Although the Washington Bullets improved themselves in the draft, Coach Gene Shue said yesterday, he is not deluding himself into thinking all the team's problems have been solved.
"By drafting Bryan Warrick and Dwight Anderson, we have a surplus at guard, but there's still so much instability there," Shue said. "We don't know what K.P. (Kevin Porter) will be able to do and we don't know what (John) Lucas will do."
Porter, who had torn an Achilles' tendon, did not play at all last season. Lucas has been troubled with a cocaine problem.
"We really like Steve Lingenfelter a lot," Shue added, referring to one of the Bullets' three second-round draft choices last year. Lingenfelter, 6 feet 9, from South Dakota State, played in Italy last season and greatly impressed the Bullets in a recent workout here. Shue, his assistant Bernie Bickerstaff and General Manager Bob Ferry are convinced Lingenfelter will help the team next season.
"Having Steve meant we didn't have to go after a big man early in the draft and so we were able to just take the best player there and that happened to be Warrick," Shue said. "We're very pleased with those two and with Dwight Anderson (the Bullets' second pick in the second round Tuesday). We expect all three to make the team next year.
"But we still have some weak areas," Shue cautioned. "We still need a player who can just go out and do it; just give him the ball and let him score. There are times when some games come down to that. Look at the finals this year: Philadelphia just gave the ball to Julius Erving or Andrew Toney and they delivered and L.A. had (Norm) Nixon and Magic (Earvin Johnson) and all sorts of guys who could get shots on their own.
"We have to hope somebody like that emerges from the group we have now because we have to have it if we're going to go up a level."
One player who fits that description, guard Ray Williams, was traded from New Jersey to Kansas City for Phil Ford Tuesday. Shue said the Bullets were interested in Williams, "but it didn't get to the stage where the right names were mentioned."
The Bullets are hoping Warrick, who is 6-5, will become such a player.
"He has the potential to get points on his own," Ferry said. "He did it all through college. He always took the big shot. His coach at St. Joseph's keeps a stat on this and he said that, in three years, 14 times Warrick hit either the game-winning shot or the tying basket in the final seconds. That's incredible. He asked me how many times I ever did that and I told him never.
"This kid is just a fantastic player. He was all-state in football and is completely ambidextrous. He works hard on defense, too, and he's always had good coaching. He's totally unselfish, so much so that we're going to have to teach him to be at least a little selfish.
"He can make his defender back up by coming straight at him. The only other person we have who can do that is Kevin Porter. Frank Johnson will go by you, but he won't back you up. I think Warrick will not only make the team, but really contribute right away."
In Anderson, who played at Kentucky and Southern California, the Bullets got a 6-3 guard many scouts felt was one of the most talented players in the draft.
The Bullets also feel that two more of Tuesday's draft choices, 6-10 Mike Gibson from South Carolina-Spartanburg and 6-8 Mike Largey of Upsala, have a chance at making the team. The other draftees are fighting long odds.
Shue said the Bullets will conduct a free agent camp next week at which he hopes to have most of the draftees participate.