-- The headline in the St. Paul Pioneer Press was a bit harsh but accurate.
"Wally can't shoot straight."
It was about Minnesota forward Wally Szczerbiak, who is shooting 39.8 percent. Szczerbiak has expressed confidence that he will snap out of his slump.
Wizards guard Chucky Atkins is taking a similar approach. Atkins, who shot 42.6 percent overall and 38.7 percent from three-point range for the Lakers last season, is shooting 19.3 percent (6 of 31) from the field and 12.5 percent (2 of 16) from the three-point line.
Atkins, who hit a big three-pointer in the late stages of Washington's home victory over Orlando, said his shot feels good but simply hasn't been dropping.
"It's a rhythm thing," said Atkins, who is averaging 15.1 minutes as Gilbert Arenas's backup. "Once I get a couple to go down, everything will be fine. It's something every player goes through over the course of a season."
Coach Eddie Jordan expressed no worries about Atkins's shooting.
"He's an asset, "Jordan said. "He's a leader. He applies good ball pressure defensively. He runs the offense very well for a guy who is just being introduced to the offense. We know the shot is going to come. Everything you read about Szczerbiak today, you can say the same for Chucky."
Thursday night presented the first opportunity for national audiences to get a look at the Wizards this season. The game was televised by TNT, the first of seven national appearances for Washington. While NBA players -- particularly those who played at major Division I college programs -- are used to the spotlight, getting on national TV can still be a rush.
"Now, if you're with the Lakers or a team like that where you are on TV every night, it's not that big of a deal but for a team like us, it can be a nice opportunity to show everyone what we're about," Atkins said. "People really haven't seen us yet."