For about $20 and postage, any Bullet playoff opponent could obtain a complete breakdown of Coach Dick Motta's intricate offense, including diagrams and a two-hour tape recording that explains every phase.
"It's my voice on the tape," said Motta with a laugh. "We put it together a few years ago when I was in Chicago. Sold 21 of them right away. Every NBA team bought one."
In contrast to a pro football coach such as George Allen, who fines players for losing playbooks, Motta isn't secretive about his patterns. Since it takes new players as much as three years to learn them correctly, he figures to learn them correctly, he figures even detailed inside information won't help opponents that much.
"Besides," he said yesterday after runnings his team through a practice than concentrated on - that's right - perfecting the offense. "I feel the more they scout us, the more confused they'll get."
No playoff opponents this season has figured out Motta's system, although it hasn't changed all that much in the 23 years he's been coaching.
With it, he's been able to control the tempo against Phildelphia and San Antonio and work his players free for open shots as easily in the last game of a series as in the first.
"It's time tested," he said. "You look at the films of my teams at Weber State and they are running the same things. The offense does. But when it is worked right, it can score points."
Motta has worked 10 years in the NBA to reach the league finals and to showcase his offensive philosophy. Probably that's why he says this week is one of the "most enjoyable I've had."
"The best week of my life was in my last year of high school coaching in Idaho," he said. "We had a week before we played for the state championship. We were undefeated and we had pep rallies and meetings every day. It was terrific. We also won the title."
Motta has changed since those days and from his early years with the Chicago Bulls, when he pulled together a rag-tag club and turned it into title contender with the same physical, pick-and-screen based offense the Bullets now are using. But he never could get past the conference championship round.
"When I first came to Chicago, I didn't know if my offense would work in the pros," he said. "They promised me films and scouting reports on every team in the league but when we went to training camp, I still didn't have them. So I had to go with my offense."
The NBA was a free-lance league in those days and Motta's offense stuck out like a 5 foot-5 guard. The Bulls' thought so little of Motts's patterns that he once told him a new player "could pick it all up by sitting next to me on the bench for a half game."
"It's a gamble for me to put this offense in," Motta says now. "It's complicated and it takes times to pick up. I put in three parts last year with the Bullets (his first year with the team) and I added two more parts this year. I still have one more to go."
Motta doesn't call the segments of his offense "plays." Instead he has five "automatics which he labels "get up, out, rub and back-door." The bill-handling guard automatically triggers any one of them by where he throws the ball after crossing the half-court and by what direction he takes after he throws it. There also are a series of individual options, which Motta usually either calls out or signals from the bench.
"The whole offense is designed to create one-on-one situations," he said. "A pro should be able to score against a single defender.
"We are going to attack inside. The first rule is that we try to get half of our shots within what I call the 50 percent shooting area. That's the area inside the foul circle. We want to get the ball into the belly of the defense and make the defense adjust.
"We take what the defense gives us. I don't believe in fighting pressure. If they take something away, there are plenty of options let to turn to."
Forwards thrive under Motta's attack because of his emphasis on inside shots. He says he got the Washington job in part "because they knew that my offense, which utilizes a center who sets picks and can pass (Wes Unseld) and which gets the ball down low (to Elvin Hayes and, now, Bob Dandridge) fit the Bullets' personnel."
But he says his system "doesn't interfere with the basic native ability of players. Don't choke a talent and don't ever restrict a man to a point where he can't take the easy way to score.
"We can adapt to our players. I never had a guard who could shoot like Phil Chenier. So I put plays in that would take advantage of his base-line shots."
Motta orchestrates the offense like a basketball maesuro. An opponent wants to run fast breaks. Okay, he'll start using his guards along the base-line on offense, so opposing guards won't be in position to take outlet passes, a tactic which foiled Philadelphia's running game. Want to try guarding hayes with a center? Okay, Motta will have Hayes run his opponent off a few Unseld high-post screens, a tactic that discourages aggressiveness and frees Hayes for easy shots.
The Bullets' maze of picks, screens and constant movement can wear down foes. "I think if you can make a defender fight through two screens every time down the floor," said Motta, "it will tell on him by the end of the game.
"Just like Bob Weiss (former Bull and Bullet guard) used to say. If we are six down with six minutes to go, we've get them right where we want them. By then we are strong and they are beginning to wear down.
"Try running into an Unseld pick all game. He likes to have people bump into him. It will tire you out."
As much as he relishes the success of his attack, Motta is not above refining and adding to it. After Phoenix nearly upset Boston in the 1976 NBA finals, he and Suns' coach John MacLeod worked perhaps the first "play trade" in league history.
"They were running what I call our 'rub' automatic," said Motta. "I was using something like it but it didn't work as well. So I asked John to teach it to me. He said okay if I would show him my 'get' phase. It was a great trade for both of us."
Still, Motta finds other coaches borrowing from him more than he does from them. And he still maintains that he can tell when his offense is working best after watching a practice.
"If we can run our offense well against our own players," he said, "then I know it's going to work in a game. Who can defend the offense better than my own team?
"In fact, sometimes when we get in games, the offense works so easy that we just slide by the first options. In practice, the first options never works."
The Bullet's first workout since beating Philadelphia was termed "a good one" by Motta. If he had any doubts that the players were taking things seriously, they were erased by Unseld . . . "I've never seen him more serious," said Motta. "If this championship slips away from us, it will be because we were outplayed. We aren't going to give it away" . . .