how much he will play or at what position, keeps performing well enough to impress Motta, who says the third-year man from Kentucky "might be our best big guard right now."
Motta said yesterday, "We've talked about using Grevey more. He comes off the bench and plays well and makes things happen."
Although Grevey won't start tonight against Seattle at 8:05 at Capital Centre, he could begin getting some of the guard minutes now being shared almost exclusively by Larry Wright, Phil Chenier and Tom Henderson.
None of the guards has been able to shut down an opposing backcourt player who develops a hot hand. The latest example was Detroit's Eric Money, who scored a career-high 36 points Sunday night despite the defensive efforts of all three Bullet guards.
Grevey, a natural forward, has quickness problems at guard but is willing to dive after loose balls and challenge opponents, something Motta likes to see.
he came off the bench against Detroit to score 11 points in 21 minutes and help rally the Bullets from a 22-point deficit. But Washington couldn't sustain the comeback and lost, 104-102.
Grevey's 21 minutes against Detroit was his season high. The game before, he had made only a brief, last-minute appearance, which ended a streak in which he was playing 10 to 15 minutes a game.
"I'd like more time - but everyone would," he said. "The only thing I can do is try to go out and look good every time and hope it pays off."
Some of Motta's concern about his guards would be reduced if Chenier returned to form.
But Chenier, who says his ailing back no longer is a problem, said he still is having difficulty feeling comfortable on the court.
He scored 18 points against Detroit, his season high. He also moved stiffly at times and seemed uneasy handling one-on-one situations.
"I feel like it's taking longer than I thought.
"I'm not getting into the flow of the game and I don't feel yet that I know when to take shots. Why? I was out a month with the back and then I really hadn't played for two or three months. I haven't been able to feel comfortable in the offense since coming back."
Chenier said that substituting - a new experience for him - was proving difficult both mentally and physically.
"But I'm not going to get into a thing about whether I should be starting or not," he said. "That's a coaching decision. All of us want to start, that's no secret. We've all been stars for a long time."
Chenier has been playing an average of 26 minutes a game since making a brief appearance in the opener against Detroit. He got off to a horrible shooting start (17 to 50) but his jump shot has begun to improve the last three contests.
"It's still not the same Phil Chenier out there," said Motta. "All I can do is play him and hope he comes around."
Seattle, which got off to a horrendous 2-10 by not being bale to go over 100 points in a game, has won its last two contests. The SuperSonics scored 117 points in both victories, which came after free agent Gus Williams replaced Slick Watts in the starting lineup.
Williams and fellow guard Fred Brown each had 20 points in both triumphs to give Seattle the kind of backcourt scoring power it hadn't been receiving.
Brown says that a decision by new coach Bob Hopkins to loosen up the offense "and stop running plays every time down court" has resulted in the Sonics' revitalized output. "We like to run fast breaks," said Brown.
Hopkins also is starting Marvin Webster (from Denver) at forward. Mike Green, who had been a front-court starter, is now with San Antonio and the SuperSonics have added former Virginia star Wally Walker, obtained in a trade from Portland.