- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 22, 2001

Seen and heard last night at TD Waterhouse Centre in Orlando, Florida:

BAD CALL When Brendan Haywood was traded to Orlando from Cleveland this summer he thought he had found a home in Florida. But Magic management somehow decided the team would be better served at center by going with Patrick Ewing and Steven Hunter, the 7-footer drafted No.15 out of DePaul.

Turns out they blew it.

At 38, Ewing is coming off the bench and basically biding his time in the league. And Hunter, who likes to play facing the basket rather than in the post, looks more like a power forward than a center.

Haywood, who is blossoming into a full-fledged center, conceded that he was somewhat miffed at the trade which cost the Wizards Laron Profit and a future first-round pick and that he remains motivated by it.

"Even though I'm doing pretty good, there are still a lot of people who don't believe in Brendan Haywood," he said. "When it's all said and done, you don't have to like me, I just want you to respect me, and I don't feel like I have that respect. I think it's better to feel that way, because it keeps me hungry."

Haywood said he heard entirely too many comments directed toward him from Orlando management that weren't exactly endearing and added, "There are a lot of people saying some negative things down here, saying that the jury is still out, or that they've only played a certain number of games and can he sustain it. A lot of people just aren't happy to see me doing well. Life is like that."

RIVERS ON JORDAN Orlando coach Glenn "Doc" Rivers had many battles with Michael Jordan during his 13-year career. Rivers believes that Jordan got more credit when he was with the Chicago Bulls for his athleticism and not enough for his cerebral approach to the game. Now, he says, Jordan's mental game is clearly ahead of his physical.

"He can't do some of the things that he used to be able to do, but in a lot of ways he does some of the other things even better because he even thinks the game even better than he did when he was playing the last time, which is hard to believe," Rivers said. "He's smart and very intense and very talented, but his know-how carries him more than his legs."

John N. Mitchell

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