The talk was about guards, which usually is the case when your next opponent is the guard-rich Phoenix Suns. But Bullet Coach Dick Motta wasn't limiting his discussion to Paul Westphal, Ron Lee and Dave Buse.
"You've got to admire what he has accomplished this year," Motta said, pointing to one of his own players, Kevin Grevey. "He came into training camp without a position. Now he's playing more everyday like a veteran guard."
There are only a handful of guards, Westphal being one, who are scoring better lately than Grevey, the former small forward who had never played guard in his career yet has wound up starting 36 games at the position this season.
Over the last [word illegible] games, he has averaged 21 points and shot 49 per cent from the floor despite taking mostly perimeter jump shots. His defense is improving, his confidence is increasing and, Motta feels, his future is becoming more secure every day.
"Sure, I think he can be a legitimate starting guard in this league," said Motta. "He has some things tolearn and he knows it. He's nowhere near as complete as he will be next year at this time.
"But look at what he has done this season. He has had to literally undergo on-the-job training. We haven't had time to tutor him all that much, yet he has really taken to the position. He isn't a forward any more; he's a guard."
Larry Wright, nursing a sore wrist, is questionable for the Bullet game with Phoenix at 8 o'clock tonight at Capital Centre. So Grevey will be under added pressure from the Suns, backcourt (Westphal 43. Lee 22) 12 days ago in Phoenix. Grevey had 22 in that game, despite sitting out much of the fourth period.
Grevey's instincts, once solely those who overwhelmed Washington in the of a baseline-shooting forward, are now more in line with the intricacies of the backcourt. He is moving more naturally with his back to the basket and he is starting to pick up the little tricks that a veteran like Westphal will use to confuse him.
"It's an education trying to guard a Westphal or someone like that," said Grevey. "They've been at it so much longer than I have.
"I make mistakes, like sometimes I go in for rebounds when I should stay back to protect against fast breaks. I have to learn to anticipate better on some plays and I have to learn the habits of a lot of good scorers."
Yet Grevey is beginning to present just as many problems to opponents. At 6-foot-5 and 210 pounds, he has the height and strength to work against smaller defenders. He also is very active away from the ball -- much like the man he has replaced, Phil Chenier --for a lot of shots.
He no longer is the inconsistent small forward of last season who would start a game, play well for the first period and then hardly do anything the rest of the game. He is almost back to the shooting form of his senior year at Kentucky, where he popped in 15-foot jumpers at 54 percent accuracy.
Grevey still forces some attempts and he occasionally will fire up shots that are out of even his long range.And he could be averaging four or five points more over the last 10 games if he had been able of make some of the close-in layups and follow shots he has tried.
"But things like that work themselves out," said Motta. "We know what he has to work on, things like his ballhandling. We want Kevin and Greg Ballard to play a lot of one-on-one with each other just for that reason. We've also told him to watch Charlie Johnson play defense. Charlie does all the smart things and Kevin can learn by seeing him do it."
Although Grevey has started at guard so much only because of Chenier's back injury, Motta was convinced he was best-suited for the backcourt after watching him in training camp.
"It was no genius decision on my part to move him there," said Motta. "Once we got Bobby Dandridge, Kevin had to try guard in order to find some more playing minutes. No one, not even he, realized what would come from that move.
So many Bullets are hobbling that Motta had an optional practice yesterday. He has only eight healthy players. The injuries continue to have a major impact on the bench. The club's top three reserves at the beginning of the year -- Grevey. Wright and Mitch Kucphak -- are now either starting or hurt . . .