MUSKEGON, MICH., OCT. 18 -- The line on Tyrone Bogues' NBA debut read like this: 26 minutes, one of five from the field, two of two at the free throw line, two rebounds, six assists, three turnovers and four points. It was a modest preseason beginning, but Bogues clearly impressed a lot of people here Saturday night.

"You couldn't expect him to go out there and run wild, but he's a nice player. For a rookie in his first {NBA} game, he had a good night," said Detroit Coach Chuck Daly about the Washington Bullets' newest point guard following the Pistons' 108-103 victory.

Added Bullets General Manager Bob Ferry, "I thought he played very well. He had a very good all-round game."

In the NBA, it's almost heresy for a coach to knock another team's first-round pick -- and absolutely sacrilegious for an executive to do it to his own selection. But clearly, the positives in Bogues' performance outweighed the negatives, even if there was no truly special moment that stood out.

"It was what I expected," Bogues said of his showing. "I just want to be patient and let the game come to me. It was the first game; I just wanted to get comfortable with the situation and let things happen."

There are always great expectations for any first-round draft choice, but in Bogues' case, there also is great curiosity. Most people believe he can play, but wonder how much and with what impact. Others still aren't sure if the smallest player in NBA history will be any more than a novelty.

His first points were impressive enough. Stripping the ball from Detroit all-star guard Isiah Thomas, the 5-foot-3 Bogues sped to the other end of the floor only to confront hulking former Bullet Rick Mahorn. Bogues quickly pulled up just inside the free throw line and lofted a rainbow jumper over Mahorn's outstretched arm. The shot swished cleanly through.

In a sense, the play exemplified what impressed most observers: Bogues' ability to make the right decisions.

"You can tell that he knows the game well," said Thomas. "He's directing the guys and getting into plays well and he does a good job of setting them up."

Said Daly, "He delivers the ball very well -- you can see that right away. I thought it was a very impressive outing."

Part of Bogues' allure is his ability to pressure the basketball, to make it extremely difficult to get it up the court against him on the dribble. Yet Thomas, Joe Dumars and even free-agent tryout Fred Cofield seemed to have little trouble in that area. And, according to Coach Kevin Loughery, there are other facets that Bogues needs to work on as well.

"He's got to know the clock better, get a feel for that," said Loughery. "I thought he did an adequate job, he could play better."

Part of the problem, admitted the coach, was that the Bullets "weren't able to take advantage" of another of Bogues' skills -- pushing the ball up the floor on the fast break. That was because of one the team's failings from a year ago: rebounding.

Although the official stat sheet showed each team with 25 defensive rebounds and 14 offensive for a total of 39, it was obvious that some mistake had been made. Loughery said the Washington coaches had credited the Pistons with 13 offensive rebounds just in the first half. The trend continued into the second half, with Detroit pulling the game out largely on second and third shots at the basket.

That also stopped the Bullets from running the basketball successfully, something they've pledged to do more of this season. The intent was surely there. Said Detroit assistant coach Ron Rothstein after the game: "They ran the ball up the floor more tonight than they did in the whole {first-round playoff} series last spring."

Thomas said Bogues will help the Bullets more next spring -- in the 1988 playoffs -- but Bogues was more concerned with taking one step at a time.

"I'm not gonna put any pressure on myself," he said. "It's hard to compare where I am now because this was my first game. I'm just loooking forward to the next one. The days will get better."