- The Washington Times - Monday, October 6, 2003

CHARLESTON, S.C. — The Washington Wizards have spent the last week or so getting to know their coach and his staff better. They’ve continued to bond as a team, something that began earlier in the summer when players worked out together at MCI Center.

Now what?

“We’re just ready to hit somebody else,” forward Kwame Brown said. “You have 15 practices hitting your own teammates, it’s time to hit somebody else and have some fun doing it.”

That chance comes tonight against the New York Knicks at MCI Center when the Wizards make their lone home appearance of the preseason. It is the first of eight preseason games before they open the season Oct.29 at Chicago.

Coach Eddie Jordan, Byron Scott’s top assistant in New Jersey the last four seasons, ran camp smoothly, moving players and orchestrating them in and out of drills and mini-scrimmages with precision.

“I’m used to this,” Jordan said yesterday at the close of the team’s final training camp session. “It was my role last year to do a lot. Byron obviously had the last say but he allowed me to do a lot. I never really was out of contact with talking to the team and running things in practice. I was always sharp with it.”

In the meantime, the Wizards will try to master the complex offensive system Jordan is implementing. The one overriding theme of training camp was the different options a player gets in the offense. However, the Wizards discovered that getting the offense from Jordan’s mind to the chalkboard and then to the court will take some adjusting.

“Once the light turns on things will start to click,” forward Jerry Stackhouse said. “We understand the offense. But practice is a little tough right now because he has to call everything out. When he won’t have to call it out and we can just read off of each other, that’s when we’ll click.”

Jordan understands this. The offense he runs is somewhat of a hybrid of the system former Princeton coach Pete Carril developed. It is similar to the approach the Sacramento Kings, where Jordan once worked as an assistant alongside Carril, and Nets use. It takes awhile for a player to fully understand the offense and read his teammates’ moves without the ball.

But Jordan isn’t worried about that. He knows that as long as the players keep working it eventually will become second nature. Right now there are other concerns. He doesn’t have a rotation, and he is a long way from figuring out how minutes will be distributed. However, he does know what he wants to see happening with his team as soon as possible.

“I just want us to be organized offensively, but I know that’s not going to happen,” Jordan said. “I’d like to see us taking steps to being organized, having quality possessions and maximizing our possessions on the offensive end.

“I want us to sustain a defensive presence and intensity and that’s what I look for generally.”

And these are things that can’t be figured out in training camp, which is why Jordan welcomes preseason games.

“I’m trying to find out what I’m working with; I’m not totally sure,” Jordan said. “You have ideas what guys can do, you find out about guys’ personalities under pressure when they are being challenged physically and mentally. No surprises there. But we’re still trying to find out.”

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