Washington Bullets General Manager Bob Ferry will make the trip to Detroit tonight to watch his slumping team play the Pistons, but he said yesterday that his presence should not be interpreted as any sort of sign that Coach Gene Shue's job is in jeopardy.
Ferry said he was going to the game only because there will be no television coverage. "I like seeing every game, one way or the other," he said. "You always have to analyze your team, to try and figure out what you have to do to win."
When asked if Shue is in trouble, Ferry said he had discussed the team's five-game losing streak with owner Abe Pollin, and said, "I think he's being as patient as any owner can be."
Ferry also is deeply concerned over the team's losing streak after two season-opening victories. "I was concerned after the first loss and it's times five now," he said. "It (the string of losses) doesn't bother me as far as the overall season goes, but we do have to get on the right track. We want to know what style we're going to use and how we should function in order to win."
In his talks with Shue, Ferry said his suggestions have been of a general nature. "We talk about the game and problems and what can be done to improve the team," Ferry said.
Judging from both men's recent comments, the Bullets most likely will continue the same up-tempo style they used in last Friday's 117-110 loss to the Pistons at Capital Centre.
That point total was Washington's highest of the season, as was the team's 57 first-half points. The Bullets ran the most during those initial 24 minutes. "We got lots of easy baskets and showed a lot of creativity on offense," Ferry said. "I thought we looked alive."
That hasn't been the case for much of this season, and Ferry thinks the team's problems can be traced to an excellent showing during the exhibition season.
"It's all just hit us so quick after the good preseason. I and everyone else felt good going in (to the regular season)," he said. "We knew there was potential for things not to come easily, but we felt that we could come together very well. There was a lot of optimism. Now we're trying to recover and regroup."
Much of that optimism from the preseason was based on the team's defense, but Ferry says that defense isn't enough. "Generally speaking, when you're scoring as few points as we have before Friday, it's hard to analyze things," he said.
"You feel you're playing good defense and you say you're playing good defense, when in fact you're not scoring enough points to win. No matter how good our defense is, we have to score points. At the tempo we were playing before, the players weren't getting enough shots and opportunities to show their skills."
As in the last game against the Pistons, Darren Daye will open at small forward for the Bullets. In Friday's loss, the third-year veteran had 10 points and five assists. Ferry is not so sure Daye's play was the sole reason for Washington's improved offense.
"I just think there was more of an understanding on everybody's part of what we wanted to do," he said.
Forward Kenny Green, who has missed four games with a sprained left ankle, will not make the trip. Forward Tom McMillen has a slight hamstring pull, but should play.