Washington Bullets General Manager Bob Ferry said yesterday he is inclined to maintain a posture of patience with his team, but indicated there is a "50-50 chance" he would trade his first draft pick to acquire a veteran player.

"The silliest thing to do is to sit down the day after, or even the week after, a season's over and try to evaluate your club," he said yesterday, less than 24 hours after his team was eliminated from the NBA playoffs, 106-98, by the Philadelphia 76ers.

"There's just too much emotionalism. I've seen teams throw away what was accomplished over the course of a year and break up good teams just because of what may have happened in a single matchup during the playoffs."

The Bullets will pick either 11th or 12th in the draft on June 18, a choice that might yield a good player but definitely not all-America center Patrick Ewing of Georgetown.

"We haven't really discussed the draft," Ferry said. "All our thinking has been geared to surviving the regular season and getting into the playoffs. I do know that right now, all the players that I really like probably won't be there when we pick.

"There are eight or nine consensus players who people feel could come in and help a team, but none of them will be major factors on winning squads. With the exception of Ewing, there isn't a player that you're going to build a team around."

So, Ferry says, it's conceivable he could resort to other measures to improve the team.

"It's not like last year when we were almost desperate to do anything, but we'll do whatever it takes to improve," he said. "Up until close to the draft you won't know, but there's a 50-50 chance that we would trade the first-round pick if we could pick up an experienced player that we wanted. We're not afraid to make a big move."

That could come as bad news to any number of the Bullets, whose status has to be considered questionable in the team's plans for next season. By the end of the best-of-five series against the 76ers, such season-long mainstays as Greg Ballard, Rick Mahorn and Tom McMillen were seldom used.

"Potential is a big word in our game, but that's the sad thing about our season," Ferry said. "I don't think it's wrong to say that if he had been there, we would have won close to half the games (Jeff) Ruland missed, and that gives us a pretty good season.

"It's like playing cards. We started with a pretty good hand, and you don't get too many of them. When you do, you want to take advantage of them."

Still, the 1984-85 season is history. Ferry and Coach Gene Shue started preparing for 1986 by traveling to Indianapolis to watch a college all-star game and to scout potential draft choices.

Given their choice, both would rather be in Philadelphia, preparing for a fifth and deciding game against the 76ers today. "It was a pretty damn close series, if that's any consolation," Shue said. "But being close doesn't let you advance."

In their biggest game of the season, the Bullets put forth a decidedly pedestrian effort. "It was like a game we played so many times this year," Shue continued. "We didn't shoot badly from the field, but we were beaten on the boards."

That wasn't supposed to be the case this season, what with Cliff Robinson joining Ruland and Mahorn underneath. More often than not, the team's best-laid plans were superseded by reality. Ruland was the NBA's third-leading rebounder during the 1983-84 season and Robinson ranked seventh. This season, the Bullets were outrebounded by an average of five a game.

For Washington, it didn't help that Ruland was absent for 45 games and Robinson 22. In addition, Frank Johnson, the team's third guard, only played in 46 games.

That the Bullets won 40 games could be looked upon as a feat of sorts. But, as Shue said Friday night, "The Bullets haven't done a damned thing yet. We've just been around .500."

Philadelphia all-star Julius Ferry: '50-50 Chance' Bullets Will Trade Top Pick By Anthony Cotton Washington Post Staff Writer

Washington Bullets General Manager Bob Ferry said yesterday he is inclined to maintain a posture of patience with his team, but indicated there is a "50-50 chance" he would trade his first draft pick to acquire a veteran player.

"The silliest thing to do is to sit down the day after, or even the week after, a season's over and try to evaluate your club," he said yesterday, less than 24 hours after his team was eliminated from the NBA playoffs, 106-98, by the Philadelphia 76ers.

"There's just too much emotionalism. I've seen teams throw away what was accomplished over the course of a year and break up good teams just because of what may have happened in a single matchup during the playoffs."

The Bullets will pick either 11th or 12th in the draft on June 18, a choice that might yield a good player but definitely not all-America center Patrick Ewing of Georgetown.

"We haven't really discussed the draft," Ferry said. "All our thinking has been geared to surviving the regular season and getting into the playoffs. I do know that right now, all the players that I really like probably won't be there when we pick.

"There are eight or nine consensus players who people feel could come in and help a team, but none of them will be major factors on winning squads. With the exception of Ewing, there isn't a player that you're going to build a team around."

So, Ferry says, it's conceivable he could resort to other measures to improve the team.

"It's not like last year when we were almost desperate to do anything, but we'll do whatever it takes to improve," he said. "Up until close to the draft you won't know, but there's a 50-50 chance that we would trade the first-round pick if we could pick up an experienced player that we wanted. We're not afraid to make a big move."

That could come as bad news to any number of the Bullets, whose status has to be considered questionable in the team's plans for next season. By the end of the best-of-five series against the 76ers, such season-long mainstays as Greg Ballard, Rick Mahorn and Tom McMillen were seldom used.

"Potential is a big word in our game, but that's the sad thing about our season," Ferry said. "I don't think it's wrong to say that if he had been there, we would have won close to half the games (Jeff) Ruland missed, and that gives us a pretty good season.

"It's like playing cards. We started with a pretty good hand, and you don't get too many of them. When you do, you want to take advantage of them."

Still, the 1984-85 season is history. Ferry and Coach Gene Shue started preparing for 1986 by traveling to Indianapolis to watch a college all-star game and to scout potential draft choices.

Given their choice, both would rather be in Philadelphia, preparing for a fifth and deciding game against the 76ers today. "It was a pretty damn close series, if that's any consolation," Shue said. "But being close doesn't let you advance."

In their biggest game of the season, the Bullets put forth a decidedly pedestrian effort. "It was like a game we played so many times this year," Shue continued. "We didn't shoot badly from the field, but we were beaten on the boards."

That wasn't supposed to be the case this season, what with Cliff Robinson joining Ruland and Mahorn underneath. More often than not, the team's best-laid plans were superseded by reality. Ruland was the NBA's third-leading rebounder during the 1983-84 season and Robinson ranked seventh. This season, the Bullets were outrebounded by an average of five a game.

For Washington, it didn't help that Ruland was absent for 45 games and Robinson 22. In addition, Frank Johnson, the team's third guard, only played in 46 games.

That the Bullets won 40 games could be looked upon as a feat of sorts. But, as Shue said Friday night, "The Bullets haven't done a damned thing yet. We've just been around .500."

Philadelphia all-star Julius Erving, a hero for his team with 14 fourth-quarter points Friday night, also counseled patience.

"The biggest thing they can do is avoid getting wiped out in the middle of the season," he said. "Without that, they win 50-55 games. If you're at that point, it gets hard to improve. You're not talking about your starters or stars. You're more concerned with the down-the-line players."