He says it won't affect how he plays but Bullet guard Larry Wright isn't the least bit happy about losing his starting position to Kevin Grevey.
"I wasn't beaten out of the job," Wright said today after the Bullets arrived for Monday night's game against the Buffalo Braves. "I know it and they know it.
"But I'm not going to pout. I'm not going to cry about it or make any demands. I'm going to let things work themselves out. They always do."
Wright made it clear he isn't sure exactly what the Bullets want from him on the court, especially after starting off the season the way he did.
"When a lot of guys were slumping, I was playing well," he said. "I thought I was doing the job out there.
"Am I being blamed for our slow start? No, I don't think so. But maybe my position (shouting guard) is the one spot they feel they have room to play with."
Wright looked at a statistical sheet from the Bullets' 131-125 overtime victory over Kansas City on Saturday night. It showed he played 13 minutes, took three shots and didn't score.
"It's a big dropoff from 41 (against New Orleans) to 13 minutes," said Wright, who usually is the most bubbly and easy-going player on the team. "But this doesn't mean I'm going to quit. You aren't going to see any difference in how I go about playing. I love to play too much."
Through the first nine games, Wright and Bobby Dandridge were the most consistent players on squad. Wright had a splendid 43-point game against Indiana, one of three times he has led the club in scoring, and he was ranked among NBA leaders in steals and field goal percentage.
Wright's average fell from 19 to 16 points because he scored only 11 points and hit only five of 19 shots in the two contests preceeding Grevey's first start Friday night against the New York Knicks.
"Sure I was feeling some pressure out there," Wright said. "You get the impression you are being played on a trial-and-error basis. If you do well, you stay in, and if you make a mistake, you are pulled out.
"It's difficult to play under that situation, but I tried to handle it well."
Wright was as surprised as his teammates by coach Dick Motta's decision to start Grevey. "I found out," Wright said, "when he started to run with the first team in practice." The move was based on three factors: Grevey's play off the bench, a need to shore up the backcourt defense and a desire to shakeup the inconsistent Bullets.
None of the reasons make sense to Wright.
"I've got nothing against Kevin," he said, "but I was playing as good on defense as anyone. I'm not afraid of anyone, I challenge everybody.
"Everyone is going to get beat in this game, but I'm always around the ball; I come up with loose balls; I make steals.
"Kevin has been doing a good job coming in and they say he should be rewarded, but I thought I was doing a good job too, and I'd like to be rewarded."
Wright plans no confrontation with Motta because of the demotion.
"This boils down to a coaching decision. It always is when a guy clearly hasn't been beaten out. And I'm not going to tell him I should play."
Wright, who began the year as a starter only because Phil Chenier was hampered by a bad back, thought he also had a starting spot won last season. He was put in the starting lineup in January and the Bullets won eight games in a row. But he was sidelined with the flu and Tom Henderson, acquired in a trade from Atlanta, replaced him and started the rest of the season.
"I don't know what it takes to stay in the lineup," Wright said, "It has to hurt a guy's confidence. If you know you can play and you work hard all the time, this isn't a confidence-builder.
"That what nags at me. I'm not getting credit for working hard."
Wright eventually had expected to yield his starting spot to Chenier this season, and he admitted recently he was prepared to step aside without any question once Cheneir started playing to his previous all-star form. But Chenier is struggling and Grevey had played as little as one minute against Philadelphia only four games ago.
Mott's decision to go with Grevey has been successful. Grevey, who has 31 points in back-to-back performances in a reserve role, scored 14 in his first start against the Knicks and had 22 points in 29 minutes against Kansas City Saturday.
The Bullets won both contests and will carry a three-game victory streak into their game against Buffalo on Monday night.
The Braves, 8-8, are led by Billy Knight, obtained in a trade with Indiana for Adrian Dantley and guard Randy Smith. Swen Nater and John Shumate supply the muscle and rebounding with help from Wil Jones and Jim McDaniels.